Last year, on our $3 Prom poster we did a little alliteration with the letter "P". We promised pizza, pop, photo booths, pastors, presents, and ponies. We were only kidding about that last one.
Team HPNY at our finest.
Until this year.
Why shouldn't we invite a few ponies to the party?
It is after all, a very tacky prom.
And we could think of nothing tackier.
So we went to work. First, the red carpet.
Because all proms should be cheap knock-offs of the Oscars.
For anyone wanting to have a red carpet of their own save yourself the time of calling the carpet industry and go with red plastic table covers. They come in 50ft rolls. Hobby Lobby also sells red duct tape. We came up with this after finding out that seaming together red carpet would cost us close to $600. Not worth it. Our solution (after ruling out glitter and a few other ideas) cost us less than $20.
Then we called some local petting zoo owners and found two small ponies who would be
willing to work the red carpet for an hour for us.
When we asked them if we could dress them up, they politely declined.
However, they did come with ribbons in their hair. Nice touch.
What we didn't expect was an additional pony. He or she (I didn't check) was tiny.
They called him Little Nugget.
He was fantastic.
One middle school girl, who came to the prom dressed as a horse, she fit right in!
And Lil' Nugget was a hit! It kept students on the carpet for photos and fanfare.
Making memories like that is always worth a bit of investment.
Other things we learned this year.
- Pass out the pizza and "pop" after the program (food makes people nuts. save it for later. and we don't really call our soda "pop" around here, unless you're from ohio and you have never lived in Texas)
- Before giving away your tacky thrift store prizes--google them for estimated value. We gave away a 38 year old ceramic frog cookie jar that ended up being worth $300. Doh.
- Don't be too hard on yourself when you forget the choreographed leader dance after you practiced to perfection all day. It's a tacky prom people. You don't have to Timberlake every dance move you know. It'll be ok.
- Test your wardrobe and wear something underneath. My dress had a removable bustle this year. Normally one would remove it by unfastening the fastens. Junior high feet clamoring in cramped lobby spaces made it susceptible to tearing and ripping. Fun! Spontaneous! Embarrassing!
- Cheer on every effort. It took work for that student to lace up his shoes differently than normal. Go nuts over it, it makes them feel awesome and he may let you borrow the laces when your dress tears.
- Give some time in the program to talk about something deeper. The students don't mind. Many were responsive to hearing something practical and helpful in the middle of the insanity. Don't shy away from it.
- Don't order too much pizza. We always do this. Peeps will be fine. You don't need to feed the entire city. Spend your money on memory makers. Pizza will be back again tomorrow, the next day, and the next.
- Have some faith in your team. We emailed the dance to our leaders the night before (fail on our part). They learned it and came prepared (win on their part). Don't be surprised when they show up with their game face. They're with you because they believe in you and in youth ministry. Be sure to thank them and keep on investing in ways that stretch them. (no pun intended)
- Find a fab photographer. You want to a part of the event. You want to be present. You want to participate. There are many people who would love to capture the memories for you. This year, Kim Carpenter from Got Grins hooked us up. Thank you Kim!
That's all for now. What are some things you've learned from you most recent youth outreach?