>Our Big Center Celebration
Wow. I am overwhelmed, blown away, humbled, and exhausted. I don’t even know where to start, so be warned: this might ramble a little bit. Today was our Center’s 30 Year Anniversary Celebration. We were all worried about the weather, but thankfully, the rain held off…it began on our way home. Wow. The “party” lasted from 12pm to 3pm, and each staff member and volunteer had assigned posts for 2 of the 3 hours. The other hour was free-eat, mingle, and as you might notice, play. Staff are all wearing black shirts and volunteers are in blue. Many people had talked about being away for vacation and we wondered if we would have a good turnout. The pictures here might make you think the turnout was small. Don’t be fooled. I only got to take pictures when there was a lull. Also, most of them were taken at the very beginning, during set up, and at the end.
We are so blessed. Director and I were talking about the teenagers (and very young adults-like 20y.o.). Many of the staff have teenagers that could have made other plans. None of them wanted to. They wanted to be at the party, even if they were needed for 2 of the 3 hours. They wanted to come hang out with a bunch of parents and kids. And, they all did a fantastic job helping with set up, break down, and manning their posts. It’s kind of an “in your face” to all the naysayers who believe that all of today’s youth are lazy, selfish, and otherwise not praiseworthy. The volunteers, mostly parents, were unbelievable. Many of them had to go to work afterward, one having to work till midnight. They cooked. They manned posts. They cleaned. And, they played. Lots of them came early and stayed the whole time, often asking what they could do for us. Humbling.
Because we were unsure about the weather, Director, Assistant, and Belle (she was in charge of the planning) decided to spread the whole thing out mainly inside. If it rained, only the inflatables and dunking booth were outside. This actually worked out better than anyone thought because no place became overcrowded at any time. It was always full, just not congested. Several stations had lines, like the clown making balloon animals and flowers, face painting, and the 2 food lines. But it was all good-everyone was polite and having fun. The games stations were in our lunchroom and from time to time it got pretty full, then it would take a break and all of us took that as an opportunity to snap some pics. One of my favs is the end of the day pic of the Nose Picking game. It’s actually pudding in there. The other side of the nose had prizes…
The inflatables. What can I say? All the teachers and a great many of the parents (moms) took turns going down the giant slide. Oh. My. Gosh!!!!!! And the dunking booth pretty much wiped out the 3 young men (one of which is a staff member) who volunteered for that particular entertainment.
One of the highlights for me was a very special surprise. Even as I begin to write this, I try not to cry. A little boy that was in my room a couple years ago, one that had a less than wonderful start in life, one who had many circumstances to overcome, came to the party. It was during my hour manning the tp toss game. I heard a little voice call my name. I turned and saw him there with his Nana and almost burst into tears. I didn’t want him to see that, so I squeezed the stuffings out of him instead. I absolutely love that child. I worry about him everyday. Is he okay? Is Nana okay? Is he doing alright in school? Does he have friends? He just beamed at me. My heart is full.
Lots of people checked out the Memory Wall-pics of children past and present. I only put a pic of one of the walls on here. One staff member, the one in the dunking booth, also arranged for a race car for the day. The kids just loved having their pics made in it. I put 2 on here. In one pic, you can find me going up the ladder on the slide. All the teachers felt it was their “duty” to check out the slide before anyone arrived. Yeah, it had unanimous approval. In fact, the fireman who brought them (he does this for b-day parties and other functions on the side) brought the slide for us to use for free (the jumper was for a small fee) because it’s new and they wanted to test it out and see if we liked it. Can you say YEAH?!!! The cake walk was fun-I now have a delish chocolate pound cake-moist, chocolatey and free!
I’m sure I will think of lots more to write about. I’m really tired, but it’s a good tired. Director mentioned that she didn’t think we could have custom ordered a more perfect day. And for such a large undertaking, with so many things going on, guess what? The entire thing went off without a single hitch. We are truly blessed.
P. S. (see, I thought of something) The shirts worn by staff and volunteers-the back has flower handprints-a mother and her 2 daughters made them. Mom used to be a child at the center. Now her oldest daughter is in my room. Cool.