Editor’s Note: A group of special needs adults experienced God’s love at an unforgettable Valentine’s Day gathering at an Alliance camp in New York (reposted from March 7, 2016).
Delta Lake Bible Conference Center, in partnership with Rome (New York) Alliance Church, was one of 200 sites around the world to host Night to Shine February 12, 2016. The vision of the Tim Tebow Foundation, creator of the event, is to provide an unforgettable prom night experience centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 16 and older.
“For the past 40 years Delta Lake has held weekend retreats and week-long summer camps for individuals with special needs, so this event seemed like a natural fit,” says Executive Director Steve Clark.
“While Delta Lake and Rome Alliance were the hosts, this was certainly a community effort,” Steve adds. Local businesses and individuals helped promote and support the event.
Pastor Bryce Baldwin of Rome Alliance Church also saw Night to Shine as a way to serve the local community. “As a pastor who strives for the local church to be a blessing to the community, I could see that Night to Shine was an excellent opportunity for our church people to show God’s love to the guests,” Bryce says.
An event like Night to Shine takes a lot of people to make it a success. On this date, 186 volunteers braved the cold temperatures and gave up their Valentine’s weekend Friday night to serve 95 guests. Students from the local National Honor Society worked side by side with people from six C&MA churches and many other area congregations.
There were a number of pre-prom activities for the guests. Local beauticians, Mary Kay representatives, and other volunteers made sure the women were ready to party by doing their hair, makeup, and nails. The men had their shoes shined.
Each guest continued on to receive a corsage before being crowned either king or queen of the prom—and, yes, each one received his or her own crown or tiara. Then volunteers escorted each guest down the red carpet to the cheers of a welcoming crowd and toward a photo op with the waiting paparazzi.
Once the party started there was plenty of fun music, good food, and a lot of laughter. During the prom, additional activities took place like goofy pictures in a photo booth, arts and crafts, and karaoke.
Steve approached one woman that evening and asked her how she was enjoying the event. Her simple response was, “Precious. I am precious.”
This year was the third time for the Tim Tebow Foundation to sponsor Night to Shine. It has become a worldwide movement challenging people to change Valentine’s Day weekend from simply a celebration of love to a celebration of God’s love for people with special needs. This is an evening to celebrate the value of life.
Delta Lake is one of 28 Alliance camps in the United States. The Alliance runs more than 50 camps in 17 countries. Read more about Alliance camping ministries at alliancecamping.org.
Visit Delta Lake Bible Conference Center’s Web site.
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Watch how an Alliance camp and an Alliance church partnered to create an unforgettable evening for people with special needs.