So here we are now a few months into WonderTent Parties. It’s been great being able to spread a little wonder and I’m thankful for all the support we’ve been getting. Many people have asked me how WonderTent Parties came to be.
So in the spirit of sharing, especially this month (which will become obvious in a moment) here is the story of WonderTent Parties.
It all started with my husband's and my desire to adopt a child. We both knew we wanted to adopt and felt a natural gravitation towards adopting an older child. At the time, I was working as a VP in Corporate Talent Management and felt quite unfulfilled by the corporate merry-go-round. I wanted to do something that gave back and allowed me the freedom to build a family.
So with a little exploration we found the wonderful people of KIDSAVE, a charity set up to help older foster youth find lasting connections and forever families. One of the things we loved about KIDSAVE is that connections form organically through monthly outings and events and that the kids have a say in who they want to know better. It was at one of these outings that we met a shy, funny, smart 12-year-old girl named Celia. And our lives changed for the better in that moment.
Over a series of month’s we got to know each other and soon she started to spend the weekends with us. It wasn’t too long before we all realized we wanted this to be permanent. And so, in the summer of 2016, Celia moved in with us as our foster daughter and made us a family.
As we approached our first Christmas together we asked Celia to write up a wish list of Christmas gifts. The raft of wishes ranged from the humble (a pair of socks) to the wildly outlandish (a swimming pool.) But the thing that struck home for me were her two “Mandatories” - to be adopted and to have a sleepover with her new cousins.
The adoption, as we are finding, takes its time but the sleepover didn’t have to.
So I set about figuring out how to make a wonderful, magical, memory-making sleepover. And drawing influence from my sister and a concept that originated back in our home country of Australia, I struck upon the idea of elevating the humble sleepover into a truly special event.
And so WonderTent Parties was born, with the intent to make every sleepover, every one of life’s celebrations big or small, a truly memorable one that creates connections that last a lifetime. I wanted to make it hassle-free for parents and to supply everything needed for sleepover magic to occur.
We dreamed up the Sleep Over for the ultimate 5-star glam experience. To make sure the little ones didn’t miss out we created the Slumber Under giving them all the fun of a slumber party without the overnight stay. And for teens (and the young at heart) we created the Glamp Out, the big sleep out under the expansive WonderDome.
And all of them get Celia’s stamp of approval – after all, she’s now our head of R&D.
So that’s our story. It seemed fitting to share especially as November is National Adoption Month. Our fingers are crossed that this Christmas we get to tick off the wish for adoption from Celia’s wish list. We’ll keep you posted.
If you'd like more information about adoption, mentoring or hosting older foster youth I encourage you to head over to Kidsave and see the wonderful work they do.