New Year's Eve party returns
On New Year’s Eve 2007, 350 middle school and high school students found an answer to the age-old question, “What are we going to do tonight?”
On a night that is infamous for drug and alcohol use, teens made their way seemingly to the most unlikely of places, a church!
And what did they find in that church? The biggest party in town: the First Annual Drug- and Alcohol-Free New Year’s Eve All Night Party!This year’s party starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31, and ends at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day 2009. All youth sixth through 12th grade may attend.
The mission for this event is to promote a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle by providing a safe, positive and fun environment for the youth of Union, Baker and Wallowa counties. This event was formed and executed as a result of a collaborating team of youth pastors, churches, businesses and individuals.
The 2007 event included laser tag, an 18-foot-high inflatable obstacle course and other inflatable activities like bungee run, gladiator joust and bungee basketball. There was swimming at Veterans Memorial Pool, large-group games, positive movies shown on a projector screen and also a live performance by Sons of Day, a talented Christian band from Portland. Donated items like $50 gift cards, satellite radios and tons of gift certificates were given away throughout the night.
The grand prize was a $500 snowboard package that was given away in the morning.
Pizza, beverages, snacks and breakfast were provided for all the students and the entire volunteer staff.
A 12-hour event for hundreds of teenagers is no small task, but this community stepped up to make it happen. Last year Mid-Columbia Bus Co. donated two buses that shuttled students from Elgin, Imbler, Cove and Union.
We had students from North Powder and a charter bus full of students from Wallowa County and of course, a large number of students from La Grande. We had more than 140 adult volunteers last year, not including the sheriff’s department and Blue Mountain Security that executed bag checks and roving patrols throughout the duration of the event.
The food for last year’s breakfast was donated by Dairy Gold and Safeway and prepared by members from the Promise Keepers. Pepsi donated the use of their fountain machine and gallons of Pepsi products. The inflatable games were set up at Riveria Gym and Valley Fellowship.
This year we are planning for 500 students and have extended our facilities to include the La Grande High School gym and auditorium and the Blue Mountain Conference Center.
There will be twice as many inflatable activities as last year, a mechanical bull, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a funny game show, two concerts and once again some amazing giveaway items.
A message about the dangers of drug and alcohol use will be shared during the concert and opportunities for follow-up will be presented at that time. These opportunities will include talking with representatives from drug prevention and recovery agencies, tables and booths with drug recovery and education information, and an open door to have conversations with our responsible and reliable adult volunteers.
Our goal is to make this event as fun and safe as possible and to communicate to the youth of our community that being drug- and alcohol-free is part of living life to the fullest.
All youth sixth through the 12th grade may attend. All participants must present a permission slip signed by a legal guardian and a school or picture ID.
Middle school students (sixth through eighth grade) will check in at Valley Fellowship, 507 Palmer Ave. in La Grande (next to Pioneer Park). High school students will check in at the gym doors at LHS.
Parents will pick up their child or children at 8 a.m. at the same location that they dropped them off.
All bags will be checked by Union County Sheriff’s Department at the front door and then students will be transported to the different locations throughout the night by Mid-Columbia buses.
Students cannot leave the venue unless they are picked up by their legal guardian.
The cost is $10, which includes full access to all the activities, food, beverages and raffle tickets. Students from the communities of Cove, Elgin, Imbler and Union can ride a bus to the event. The buses will pick up students at each town’s high school at approximately 7 p.m.
Students must have a signed permission slip and picture ID to board the bus.
Flyers and permission slips can be picked up at Bob Mason’s State Farm or at The Potter’s House. If you have questions, call Kevin Rainey at 910-5159 or Jeremy Evans at 910-8887.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!