After the Champions Run staff sent out a secret social-media alert that something special was happening at “The Park,” about 25 teenagers from the membership showed up to spend the rest of the day slip-slidin’ away.
When school is out for the summer or the holidays, parents often hear a ubiquitous two-word refrain from their teenagers and adolescents: “I’m bored.”
At Champions Run in Omaha, Neb., Creative Director Ben Lorenzen and the club’s staff do their best to make sure that lament is never heard, by leading a crusade of creative ways to engage teen and adolescent members in fun-filled adventures and junior programs at the property.
“We have a young, active membership at Champions Run,” Lorenzen says. “We’re on the cutting edge. We do a lot of different things. We have nontraditional sports and recreational activities, and people join Champions Run specifically for our junior programs.”
Last summer, for example, the staff put a new spin on one of the younger members’ favorite activities—the slip ’n’ slide—and also set a world record by building the world’s tallest trophy.
And as they do for all of the teen- and youth-focused activities at Champions Run, the staff quickly gained engagement for these new attractions by issuing calls to action through social media. After sending out a secret social-media blast to attract about 25 members ages 13 to 18 one day last August, a “golf cart slip ’n’ slide” was set up for three or four hours from late afternoon until dark.
“We said, ‘We’re doing something fun at ‘The Park’ [a seldom-used, flat, open area of the property about a half-mile from the clubhouse], so come on down,’” says Lorenzen.
To create the slip ’n’ slide, the staff gathered 200 feet of tarp, eight bottles of dishwashing liquid, and shark and swan inflatables. A rope was then attached to a golf cart to pull the kids around in circles, with plywood put down to protect the turf. Staff members drove the cart, and one person at a time was pulled around on the tarp for 15 to 30 seconds.
Each child had to have parental permission, and the property issues liability waivers for staff members and the kids.
“We love slip ’n’ slides,” says Lorenzen. “We do a lot of them as a fun, inexpensive activity, and we try to find new ways to do them. There are so many things you can do; it’s so simple, and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. We wanted to add a new element to it, so we added a golf cart.”
In total, Champions Run has about a dozen varieties on the concept in its repertoire, from relays to bowling. Slip ’n’ slide kickball, featuring baby pools for “bases,” is another favorite.
Of course, there’s always room for improvement. So, for the next golf cart slip ’n’ slide, Lorenzen plans to set up additional slip ’n’ slides on a hill, so the kids will have something to do while they wait for their turn with the cart.
The world’s tallest trophy was also built at Champions Run last summer. The undertaking was part of the club’s Field Day in July when “Kraken Nation,” aka about 300 Junior Sports participants on four color-coded teams, vied for the coveted Kraken Cup in a series of events such as tug of war, synchronized swimming, and of course, slip ’n’ slide games. (The Kraken, a mythological Scandinavian squid-like sea monster, is the mascot of the club’s Junior Sports programs.)
According to Guinness World Records, the largest trophy on the planet is 41 feet, 10 inches and was presented to the winners of a cricket game in India in 2015. The cricket prize was no match for the Kraken Cup, however, as the Champions Run trophy measured 44 feet, 6 inches. Champions Run rented a scissor lift to build the trophy, which was topped with a silver “cup,” out of PVC pipe and wood. The trophy was painted with a metallic finish and its pillars were spray-painted with the teams’ colors.
As for the new world record, Lorenzen says, “It’s in the approval process now. Regardless, if it does or doesn’t get approved, we take pride in the fact that we know we did it.”
Lorenzen is happy to spread the word about the nonstop fun at Champions Run. YouTube is one of his favorite places to posts videos of the slip ’n’ slides, the Kraken Cup competition, and other activities.
“It’s a great way to promote the things we do,” says Lorenzen. “It’s another way to engage the members and develop the Champions Run brand.”