- Sophie &Friends
I'm a party planner. My job is to entertain groups of people. My specialty is kids. Put those three things together with Covid-19 and it spells a very long stretch of time without anything to do. I'm like an airplane that's been grounded...I can see the sky, I'm just not allowed to fly.
However, being a type "A" personality, I wasn't about to let something like shelter-in-place stifle my creativity, or my outreach. I consider myself incredibly lucky. I've been producing YouTube videos for over 8 years. The thought of moving my skills online didn't terrify me quite as much as it did for many of my colleagues. But, being without my team was something completely different. To quote Conan O'Brien on learning how to operate ZOOM for his podcast "Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend" - "the airplane is going down and the only one trying to land it is a zebra, punching at the controls with his hooves". I am that zebra.
After one initial week of panic, night-sweats, phone calls, breakdowns, tear-fests, and finally a call to a fellow vendor who literally took over my computer virtually through the internet, I was able to come up with a manageable solution to presenting content.
So...here's what I've been up to...
Daily Storytimes - these half-hour segments are presented live through Facebook.
Live art classes - these are offered through ZOOM. Anyone is welcome. I use only items that can be found around the house - paper, markers, glue sticks, scissors and tape. This is possibly the most fun I've had in years, because the limited materials make for a serious and exciting challenge.
Daily Boredom Busters - quick, 1-minute challenges that use little or no materials. These are often silly little bits but I love presenting them.
Virtual Birthday Parties - Many of my clients have wanted to do something, anything, to celebrate their children's special day - so I developed a 1-hour Zoom party that includes music, games, stories, and crafts. Parties can include a special birthday box that gets delivered to each guest ahead of time and then used at the party to build excitement and supply necessary items for the party (it also serves as a goodie bag).
Influencer spots - These have been fun. I've been able to test out such products as Book and Bear, Wididi hooks, Meditation apps, and paint by number kits.
I'm also working on some other fun ideas for my corporate clients that include virtual summer camps, Take Your Kids to Work classes, and Cocktails and Crafting for adults.
All in all, there has been very little downtime in my world. And although nothing can take the place of face to face contact, and I admit to being hug starved, (that's possibly one of the biggest perks of being a kid's party planner) at least my sense of creative adventure isn't atrophying.
Thanks to my amazingly dedicated team, all of the content is available on YouTube and here on my website. And although it may not be as crisp, clean, and professional as my previous work, the spirit and heart survive and shine through. I refuse to let a virus keep me grounded. This zebra has fastened her seatbelt and is ready to start that propeller turning. Clear the runway everyone...and prepare for takeoff.