By Sarrah Peters
On Sunday, February 24, the YMCA of Coosa Valley will continue a family tradition with its Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance.
The event will start at 6 p.m. at The Venue at Coosa Landing.
“We’re going to have a little more room to spread out this year,” said YMCA director LeRoy Falcon. “We’re excited about having that new bigger space to grow in.”
The cost is $20 a ticket in advance and $25 the day of the dance.
The YMCA held the first Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance 11 years ago. Falcon borrowed the idea from an event he attended with his daughter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His daughter Kate was about 4 years old at the time.
When the local YMCA first held the dance, only about 30 people attended. Since then, the event has grown exponentially. Last year, nearly 400 people attended the dance.
“We call this a daddy/daughter dance, and it is that on the surface,” said Falcon. “But it’s really an opportunity to strengthen the bond between a dad and a daughter. And it’s a chance for that dad to kind of set the tone of how a girl should expect to be treated when they start dating.”
There is no requirement for daughters to attend with their father, and many attend with other family members.
“Due to family dynamics, sometimes granddads will step in,” said Falcon. “We’ve had uncles step in. One year, we had a little girl who had recently lost her dad, and she joined her friend and her friend’s dad. The friend had invited the girl to come with her father.”
Falcon hails the dance as a way to improve the relationship between a father and daughter.
“The dance has a lot of meaning for many, various reasons for people,” said Falcon. “You just never know what their life situation might be. I’ve had divorced dads write me letters and thank me because they feared they were losing their relationship with their daughter because their ex-wives had moved on and remarried.”
In addition to dancing, attendees will be treated to a meal of chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese and a vegetable from Tony’s Bar-B-Q. The Gadsden Service Guild will provide cupcakes and cookies for the event.
The money raised from the event funds the YMCA’s scholarship fund, which funds memberships and summer camp enrollment. Approximately 30 percent of summer camp participants receive a scholarship.
For more information about the dance or YMCA, call 256-547-4947.