The day before a new president is inaugurated, the White House begins to feel oddly deserted, since many aides have already packed up and left. But on Thursday, this meant one thing to those who remained: time for a scavenger hunt.

Plenty of memos are distributed in the White House each day, but it’s unlikely that any distributed during Barack Obama’s eight years in office started with the heading that this Jan. 19 missive does: “MEMORANDUM FOR THE FEW LEFT STANDING.”

The memorandum from the White House’s chief of staff Denis McDonough, deputy chief of staff for implementation Kristie Canegallo, senior adviser Brian Deese and deputy assistant to the president Natalie Quillian has a deliberately lighthearted tone. It urges staffers to “See the burn marks” (the only original part of the White House, in the basement on the north side) and “Find a representation of a non-American in the residence.” (France’s Marquis de Lafayette qualifies, as does John Quincy Adams’s wife Louisa, who was born in Britain.)

AD
AD

The suggestions range from the daring — “Take a peek at the pool on the South Lawn (don’t even attempt to do more than peek)” — to the athletic — “Shoot two shots on the basketball court (making the shot is optional).” And perhaps the most challenging task: “Find and name one type of wood in the new table in the garden.”

Since the White House could not be reached for comment Thursday evening, it is unclear how many of Obama’s aides actually completed the hunt. But it’s hard to argue with the memo’s recommendation at the bottom: “That you do this. YOLO. Senior Spring.”

The full text of the memo is below.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE FEW LEFT STANDING

FROM: Your colleagues (Denis, Kristie, Brian and Natalie)

AD

SUBJECT: Last Day Scavenger Hunt

This memorandum outlines the elements of an optional scavenger hunt on our last full day at the White House. Team off, if you like, or be a lone wolf. But get it done, because when else will you get to do this …

AD

Shoot two shots on the basketball court (making the shot is optional)

Putt twice on the putting green (sinking the putt is also optional)

Take a final lap on the South Lawn (speed is discretionary)

Take a peek at the pool on the South Lawn (don’t even attempt to do more than peek)

Sign your name on the old WH pool under the briefing room.

See the burn marks.

Find a representation of a non-American in the residence.

Find and name one type of wood in the new table in the garden.

Take a look at the one-lane bowling alley.

Find a war eagle.

RECOMMENDATION

That you do this. YOLO. Senior Spring.

___ Approve

___ Approve with edits

___ Disapprove

___ Discuss

AD
AD