Many people are familiar with the more obvious aspects of wish granting, like organizing the trip or figuring out how to involve a celebrity. What they don't know is that a key responsibility of wish granters and volunteers is the "wish reveal" party, where the child finds out the what, when and where of their wish. Through planning these reveals, they learn the ins and outs of constructing the perfect surprise, booking the best locations and designing a spectacular theme.
Wish granter Tom Caillouette recently planned a wish reveal and gave us an inside look at his approach to juggling party-planning obstacles.
Tip #1: Take the Personal Approach to Planning a Children’s Party
When Tom considered how best to plan wish kid Andrew’s reveal party, he drew on his own background to empathize with Andrew's love for baseball.
“...I am originally from the Midwest, had played collegiately, previously worked for the Atlanta Braves and am a huge baseball fan. I connected with Andrew and his wish immediately. We hosted the wish party at Dave & Buster’s, one of our national sponsors, and had Andrew’s baseball team surprise him at the front door.”
For Tom, it was all about figuring out what would be the most engaging celebration:
“Andrew and his younger sister are very fun, outgoing kids who constantly talked about their friends. It was evident that being with their friends and being able to share some of this experience with their friends was important.”
Planning a children’s party should begin with understanding how you can connect your own experiences with whatever the child would most appreciate. That way, the result is a party that is not only well-organized, but meaningful to everyone involved.
Tip #2: Recognize Challenges and Roll With Them
Tom faced a few unexpected challenges while planning the party.
“We considered a wish reveal at an Arizona State University baseball event or during one of Andrew’s own baseball games, but schedules didn’t permit. Dave & Buster’s was a perfect alternative and provided an excellent environment to host this party.
“Once you have identified a location or party host that works with your wish kid and his personality, it’s easy to make it a success from there. They’ll be so happy and excited that they won’t even notice any small things that might not go as planned.”
Instead of getting too single-minded about the when/where of the party, take Tom’s approach and privilege the theme over a specific location. If you focus on the personality of the child (see Tip #1), they’ll be so excited by the party they won’t care (or know) if it wasn’t exactly how you originally envisioned it.
Tip #3: Avoid Overwhelming the Child
During any children’s party, the tendency can be to get so worried about the execution and silly details, like the cake and the decorations, that parents or planners can forget about the whole point: the Child.
“I personally think that wish kids and their families can feel overwhelmed with the amount of generosity given to them during a wish. By spending time with the wish kid and their families during these parties and showing your support of their big day, you can help them embrace the experience.”
Whether you’re a parent, friend or other relation to the child, remember to ensure that personal relationships and memories are at the forefront of the actual event. Like Tom advises, it should be an experience that privileges the child’s own sense of fun over individual items like a specific cake or color scheme. The trappings fall away in light of the excitement of spending time together and celebrating with the child.
Wish granters and volunteers become experts in organizing engaging ‘wish reveal’ events for wish kids. Their advice is a great starting point for figuring out how to create a surprise party for your child.
Header Image Credit: "party-favors-confetti.jpg" by r. nial bradshaw is licensed under CC BY 2.0