Surviving for a cause

Contestants sign up nationwide to compete in the Kokopelli adventure game. (Courtesy photo)

Contestants sign up nationwide to compete in the Kokopelli adventure game. (Courtesy photo)

Kokopelli event raises funds for Little Mary’s Hospitality House

WELLSTON — There may be one sole survivor, but by the end of Kokopelli — a cooperative and competitive team building adventure game — everyone involved is a winner.

In its latest installment, perhaps the biggest victor of all was Little Mary’s Hospitality House of Wellston, the beneficiary of the donations raised through the event.

After a hiatus, the Kokopelli adventure game returned recently, this time to Manistee County. (Courtesy photo)

After a hiatus, the Kokopelli adventure game returned recently, this time to Manistee County. (Courtesy photo)

Kokopelli is a unique event — based on the popular reality television series “Survivor” — which brings players from across the nation to survive in the outdoors and compete in cooperative and competitive team building challenges. Players divide into teams to win rewards, all while avoiding elimination until one “Adventurer” is crowned the winner.

Co-creator Kirk Carlson said Kokopelli evolved rapidly since its inception in 2007.

“It was inspired by reality television,” he explained. “You’d see these cool challenges or games that adults got to play, but the likelihood of getting on a show like that is pretty low.

“So, we thought, ‘what if we brought this to our communities?’”

Originating in the Midwest, Kokopelli soon began drawing interest nationwide.

“We did outreach through social media, and people started to apply across the country,” he said. “Then we started thinking, ‘what can we do to turn this into something even more?’

“Over the past couple years, we’ve turned it into charity work and have used it to raise money for different causes.”

Kokopelli, a team-building adventure game, took place in Irons recently. (Courtesy photo)

Kokopelli, a team-building adventure game, took place in Irons recently. (Courtesy photo)

Carlson’s company, The Adventure Gaming Group LLC, organizes Kokopelli and similar events.

This year — after a hiatus — Kokopelli returned for its seventh season and stationed contestants in the natural beauty of Manistee County.

The event was held from Aug. 3-7 in Irons, culminating with a finale at Little Mary’s Hospitality House, which was open to the public and featured children’s games, a cookout and a live reveal of the winner.

For three and a half decades, Little Mary’s has provided children battling life-threatening or terminal illness and their families a free vacation in the beauty of Northern Michigan.

Little Mary’s was established in memory of Thomas and Maureen Fischer’s 3-year-old daughter Mary Catherine who died of a terminal brain tumor in 1982. The Fischers have always cherished the final family vacation they took with Mary and have devoted their lives to providing memorable vacations for other families dealing with similar situations.

The result has been over three decades of the year-round, family oriented, free vacation home located on the shore of Crystal Lake, with all the necessary items for day-to-day living provided.

For more information, visit The Adventure Gaming Group LLC on Facebook.

 

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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