Annual event brings Eden Prairie students, seniors together

Though the high school football season doesn’t kick off until September, the Eden Prairie Eagles have already been practicing. Their first game, however, will be slightly unusual.

The Eagles will participate in the eighth annual touch football game and hot dog eating contest against the management and staff of The Colony at Eden Prairie. The Colony is a senior living community owned and operated by The Waters Senior Living, located at 431 Prairie Center Drive.

Players compete in last year's game. (Submitted photo)
Players compete in last year’s game. (Submitted photo)

Set for 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, the game will be an opportunity for the Eagles to steal the title, or for The Colony employees to defend last year’s victory. The game is expected to take about 30 minutes and will be immediately followed by the hot dog eating contest.

This year, The Colony team was coached by a former Vikings player, and they’ll be sporting purple to match the Eagles’ rival team, the Chaska Hawks.

“We have a trophy to defend, and people are taking it pretty seriously around here, ” said Jennifer Kuhn, director of community operations at The Colony at Eden Prairie.

Kuhn said the trophy, which features a stuffed hot dog with mustard and a first-place ribbon, sits proudly on a shelf in her office.

During the game, residents of The Colony at Eden Prairie will be watching from the sidelines, as well as from their apartment windows and the common areas overlooking the backyard. After the game, residents will help serve hot dogs to those not taking part in the hot dog eating contest.

Kuhn said it’s important to both Coach Grant and The Colony that the team takes time to visit with the residents.

“Grant has done a great job with the boys,” she said. “Everyone gets really excited for the game […] as soon as it gets warm out, residents start asking me which of our staffers will be playing.”

The Colony employees intend to win the hot dog eating contest again this year. (Submitted photo)
The Colony employees intend to win the hot dog eating contest again this year. (Submitted photo)

According to Kuhn, the event began after the team voiced their interest in volunteering at The Colony.

“They wanted to do an ice cream social,” Kuhn said. “But, with 100 boys, that’d be a little difficult. So, we decided to make them play football because that’s what they do best.”

Kuhn said that though the games themselves are pretty harmless, they have had some incidents occur throughout the years.

“One year, our chaplain decided to jump onto a balcony to receive the ball, and he disturbed a bee nest,” she said. “He ended up having to go to urgent care, but luckily he was OK.”

The Colony puts on several small events for residents, though Kuhn said the game is one of the community’s favorites.

“It’s one of those events that everyone talks about because it’s different – it’s not like a choir coming to sing,” she said.

Building and program additions
Recently, The Waters announced a partnership with Senior Care Communities and Ebenezer to purchase The Colony of Eden Prairie and that it is undertaking a series of improvements to the community. The upgrade will add 25 memory care apartments, well-being programs and restaurants. Additionally, the current well-being studio will be expanded to support The Waters’ programs such as “Rise-n-Thrive” and “Better Balance” and to expand the community restaurant options to include a full-service café.

“We saw a need in the community for more apartments,” Kuhn said. “There was a waiting list to get into our memory care. So, we decided to remodel the rehab space.”
Kuhn said that there is a high level of excitement among the residents, particularly because some of the apartments are larger and would allow for couples to live together.

Contact Michelle Doeden at [email protected]