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Color war is a competition played in summer camps, schools and some social organizations (such as sororities, fraternities, or small businesses). Participants are divided into teams, each of which is assigned a color. The teams compete against each other in challenges and events to earn points. Typical color war challenges include tug-of-war, dodgeball, archery, as well as more contemporary sports such as soccer and basketball. These challenges and events vary based upon the venue for the game. The games' durations can range from a day to several months. The winning team is the one with the most points at the end of the game. Typically, color wars consist of several events that are worth insignificant amounts of points, and then one large final event that is worth enough points to win or lose the entire color war. It is usually at the end of the summer.
Color wars can also be useful in the school setting for pep rallies or to get students excited about learning. Points can be allotted for completion of academic activities or events. Points can be tallied and scored.
Color wars usually begin with a surprise 'color war breakout' to begin, at which point generals and captains are announced. Booklets or flyers are given out dictating teams. Students/campers have meetings and team time periods throughout color war.
Cheers are made up by members of the teams and teams come up with songs to sing and flyers to put up around the location of color war.
Multiple events occur, each worth a certain number of points. Events include sports competitions, cheer-offs, as well as knowledge competitions. Sometimes silent lunch is an activity, where every team has to be silent. In some cases, each team gets a day where they have to decorate a lunch room and they do their best to encompass their team's theme throughout the location. At the end of color war, there are presentations such as the teams' banners, songs, skits, multi-media presentations, and team movies. These presentations are worth the most points, and can tip color war in favor of any team. The last day of color war also usually includes some sort of relay races or another large event which the whole team must participate in, also worth a very high number of points.
- Bernstein, Emily (1995-08-30). "With Glowing Memories To Light the Way Home; Team Week Caps the Season at Raquette Lake". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Schumer, Fran (2004-05-23). "Jersey: Summer Camp; Color Wars, Campfires And Discomfort". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-12.