Youth council dances for charity
The Herriman Youth Council sets up for their glow-in-the dark dance to benefit the Utah Food Bank. (Herriman City)
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Herriman City Youth Council members used a dance as a catalyst to prompt donations for its annual food drive.
In lieu of an admission fee, the youth council invited community members to bring donations to the Utah Food Bank to enter a glow-in-the-dark dance on Jan. 20.
“I was very proud of their efforts to organize this,” said Herriman Councilwoman Coralee Moser, who is the youth council adviser. “It was cool to see how they would combine a fun activity with a service project, and I think it was just genius how they figured out this mash-up of events.”
More than 70 people attended the charity drive dance despite the snowstorm that hit, and they filled the tops of two 6-foot tables with food. Rachel Hale, the youth council mayor, said these items made a considerable contribution to the amount of food the council collected during their food drive, which lasted from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14.
“The fact that it involved service gave us something to talk about and be proud of,” said Quaid Green, a 17-year-old member of the youth council about the dance. “When you go to a dance—even if you are the one who organized it—in the end it was just a dance. There’s not much to be proud of. But when you help someone—regardless of what the activity actually was—there’s something you can say about it later on.”
Mayor Carmen Freeman and his wife, Madeline Freeman, dropped off a donation of about 500 glow sticks to the youth council for the dance and then stuck around to join the dancing.
Hale said surprisingly the Freemans were not the only adults who arrived at the dance. Four or five other adult couples trickled into the party throughout the night, who, according to Green, knew how to dance better than the teens. Some children also attended the dance.
Teens from Riverton High School, Herriman High School and Providence Hall also attended. The Riverton High School Exchange club and a local Smith’s also sponsored the dance.
Tyler Davis, a 16-year-old on the youth council, said the dance became more of a party than a dance halfway through the activity. Participants started having competitions with the glow sticks to see what kinds of games they could create with them, she said. The dancers made Frisbees, jump ropes, hula hoops and even outfits out of the glow sticks.
After the dance, youth council members cleared out the rec center, packed the food donations into boxes and began to carry the boxes across the recreation center parking lot to the Utah Food Bank Trailer. The driver parked the trailer as far from the rec center entrance as possible to avoid taking up patron parking, which means the youth council members had to trudge through the snowstorm to load their donations, Green said, adding that his limbs “felt like Jell-O” after putting forth the effort.
In addition to the dance, the youth also collected donations from food bank bins they placed around Herriman City Hall. They spread the word about the bins by publicizing the dance, talking about the drive on social media, handing out fliers and hoisting a banner at City Hall.
The Herriman Youth Council members will report their food collection progress at the Youth City Council Leadership Institute at Utah State University at the beginning of March. The Herriman food drive was one of many youth councils going on throughout the state during January and February.
Although Hall thinks Herriman’s total number of donations will be small compared to other cities, she and Green both said they think the food drive was a success because the council beat the number of donations they received last year.
“Originally, when you start out, it is hard to do these types of donations, but in so doing this activity, we have proven to ourselves that our capacity to raise donations was a little greater than we thought before,” Green said. “It’s also given us a template with which we can run and make even better contributions to our communities in the future.”