Saturday, October 20, 2007

Homecoming Alternative

Today, our church sponsored a "Homecoming Alternative". People might look at that and think, "What is that!?" Well, it's exactly what it says it is. Who thought of it? How did it get started? Who goes to this event? What do they do there? So many questions! The normal response would be so little time. BUT, this is my journal and I've got all the time to share. :o) My dilemma is... where do I start? I guess the beginning would be a great place to start.

Through the years, Homecoming dances sure have changed. I guess might I might be sounding like an old foggy, but think about it, they have. I personally, REALLY enjoy dancing. Yes, even at 44, I can AND like to " get jiggy with it", "shake a leg", "get the groove on", "cut a rug" and all those other "I like to dance" idioms. I enjoy watching others dance too. BUT... some of the way people dance today, I feel, should be reserved for their boudoir. Some of the dances are very suggestive. Leave very little to the imagination. It's all laid out there in front of you. The way some dance look like they are animals in heat. Honestly, I for one, do not want to see my children dance like they are in heat! Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like them. But why do this in public? Where EVERYONE can see you grinding? Why tempt someone else that way? Why tease, if you don't plan on following through? Yes, go ahead and dance, have fun, enjoy it. BUT why not save the suggestive dancing for your spouse? Just think, little ones are watching. They idolize teenagers, who intern idolize the 20 somethings and so on. I see younger ones mimicking the ones they look up to. They are watching how the older ones dress, talk, dance, act and so on. Which means, that the younger ones are ALSO dancing suggestively. I know that ultimately it's up to the parents. The parents are the authority figure for their children and teenagers. BUT if we all try to lead by example, WOW!!! Imagine the impact! All that to say that I really enjoy dancing, but certain moves, I do only at home.

For the last four years, our church has sponsored a Homecoming Alternative. A young lady while in 9th grade decided she did not want to participate in her high school homecoming dance because of what goes on at the dances. So she organized an alternative. She spoke to the Pastor, the Youth Minister and the elders of our church. She shared with them that she wanted to invite other teenagers to our church for a homecoming party. They would have *Christian music (more on this later on), wonderful meal, pictures taken, and a white elephant gift exchange. Instead of dancing, an "outing" would be planned, which the church would provide transportation (church bus). They elders loved the idea. They liked it so much, that they decided to make it a "free" event. Yes, the "outing" and the *white elephant gift (more on this later) are also free!

Any teenager who is in the 9th-12th grade is welcome to attend. It's advertised at the local high school, which happens to be 4 blocks from our church. Formal attire is not required. Sunday best is not required. They wanted to make it so ANYONE could go without making any extra expense. Some prefer to dress up and some don't. One year, Soaring Amongst The Clouds wore a Hawaiian sundress, but the year before she had worn a long evening gown. One year Still Waters wore a beautiful Victorian gown, the year before she wore jeans with a beautiful, white embroidered shirt. Their senior year they decided to wear a long evening gown. They weren't sure when they'd get another chance to wear one. LOL! Daughter of the King has worn a long evening gown every year. Last year she even made her own dress. One year a young lady came in right after work, with no chance to change. She was not made fun of , she was welcomed with open arms. The young men wear what they choose to also. Some have worn suits. Some have worn slacks , long sleeve shirts with a tie. Some have worn jeans long sleeve shirts and a tie. Some have worn a jeans and a shirt. Some have worn sneakers with their suits. Some have even worn hats. We've seen it all.

The event is held in our dinning hall. A couple of the youth help some of the moms decorate the room. A local flower shop donates an arch or columns and flowers to decorate. The tables are beautifully decorated with linen table cloths, flowers, candles and beautiful china ware. The staff that cooks dinner for our church prepares the dinner for this event too. It's not your average meal, they go all out. To top it off, they also have a delicious dessert. The youth minister, his wife and two moms are the ones that brings the dinner plates to the guests. They also make sure that their drinking glass (soda, water and/or tea) are always full.

After dinner, they play the white elephant game. Now the gifts are not a gag gift, well if it is, something else comes along with it. In the past, some of the gifts have been $10, $15, $20 or $25 gift card to a store, a mug filled with candy, cute fluffy slippers, character pajama pants, Christian t-shirts, a cd, gift card to a local restaurant or a fast food place, journals with pens, Nerf guns, hand held games, x amount of pounds of candy and so on. They get to swap their gifts, whether they want to or not. The item can only be "taken away" three times. They have a great time playing this game.

The outing is always a fun. In the past they've gone bowling, put putting and on a river cruise. The youth know in advance where the "outing" will be. The year they went bowling, some of the girls still wore their long gowns. They had a WONDERFUL time! This year's outing was at what my Soaring Amongst The Clouds calls, The Happy Place. The Happy Place has a putt putt. The young men putt putted in their suits while the young ladies putt putted in their dresses. Some of the young ladies decided to putt putt barefooted, some stayed in their heels while others took a pair of flip flops for the occasion. All in all, they had the time of their lives. They were back at church by midnight.

Daughter of the King decided to wear a long evening gown. She wanted me to help her get ready. I always tell my Fair Maidens that, "I live for this moment!" LOL! When I was driving her to church, I glanced over at her and my eyes watered. My Baby Girl has blossomed into a beautiful young lady. I told her she looked like a mermaid. She smiled and said, "Gee thanks mom, I look like a fish!" LOL! I said, "No sweetie, mermaids are beautiful, fairy tale ladies. Every girl would like to look like one." Be still my heart...

I know that all mom's think this, so I'll just go ahead and say it any way. Baby Girl, you looked absolutely exquisite and elegant. You radiated beauty from the inside out.

Let me clarify this, no, Steps and Daughter of the King did not go as a couple. They are holding true to the "no dating" rule we as a family have. What's even more wonderful is that Steps and his family also believe in "no dating". Like us, they believe in courtship. I'd like to add that Steps has really "stepped" it up. He is very careful about how he carries himself. Kudos for you! There were youth who invited a date, but there were some who just came and met their friends.

Here we have KT, Congresswoman and Daughter of the King. KT and Daughter of the King have been friends for six years. Congresswoman started attending our church a few years ago.
The amazing thing is that they are all totally opposite of each other. Which makes their friendship all the more awe inspiring... it's certainly a God thing. They have learned to "love" as Christ would love.

This was the last picture I took. After I left some a couple of more youths showed up. As you can see, some came as couples and some didn't. For some this was the first time attending.

The young lady that started the Homecoming Alternative, graduated from high school two years ago. One of the other young ladies, stepped up and continued the tradition. This year the young lady that continued, will be graduating. I wonder which youth will step up and continue the tradition. Whoever God leads to do this, won't be doing this alone. There are plenty of folks willing to step in and help out.

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