What better time than February in Green Bay to stage the Tropical Beach Party & Dance?
The big event will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 pm Friday at Green Bay Community Church.
There will be beachball and dancing amongst the palms, as well as food, volleyball, limbo and other games, all to celebrate special needs individuals in the Green Bay area.
Julie Pyne Van Hoosen, one of the event coordinators, said the idea is to “welcome special needs individuals and their families into our church community and help them feel hospitality, kindness and acceptance."
Julie said her primary motivation for organizing the event is her special needs son, Steve, as well as the many other special needs individuals.
“They really need friends and a social life,” Julie said. “Once you leave school at age 22 (as a special needs individual), there isn’t a lot for you.”
Julie tries to organize some smaller events during the year. It’s a chance for those with disabilities to gather, along with their families. “There is fellowship on a lot of different levels,” Julie said.
On Sunday mornings at Community Church Julie offers a class for special needs individuals from 8:30 to 9:30 am. “We learn the Bible and get to know each other,” Julie said. “It’s become quite a little community in that room. It’s quite nice.
"I would like for more people to come to that,” she added. “We have nice little friendships that have formed. Then when they see each other at Special Olympics there is a bond that they have.
“They enjoy the acceptance and love that’s in the room.”
Julie said when it comes to special needs individuals, the focus should be shifted.
"Having Steve in my life has made me realize, when we ask what can we do for people with special needs, we are asking the wrong question,” Julie said. “We can become their friend and see how much they have to offer.”
Family, friends and siblings of special needs individuals, as well as members of the community, are invited to the upcoming dance.
"Last year went really great,” Julie said. “It’s hard not to have a blast. It was an amazing group effort. A lot of people gave a lot of their time and energy. It turned out to be a very satisfying and enjoyable event."