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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Year's event offers youth fun option

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Putnam County New Year's Eve tradition: Teenagers plot house parties and parents scramble to lock down scarce babysitters. This year it could be different.

A new local company, Invent Your Events, founded by local educators, coaches and parents will sponsor what they are calling "the ultimate New Years Eve party," at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. They are doing it to address an eternal complaint issued by Putnam County youth and their parents: "There is nothing to do on New Year's Eve."

"It's one of the biggest problems we face," said Karen Hayes, a partner in Invent Your Event. "It's that way in all small towns this New Year's kids can get out of the house and have a blast while parents go out and have a good time," she said. "It's two for one, and safe for both."

Hayes, the mother of three and a local youth basketball coach, co-founded the party planning operation with two other long-time Putnam County residents, Tamra (Garnes) Walker, who is assistant principal at a local elementary school and Nicol Brown. Both Brown and Hayes have become elementary school celebrities for throwing legendary parties in children's classrooms.

So what is the ultimate party?

To meet everyone's needs, the ultimate party is actually two separate events.

The first is a carnival for first- through fifth-grade students and will include carnival games, cotton candy, dancing, face painting and karaoke. The second party is a 1970s disco for middle and high school students featuring costume contests, a dance competition and free photos.

According to Hayes and her partners, planning the elaborate celebration is only one aspect of their business. Ensuring safety for kids and the comfort of parents is their chief concern. The safety measures taken by the start-up are significant.

The ratio of adult chaperones to students to will be 1-10.

Parents will have to register emergency contact information and may provide details of their children's special needs ranging from medication to food allergies.

Hays says that each young partygoer will be signed into the event by an adult who will also provide specific instructions regarding who will take that child home.

Every person will be issued a bracelet when they enter, and like a high school dance, teenagers who chose to leave the event will not be allowed to re-enter.

"There's an increased risk of trouble around any holiday," said Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie. "Anytime someone can provide a safe alternative, it's beneficial."

Frisbie, who agrees that teenage fun is not exactly at a premium in Putnam County, hopes that the New Year's event is a success.

"People have tried this type of thing in the past, but unfortunately they have not met much long-term success," he said. "Hopefully, this go-round the community will rally behind them and give them some support. This is definitely something the community needs."

Tzouanakis Elementary Principal Dan Tegrotenhuis has gotten behind the project by donating carnival games from the school's Fall Festival.

"It's a neat thing to do," he said after acknowledging that a shortage of reliable babysitters can weigh heavily on the minds of local parents as the end of the year approaches.

"It's nice for parents to go out on New Year's Eve and know that the kids are safe and having a good time."

Though Invent Your Event typically gears their business toward larger urban areas, partner Walker says that for an event like this, staying close to their Putnam County roots was important.

"We decided to stay right here at home," she said, "and do this in a small community that really needs it."

"If it goes well," said Karen Hayes, "Well do it again and again and again."

Ticket prices for the event are steep -- $40, but once in the door ticket holders won't need a dime. According to Hayes, everything from the pizza, snacks, face painting and games, to the gift bags, contests and memory photos are all included in the ticket price.

"We'd love to do this for free," she said. "But if you're paying for it, your kids are going to have a blast."

Tickets for the New Year's Eve bash will be available at Fine Print Bookstore on Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 4-6 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 22 from noon-5 p.m. Tickets and registration forms are also available at www.inventyourevents.com and can be purchased through a Paypal account. For specific questions, call Karen Hayes at (765) 894-5404.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance, as space is limited.

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who can afford this????

-- Posted by northput on Sun, Dec 16, 2007, at 10:38 PM

"People have tried this type of thing in the past, but unfortunately they have not met much long-term success," he said. "Hopefully, this go-round the community will rally behind them and give them some support. This is definitely something the community needs."

And what makes them think it will work this time? I wish them the best of luck. I wish I could just do things on hopes. Why not ask the community their input rather than hoping on it? Probably back in November would of been a good time.

"It's nice for parents to go out on New Year's Eve and know that the kids are safe and having a good time."

With strangers? I'll keep my kid with a relative or trusted friend(s) and know that they are really safe.

-- Posted by Hungry&Fat on Mon, Dec 17, 2007, at 6:11 AM

$40? Are you kidding me? And no discount if you have multiple kids. Once again we have an event that will seperate the Haves from the Have-nots in this town. My kids would love to go, but since I already work two jobs just to put food on the table and gas in the tank, they'll be staying home with me this year. Thanks, but no thanks.

-- Posted by LangdonUlger on Mon, Dec 17, 2007, at 6:34 AM

It sounds as if someone is trying to give the younger ones some fun things to do,and of course it takes money.Why not try and solicit some of the business's for some donations,or other organizations for some funds to make it possible for the single,laid-off,or lower income families to also join in.I will give them credit for trying,they shouldn't have that taken away,but this seems to limit attendance to those who are better off money wise,and not the ones who make it week to week.A small gift that would be appreciated.

-- Posted by redrose2 on Mon, Dec 17, 2007, at 11:58 AM

I dont see this working out at all. First I will reinterate the 'haves and have nots' as previously stated. Being a single mom, I dont have $120.00 extra laying around before Christmas.

Second, you are offering ticket purchase times two days only? Seven hours? BEFORE Christmas?

Want to make a program work? Kudos to TZ!! Donating your festival gear is how a town should work...together. I am sure that there are several ways to gather what is needed to provide the 'entire community' a safe and fun New Years by asking our local merchants to help contribute. Parents just might look forward to and feel relief if they could provide fun for their children at $10.00 instead of $40.00

-- Posted by momto3 on Mon, Dec 17, 2007, at 11:59 AM

I dont even have kids but that seems way too expensive. My mom would make us a fun spritzer punch and we made our own confetti and had our own (cheap) party at home! Thanks mom!

-- Posted by indtonyc on Mon, Dec 17, 2007, at 12:09 PM

I think it's a great idea, however the suggestion to solicit local business owners and organizations is not the answer. Everyone is hit hard continously throughout the year and most business owners will tell you know. How about we get it from the Sheriff's fund.

-- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Tue, Dec 18, 2007, at 9:43 AM

If I am understanding this correctly; this article is introducing a new business, as in, an idea someone came up with in order to make a profit. It is not appropriate for public monies, like the Sheriff's fund, nor other businesses to underwrite it.

Also, it is not sometbing set up for discounts for multiple kids, as I am sure they worked out a budget. It has been presented as a business concept that grew out of the talents and creativity of the above mentioned adults and it sounds like they have a decent adult/child ratio.

Personally, when I grew up and had kids, there wasn't anywhere I would rather be than home with them on New Year's Eve. Why would I want to be out on the road with a bunch of amateur drunks? You know, the ones who only go out a few times of the year, and ALWAYS on New Year's Eve?

Of course, $40 a head for super sized babysitting is steep and of course it will separate the haves and have nots. On the other hand, some people spend similar amounts of money boarding their dogs, so I dunno if it is all that high, relatively speaking...

But if, we decided to go out to hear some good music, I am with Hungry & Fat on this one: "With strangers? I'll keep my kid with a relative or trusted friend(s) and know that they are really safe."

-- Posted by South of 40 on Tue, Dec 18, 2007, at 7:55 PM

The founders of InventYourEvents.com have planned this New Year's Eve Party for area kids and juniors for several reasons: (1)As the company's grand opening event; (2)Because IYE is a faith-based business; (3)To be proactive and demonstrate to area youth, IYE's willingness to provide good, clean, fun parties with activities for their interaction with peers; and (4)As a business start-up fundraiser to enable the company to hold future events which are less costly to attend. Caring for your offspring and entertaining them for $5 an hour is not asking too much. It's worth noting that the company's parties for kids are zero-tolerance: No booze, drugs, profanity, bullying, dirty-dancing, or indecent exposure allowed. Also, for any kids not comfortable in parties which might have a police-presence, InventYourEvents.com sponsored parties are not for you. Enough said?

-- Posted by LoveAbove on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 1:21 PM

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