As I readied myself for the WCSG Father/Daughter Banquet, I couldn't help but wonder how "ma girls" were doing. Last year, I had the pleasure of attending this Daddy/Daughter date night with my dad. Few months after the banquet, some UFM teens were talking to Mr. Dan, a faithful volunteer staff member, about the event, commenting on how they wish he would take them to the banquet in 2013. Dan approached me shortly after his conversation with the girls asking if I'd be willing to help make this happen.
We rode to Hudsonville in a UFM 15 passenger van, and sashayed into the Pinnacle Conference Center in Hudsonville. Ok, so we're not the "sashay" types, so some ran, some wobbled in on stylish heels, and the men walked coolly to the door.
The girls were all dressed to the nines in pretty dresses, cute shoes, and accessories to match. The men looked dapper and Mr. Dan wore a fancy new suit! We met at the UFM office to snap some photos and hop in our "sweet ride." The girls were all a flutter with anticipation. After arriving at the event site, we found our table, got comfy and stared around the room. What fun it was to see all the dads and their daughters enjoying time with each other. Not a frown to be seen.
Dinner was served. A fancy dinner. We had multiple forks and cloth napkins. The girls were so precious as they navigated their way through this high-class affair. We ate our salads and rolls, and waited for the main course. The presentation was lovely, Hawaiian chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes smothered in a Hawaiian pineapple sauce. We dug in…but, hungry as we were, for some around the table, the fancy food did not meet their expectations, so they ate cake and rolls and salad all the while making hilarious, disgusted faces as the rest of us finished our meals.
Jason Castro, American Idol season seven fourth runner up, was the entertainment for the evening. The girls talked through much of the concert, commenting on his musical style, other people's outfits, the decorations, the food, etc. The little girls, ages 10 and 11, tried hard to stay engaged, but the music just wasn't their style. At one break when Jason was introducing his next song, we heard noises that sounded like radio interference. My dad and I looked down and saw that Jaira and Ashari were laying underneath a chair watching Spongebob Squarepants on someone's cell phone.
At evening's end, the emcees announced that all ladies would receive a flower as they left. All of the girls were excited. After snapping a few more photos, we made our way to the door. As the girls received a carnation from the Cornerstone Radio staff, their faces lit up. Some had never received a flower before so they felt extra special.
As we rode home, the girls chattered about the event, school, friends, and the homework they had to complete over the course of the weekend. As we left, lots of hugs were exchanged and many "thank-yous" expressed.
What an incredible experience the evening was! I am so thankful to be surrounded by incredible students, volunteers, and family and am so very grateful to have shared such a memorable night with such great friends.
~guest author, Heidi, staff