For more than three decades, Girls Inc. of Jackson County has given girls the opportunity one night a year to get dressed up and spend a special night bonding with their fathers.
Until three years ago, however, there wasn’t a special night for boys to do the same with their mothers.
That’s when Heather Chase of Seymour decided to organized the first Mother-Son Date Knight to allow mothers and their sons a chance to dress up, if they want to do so, and spend time dancing and doing other activities.
This year’s event was held Saturday night at Girls Inc. of Jackson County in Seymour and drew rave reviews from some.
“This is our only night a year that we specifically get dressed up and go out together so we look forward to it,” said Kendra Zumhingst of Seymour, who attended the event with her son, Jadrix.
Paulton Rennekamp, also of Seymour, had some good things to say about the event.
“I really liked dancing with my mom,” the 6-year-old said of his mother, Angie Rennekamp.
“My husband and daughter have always gotten to go the father daughter dance, so I was happy that we got to have a night out this time around,” Angie Rennekamp said.
Six-year-old Paxton Seville dressed in a suit adorned with a corsage also seemed to like spinning around the dance floor with his mother, Cassandra Seville of Seymour.
“He just enjoys the dancing,” she said. “He’s been telling me how much fun he’s been having.”
The event serves as one of the main fundraisers for the Fraternal Order of Police Donald M. Winn Lodge 108’s Cops and Kids program, which takes place on a Saturday in December before Christmas.
Cops and Kids is a program designed to pair officers and families in need for a shopping trip to bring Christmas cheer. In 2017, a record was set with 145 kids from 69 different families receiving presents.
“Cops and Kids is an amazing program,” Angie Rennekamp said. “I’m a teacher and I’ve seen it help children in the school I work at.”
Each year, Chase said organizers try to make improvements to help to Date Knight raise more monrey for the Christmas charity, which also receives financial support from the Seymour Area Cruisers, Centra Credit Union and Centra Foundation.
“We are aiming for 250 mothers and children and I’m pretty confident we can get that,” Chase said of this year’s Mother-Son Date Knight. Attendance was 200 the first year, but grew to 280 in 2017.
This year mothers and sons could reserve tables at the dance for $25 ensuring they would not have to scramble to find a seat.
Following a “knight in shining armor” theme, the event was open to mothers and sons of all ages and featured dancing, disc jockey entertainment, photos of mothers and sons, refreshments, games and giveaway items.
A section of the gymnasium also was set aside for activities for younger children, and there was chillier addition added this year was enjoyed by a lot of those in attendance.
“I really like the shaved ice,” Paxton Seville said.
Angie Rennekamp said she couldn’t believe how well everything was organized.
“Everything is just so well done,” she said as she ate a shaved ice with her son. “They have games for younger and older kids, everything.”
Chase said she and other organizers focus on just one thing each year — making sure everyone has fun.
“We really want them, both the mothers and the kids, to have the most amazing time … and that means that the moms can get to sit back a little and relax,” she said.
Chase said that’s part of the idea behind opening the gymnasium for the boys to play games, and run around so the mothers didn’t have to worry about anything.
“The boys don’t care about the frills and the lace, but they still get the chance to see their friends and play with boys their age,” she said.
Ashley Tarr of Seymour attended the event with her two boys, Brayden, 4, and Grayson, 2.
“I enjoy just the time spent with the boys and seeing them interact with others boys and having a good time,” she said.
Tarr said her boys seemed to enjoy the kids area the most and thought it was a great addition to the event.
Every child received a goody bag courtesy of the Seymour Police Department and its Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
Disc jockey Josh Clark with Music in Motion and photographers Ernie and Janet Davidson also offered their services free of charge.