The weather is warming up, summer is right around the corner, and seniors are counting down the days to graduation
! It's a happy time for sure, but it's also bitter sweet, as we all must say goodbye to friends and teammates we've grown to love. What better way to celebrate the times you've had together than with a party? We've put together a list of tips and some of our favorite ideas for a fond -- and fun -- farewell!
Music and Food
Two of the most important aspects of any successful party are music and food! Music is a great way to break the ice and get the party started. A portable, battery powered radio that connects to a music player like an iPod is our number one must-have at any event, and a sure-fire way to keep guests entertained if there are any lulls in conversations. Our second must-have is easy, yummy food. Our tips for the best party foods are keep it light and portable: snacks like individual bags of popcorn, hot dogs, veggies and dip in plastic cups, cupcakes, and small sandwiches are the easiest for guests to eat while socializing and don't tend to be as messy as foods that require a plate and utensils. To ramp up the fun factor, make your food themed: use the graduation year prominently in decorations or food shapes (for example, you can cut fruit into numbers and create graduating year fruit kabobs) or choose foods and cake frosting that match your team's colors.
Sleepover, Lock-In, or Pool Party
Get your entire squad together and hold a sleepover or pool party (which can easily be done at someone's house) or a lock-in (which would require booking a location, such as a bowling alley, for a night). At the event, plan to have snacks, music, and games to keep everyone entertained as you reminisce!
Make an easy DIY photo booth, add props, and start making memories! A photo-booth can easily be put together with just a few supplies, such as a digital camera (and it does not have to be a fancy one!), tripod, backdrop (which can be natural, like a brick wall or tree, or a quick-fix like colorful fabric or a cute shower curtain tacked onto a wall), and props. A wireless shutter-release remote, which can be purchased for under $20 at any electronics store, can also be helpful, as it allows guests to easily take the pictures themselves. To keep the photo-booth idea green and accessible, set up an online album before the party and supply all the guests with the URL or online location of the album. Once the party is complete, all you'll need to do is upload the photos!
Create a hashtag for your party, and tell everyone to tag any photos they upload (to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) so you can all search for them later on. Come up with something unique to your squad or team to make remembering and searching for it easy. A unique hashtag will also lessen the chance that your photos will be mixed up with strangers' photos who are using the same tag. Hand out little cards with the printed #hashtag, or hang a sign in a prominent location so everyone will remember as they're snapping away.
Set up small boxes that open at the top (think re-purposed tissue boxes) personalized for every senior in attendance. Place them all at a centrally located table and lay out note cards and markers to let everyone leave notes for their graduating seniors.
Provide plain white t-shirts for the members of your squad and use them like you would a school yearbook. Have markers available so everyone can sign each other's shirts"”just be careful that the markers don't bleed through on to the clothes underneath!
Collect photos from coaches, parents, and other squad members from the years that your seniors have been on the team. Put together a slideshow highlighting the best moments with your graduates, and overlay it with fun, upbeat music. If you're a competition team, use pieces of your competition music as the accompaniment to your slideshow.
Before the party, let attendees know they will have the opportunity to say a quick speech to commemorate the year and say goodbye. You can also offer the ability for a group of people to put together a cheer: team members can say goodbye to seniors, or seniors can cheer to say goodbye to the team.
Create an "Open Time Capsule"
If you have a gym or space you use for practice, put together a hanging display box (or "open time capsule") to showcase the previous year. Have party attendees bring something that holds significance to them and that represents the prior season: a picture of the team after a great performance, a plane ticket from a trip to an out-of-state competition, the year's bow, etc. After the party, put together the display box and hang it in your gym; this way, when people visit they can reminisce immediately. There's no need to wait 30 years or more to open an actual time capsule, and yet people can still contribute to a piece of their team's history.
Whatever you decide to do at your party, just keep it fun and focused on the seniors! This is your chance to not only commemorate a fantastic year, but to bid farewell to great friends you've made along the way. Congratulations to all of the soon-to-be graduates, and enjoy your parties!
How are you planning on saying goodbye to your seniors?