My daughter turned 12 yesterday. A big day for her, of course. I’m very proud of the young woman she is growing into. Every day, I love hanging out with her even more.
But her choice for a Birthday party/activity and the pure joy that she has shown in the weeks, days, and hours leading up to the party today, is what has prompted this post.
First, some background: We got our dog, Sadie from Family Dogs New Life Shelter, a local no-kill dog shelter.
Sadie has been a part of our lives for 4 years now, and we love having her. Without the shelter, I don’t think we would have had the opportunity to meet her.
As my daughter was trying to figure out what fun thing she wanted to do for her birthday, she thought about and discarded some of the usual suspects: Standard party at our house, Ice Skating, Movie, Shopping, etc. Nothing seemed to click for her, none felt right. Mom and Daughter were looking through a scrapbook and just happened to pick the one that showed our Dog adoption. That was the seed for the final idea:
My soon-to-be 12 year old daughter decided to have her friends over for a scavenger hunt for items and money to donate to the Family Dogs New Life Shelter. They would go door to door, asking for items or money donations, not to raise funds for an activity or sports, but for the dogs. Then they would go out to the shelter and hand over the goods (and money!) and visit with some dogs. Since Family Dog doesn’t use cages, but keeps the dogs in packs (hear that Cesar Milan? :) ) the girls can’t go into the back to see all of the dogs. However, they will be bringing some dogs out to meet the girls to say Thanks!
Today is her party. She couldn’t wait for her friends to arrive, almost giddy with excitement. It was like she was going to Disneyland or something.
The girls went out on the scavenger hunt and ended up grocery bags worth of donations and a total of $50 in cash. All of the girls were flush from the cold and excitement of ‘the hunt.’ Hearing the giggling and laughing while they were doing something so nice for someone else filled me with pride in my daughter and her friends. I hope they all remember this party for the rest of their lives.
12th birthday party, anything you want – what would you pick? I know I wouldn’t pick something so helpful and giving at that age. I don’t remember my 12th birthday at all – I wonder if I would, had I done something like my daughter.
I don’t know if this event will have a lasting affect on any of the girls who were here today. It might help start one or more of them down the path of helping others, volunteering, being a leader in our world. But then, again, maybe not. Maybe it was just a fun afternoon for some girls to do something different and then see some puppies… But, hey, a Dad can dream while filled with pride, can’t he?