Sunday, December 12, 2010

Huge Hippo Hugs to the Helpers

Wow, what a year! In our third year, Hullabaloo has seen some fantastic partners join our parties such as Bre Creative, Pawley's Reptiles and Bears 'n' Buddies. We have grown our roster of themes to include Star Wars, Harry Potter and Superheroes. Our list of helpers has doubled to meet the demand. I sit here near the end of 2010, reflecting on this past weekend which included our last corporate event of the year. Almost 100 children in total wore big smiles because they loved the face paint, balloon animal, games, crafts, Becca the Princess or our hippo mascot, Balooberry.

Through it all, these parties are my labour of love but also through it all I've seen my helpers GIVE their all. In the hour before a party they rush to blow up balloons, arrange scenery, lay out costume accessories, and set up the craft table. In the first thirty minutes of a party these helpers welcome the little guests and invite them to have face painting, tattoos, to try on something or maybe work on a craft. It's high gear and high pressure: no two parties are the same and they manage to adjust quickly to any demand.

The helpers run the games, belting out instructions with enthusiasm and ensuring every child's prize is labelled and put aside for home time.

Ahhh, home time: the flurry of reclaiming costume accessories and ensuring everyone gets his or her loot bag, thank you bookmark, and prizes. There are parents to add to the frenzy but again the helpers keep their cool and keep the situation under control.

Clean up is a rapid, organized effort so we can get out of the family's hair as quickly as possible. We try our hardest to pack up everything we brought, but sometimes we find a return visit and quick "hello" is necessary to collect an errant item.

I spend hours in preparation before a party even starts. It's hard work. But my helpers have only a brief moment in time to make an impression. They come through for me over and over again. If 2010 is a hint at things to come in 2011, I say bring it on - and HUGE HIPPO HUGS to my helpers (past and present) for getting us here.

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