by Julie Stratton, Recreation Supervisor
Menomonie Parks & Recreation
The Thursday Night Thrill Seekers Program is a program that is offered through the Menomonie Parks & Recreation Department. It has been in existence for over thirty years.
The program is designed to offer recreational and social opportunities for adults with disabilities. Currently the Thursday Night Thrill Seekers program has 70 plus members that range in the ages of 20 to 93 years of age. The program meets on Thursday evenings eight months out of the year. There are four paid staff members and many Stout students and others who volunteer their time to make the program what it is today!
This past Sunday, May 8 – Mother’s Day – was a very special day for the program as it hosted a Prom at the Menomonie High School for all the Thursday Thrill Seekers and their friends. Participants came from throughout the area including Boyceville, Colfax and Menomonie.
It has been very heartwarming to have received so much help from individuals and businesses in hosting this event.
We have been working in cooperation with the Menomonie High School Junior Prom committee/Stephanie Taylor to be able to use their site and decorations for our celebration. Menomonie held its Prom the prior evening.
What a great team effort by students, staff and administration of Menomonie High School.
Several months ago I contacted Jill Williams owner of Jill’s My Style Hair Salon to ask for her help in organizing the event – one of the program’s participants works at Jill’s salon.
That same day, Williams posted on Facebook the Thrill Seekers’ need to acquire Prom dresses for our participants and from there things really took off.
Dresses came from Minneapolis, Rice Lake, Durand, Bloomer and of course many were donated locally. As of last week, we had 150 dresses. Allure Tux Rentals of Menomonie donated five tuxes to be used by our male participants.
Area businesses were contacted for financial and product support and without even batting an eye donations were rolling in. A committee was formed with parents of participants, volunteers and photographers to help in making this the real deal.
On Sunday, we enjoyed making the lives of those who are less fortunate, the opportunity to experience one of the many things we tend to take for granted in our own lives. It truly can’t get any better than that. None of this could ever have happened if I did not have such wonderful people who truly are giving of their time for the Thrill Seekers’ Prom.
Prom day began with hair and makeup being done by a local stylist and make-up artist and formal pictures were taken by local photographers who volunteered their time. The Grand March was held at 1:30pm followed by dancing to the music of “The Cutaways” who donated two hours of music from 2:00-4:00 p.m. A light lunch was served immediately following the dance. Throughout the afternoon a photo booth was set up for participants to use all sorts of props to take pictures with all their friends.
The success of this year’s Prom may be the start of an annual event in making memories that will last a lifetime!