Whoever said scavenger hunts are for children ordered by a mythical rabbit to find brightly colored eggs clearly never participated in The Amazing Race: EPIC Afikomen. That’s right, adults like to play games too, and they can get quite competitive.
On April 20, after months of planning and more logistical obstacles than empty boxes of Matzo after a carb-craving tenth day of Passover, Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County delivered what was considered one of the most exceptional events to ever hit Orange County—a scavenger hunt.
Distinct clues led participants from one location to the next, as teams utilized their smart phones to find each stop. The race’s organizers designed the clues to help the team learn about the participating locations and better understand what exists for Jewish adults within Orange County. At each stop, which included synagogues, private schools, and residential homes, teams did a fun activity before getting their next clue. Activities ranged from archery to hunts within hunts filled with Passover clues.
Barbara Cohen, a member of team Matzo Balls of Fury, said EPIC Afikomen was “a really great event!” and “a rare time when the hype meets the reality.” Other competitors went by the quirky aliases of Hebrew Hammers, The Four Questions, Matzaholics, and the team winning the award for most spirited, Jewish American Spice Girls, a group of five young women who went further than just a clever name; they dressed the part, cheetah print and all.
Lisa Grier, Chair of the NextGen Board and active community member, played a significant role in conceptualizing and implementing the event. “EPIC Afikomen demonstrated why Orange County is the fastest-growing Jewish community in the U.S. Through the scavenger hunt, we built community and highlighted all of the incredible things offered to Jewish singles, couples and families,” said Grier.
Following the scavenger hunt, participants had an “EPIC After-Party” located at Mandel House–the first Jewish residential home in OC for special needs adults–where indulging in a 100 percent homemade Kosher for Passover BBQ made for a beautiful eighth day of Passover.
Sure, only the best (the team that tallied the most “California rolling stops”) walked away with top prizes, including Angels tickets, Universal Studios tickets, and a beer tasting tour at The Bruery.
EPIC Afikomen turned out to be more than an opportunity for young adults to participate in a fun activity on an Easter Sunday, when most other recreational establishments were closed. EPIC provided a unique outlet for young adults to explore and galvanize their connection to Jewish Orange County in a way that left everyone winning.
Adam Chester is a contributing writer to JLife magazine and the NextGen Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at Jewish Federation and Family Services.