Monday, April 26, 2010

So Done!

I am happy to report that the physical, draining, exhausting part of planning and producing the After Prom Party (APP) is finally, wonderfully and definitely over!

I have to give the experience a solid A-. It was challenging to say the least. When we first started we were given a giant binder, it had everything from previous years in it, and things looked simple and in order. Brilliant. After we were able to procure a group of people to be on the committee with us, we planned our first meeting. My Co-Chair and I made a few phone calls before the meeting in order to get the ball rolling and make sure we could secure the locations we needed.

All was not to start out well for us. The locations used in the past, aside from one, were not going to be available to us any longer. Mostly this was due to the fact that the businesses were for sale or closing. So at our first meeting we debated options on where to hold our shindig. This turned out to be not an easy task at all. Fortunately the bowling alley, who has always been very generous, was already willing to help out. Since they have done this before, it was one less stress for our committee.

After throwing around a lot of ideas and getting shot down for many, many different things we were finally able to get the local college to agree to let us use their old gymnasium and student lounge area. What a relief, now we just had to decide what to do there for 3.5 hours in the middle of the night.

Coming up with ideas was easy, seeing them be possible was an entirely different animal. Here are just a few of the things we looked into and were unable to do:

dunk tank
blow up obstacle course
climbing wall
laser hunt video games
photo booths
paint ball wars
miniature golf
blow up games in general

Finally we decided to attempt Minute To Win It games. Although we did not use exactly their ideas, we did imitate a few, modified to the format that would work for teens and having successful winners of each round. We added dodge ball games, scooter races, Nerf Gun Tag war, ping pong tables, trike races and some Fear Factor style eating contests. (minus the GROSS... they were all based on candy, pudding, gum and whipped cream. Plus one that involved Alka Seltzer and club soda. )

Then we had the idea that the winners should have some sort of prize for their endeavors. Here is where our local business owners really shine. My Co Chair and I would go into a business to buy gift cards, or small coupons, we would say, "If we buy X amount of this, could you possibly donate a few?" Typically the owner would donate the matching amount, or not make us a pay for a thing. Local business owners rock! We had incredible donations and we barely paid for a thing. Here's a partial list:

44 t-shirts
1 hour limo service
a summer long golf pass
a month long health club membership
a CZ necklace
a mani/pedi pampering basket
2 senior portrait photography sessions plus 100 dollars worth of photos
3 sweatshirts
100 dollar gift card
many meal certificates for fast food restaurants
packages of golf balls
blankets from the college

This list would go on for so long. Living in a small town, where the business owners know our kids, know us and love their community is amazing. Not only did they donate all these prizes, and many that I have missed, they also donated cash to fund this non profit party. We solicit local businesses and they make whatever donation they see fit. Typically we have a budget after donations of about $3,000. This money helps pay for the location rentals, food, supplies, etc.

The day of the APP was reserved for set up. The bad news being that only 3 of us showed up to help. We had 2 sessions for setting up, fortunately I brought Miss 11 along to help. Without her I'm sure we could not have had everything ready to go by 12:00 a.m. She was invaluable. We unpacked vehicles and set up the gym, the lounge, hallways, and food areas at the college. The bowling alley owners are so used to having this party there that they had everything ready to go for us, we just brought the food, chaperone's and registration tables and it was ready to go.

The prom go-ers had a great time at both places. The dodge ball game, ping pong table and Nerf wars were the biggest successes of the night. We also were lucky enough that the college allowed us to use their t-shirt gun for t-shirt giveaways. That was a big success as well.

Although we only had 60% of prom attendees come to the APP. We feel it was a success. We found out part way through the APP that the parents of one of the seniors decided to have a pool party for some of the senior class. Typically we have 150 or so couples attend prom, and at least 40 of them were invited to this pool party. At least we know that between our APP and their pool party, we were able to keep our prom go-ers safe. The night did not end in a tragedy, and even with only 60% of couples attending our APP that's a lot of children we were able to show that alcohol is not the only way to have fun with your friends.


DeeAnn said...

Yay! Glad it was a success. I know you put a lot of time and sweat into it!

jo said...

I am very impressed by all the things you found for them to do.