Last Saturday night a group of ordinary people did something exceptional. They put on their dancing shoes, wiped nervous sweat from brows, fluffed out feathers, straighten ties, step on stage and danced as part of the local YMCA’s Dancing for Dreams event, helping to raise more than $19,000. A whopping $4,000 more raised than the previous year’s event and darn close to this year’s goal of $20,000. We may make it yet, as money is still rolling in day by day. Dancing for Dreams is the primary fundraiser for our YMCA and the funds raised helps to provide scholarships for kids and families who otherwise would be unable to take advantage of the health and wellness services provided by our local YMCA.
Seven local stars and 6 people fulfilling the role of “professional partners” carried on a tradition that began three years ago when a couple of local women thought that an event based on the Dancing with the Stars phenomenon might make a good fundraiser. Being formidable, resourceful and persuasive they sold the idea to the YMCA Director. With virtually no budget, but with much dedication they pulled in a number of people, including me, to pull to get the first event, which raised a $5,000, a sum that seemed impossible at the time. So the next year the event grew merging with an auction (live and silent) event already in place for the YMCA. Year two the dancers alone again raise a sizable sum, and now we happily repeated this achievement again. Part of what makes this so amazing is this event occurs in a small Midwestern town (population 9,900), where farming remains a strong way of life and there is limited industry.
It is a privilege to for me to be part of such an effort, three years running now. All of dancers are amateurs with the exception of one young ballroom instructor. This wonderfully motley crew, spends hours learning to dance, learning their choreography, selling tickets to the event, as well as figuring out costumes and having some real fun. It’s gutsy for our local stars in particular, to get out on stage to dance, as the evenings entertainment. Our stars have included, a high school librarian, attorneys, a retired judge, the county clerk, a physician’s assistant, a program director, a bank president, several business owners, an optometrist, the art center director, a school superintendent and the YMCA’s Executive Director (who by the way has got some good rhythm). My hat is off to all of our local stars and “pros” who have tackled the Waltz, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Tango, Foxtrot, Jitterbug, West Coast Swing, Rumba, Hustle, Cha-Cha and Samba over the past three years. Most of these folks don’t dance regularly, some may never dance again, and some you could not imagine dancing in the first place, but each of them has said how much they enjoyed the experience. For some it has been a dream to learn how to dance. For some it was just an interesting way to support a good cause. All of them put their best foot forward, took a risk and made magic happen.
It astounds me what can happen when people put steady, solid actions together with dreams and hope.