After a Rec Services staff member announces the rules, four canoes launch themselves towards each other, attempting to balance offense and defense. Armed with neon pool noodles, buckets and foam kickboards, teams of students throw, pour or launch water to sink other canoes while trying to keep their own afloat. The Late Night Battleship event was quickly filled with buckets of deliberate sabotage and screams of despair as canoes sunk into the shallow depths of the Elmen pool.
On Saturday, April 26, two Elmen staff teams coordinated the late night battleship event that took place in both the pool and the gym in the Elmen Center. The event attracted more than 150 students and was facilitated by 29 staff members. The winners were juniors Shayla White, Ana Krause, Erika Kim and Madeline Borgmeier.
Sophomore Cooper Benning participated in one of the battleship rounds. He said he was excited to attend, especially since last year’s battleship event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had no idea how they were going to make the battle happen logistically, but they did, and I enjoyed the heck out of it,” Benning said. “The team aspect of it is what I enjoyed the most. You geared up with your maties and set sail for rough waters!”
Even though battleship was the main event, students could participate in informal water basketball, a belly flop competition won by Gilbert Dewitte, a build-your-own boat contest won by junior Tyl Woelber, junior Mack Braun, junior Josh Schumacher and sophomore Kaye Paschka, and a gladiator stand-off to be crowned King of the Hill won by senior Joshua Morin-Baxter and freshman Kiana Sauer.
For students who were not prepared to be soaked, there were other activities in the gym: karaoke, volleyball, bean bags (cornhole), ping pong and ring toss football. Each game was played for tickets which could be entered into a raffle for a beach-themed basket. In addition, the staff provided a meal of sloppy joes, chips and freezies because a light night event would not be complete without full bellies.
Team leaders and seniors Nate Cassady and Camryn Keyeski combined their teams to coordinate the event six weeks earlier. Their teams had five meetings in total with Elmen adult staff to plan and delegate tasks.
“It’s a lot of work, but Camryn and I worked well together,” Cassady said. “We were good at delegating and also communicating what we were doing which made it easier.”
Cassady said it was difficult to navigate COVID-19 safety policies. Students were required to wear masks when they were on the pool deck. However, they did not have to wear face masks when they were in the pool. Planning an event is a difficult task in itself. Adding a pandemic to the mix made activities harder to execute though it did not stop students from having a blast.
Assistant Director of Recreation Lydia Lindberg was the faculty member involved with advising the student leaders throughout the process of planning the event. Lindberg has had a hand in the event for five years.
“One highlight for me about these events is that they are all student organized and planned,” Lindberg said.
Lindberg was able to lend her experience to the student leaders and draw from what did and did not work in the past. One new feature that they spontaneously added this year was the King of the Hill contest. The floating lily pad that was used for the game came from Cassady’s family’s lake cabin. The activity ended up being a huge success, and they hope to incorporate it for future events.
Though the chaos eventually died down, remnants of fierce comradery linger among those present. The carnage was cleaned up but never forgotten. Those who were shipwrecked survived, never the same again.