“To be in your child’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.”
– Barbara Johnson
May 28, 2001
The buffs were ready. The playlist had been burned to a CD. The torch was waiting to be lit. Our local grocery store had scanned the image we requested onto the cake. My wife and I were anticipating 15 girls arriving at any time for our daughter Rhiley’s 10th birthday party, and this was territory we’d never trod before. The party theme was “Survivor”, the new hit reality television series we’d been hooked on all spring.
We had two tribes of 8 competing against each other in challenges involving water, pudding, and if memory serves me right…Cheetos!
We anticipated the biggest hurdle to pulling off a party theme like this would be girls “voting out” their friends. To counteract potential meltdowns, we had unwrapped prizes on hand of varying value that each eliminated castaway could select, meaning that the first person voted out had first crack at selecting the best consolation prize. Crisis averted, although it was somewhat ironic when Rhiley was quoted on cam lamenting about being voted off her own birthday party.
Subsequent birthday party themes involved everything from American Idol (a karaoke contest with our neighbors cheering on their favorite performers) to Deal or No Deal using folders paper-clipped to the fence in our backyard.
Although we were able to pull off several reality-show themed parties over those years, there was always one we wanted to do but couldn’t. That would be “The Amazing Race”. Because of the nature of the game involving traveling to different exotic locations (otherwise known as the neighborhood), it was out of the question due to the safety of the kids involved.
Years later, my daughter’s birthday parties became the inspiration for many larger scale events that I’ve planned over the years. She has indeed been my silent co-pilot creatively whenever I tackle the prospect of a new challenge for charity at work. Thanks Roo!
Be sure to check out my next blog entry when we move forward in time 10 years to the inception of my corporate version of “The Amazing Race”!