Father-daughter dance supports healthy fun

Dads, uncles, grandfathers and male mentors of young women — now is the time to start a new tradition of fun and festivities with the girls in your life.

The first-ever Columbia Gorge Young Life Father-Daughter Dance is coming to town Feb. 23, 6-8 p.m., and it is open to all Gorge area residents.

Young Life, a nationwide nonprofit organization, is hosting the evening as “a way to reach out and encourage, good healthy relationship between fathers and daughters, or girls and their male role models,” said Jeanine Jacobson, CGYL community board member.

“We think it is important to support fathers, and other men with young women in their lives, to build a special relationship,” said Jacobson.

The evening will offer more than just dancing, though. The DJ-hosted music will be accompanied by a photo booth, snacks, dessert, games, free dance lessons and arts and crafts.

While Young Life serves middle school through college age youth with its Christian-based outreach programs, the dance event will give special attention to girls aged 2-11 and their father figures.

“There is never a shortage of great fun at Young Life events. We are all about crazy games,” said Jacobson.

Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 of the United States as well as more than 70 countries around the world.

“It is an ecumenical program with people serving on the community committees from many different churches,” said Jacobsen. According to the organization’s website, both Protestant and Catholic churches and members participate in the program.

According to Jacobson, any profits from the evening will go to send local kids to Young Life summer camp in June. Last year 130 middle school students attended the camp, held in Antelope on the Washington Family Ranch. Funds will help kids who couldn’t normally afford to go to a summer camp or who have never experienced camping.

For $20, one adult male and one female youth may attend the dance. For dads with additional daughters, each will add just $5 more per entry. The Hood River Elks Lodge is hosting the event.

Tickets may be purchased at Shortt Supply in downtown Hood River prior to the event.

Although the dance is being offered to all ages of girls and their special male guides, local Young Life meetings are available for middle school and high school youth of both genders.

“Young Life is primarily about building relationships with young people through groups and one-on-one relationships — It is about walking alongside them,” said Jacobson.

Local groups meet in leaders’ homes. For high school- aged youth, Melissa Ing coordinates those meetings on Monday and Wednesday nights, 6-8 p.m. Ron Harder leads a group for Wy’east Middle School. Regular activities are also scheduled for Hood River Middle School youth. The local organization is lead by Jeff Strong. All of the leaders may be reached through the Young Life office message phone at 541-386-5433.

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