A few weeks ago, I was trying to decide what on earth I was going to come up with for my ‘Back to School Bash’ Youth Group Meeting. I am constantly trying to ‘one up’ myself from previous years and ideas, or at least add to them with something new and fresh. I posted last week my ‘Back to School Bash’ meeting and this current post is basically the end of that meeting, but I decided it should be it’s own post as well since it does not need to be linked to a specific time of year and can actually be it’s own meeting theme.
I had been noticing in the weeks prior that a few of my friends on facebook had been posting pictures with #Day2, #Day28, #Day90 etc. I didn’t think too much about it at first since I had spent the last four years posting a picture every day for my 365 in 365 Project. (Side bar, I love photography and after seeing the movie Julie & Julia a few years ago, I was inspired by her idea to blog every day, only I wanted to post pictures every day instead. 4 years completed and I loved it….I only got sidetracked a bit this year with my wedding madness, but plan to return to my 365 project come Jan 1, 2015) Anyway, I saw it a few times and just assumed that others had taken on the same idea. But, I was noticing that they were all posting each picture and using #100HappyDays along with it as well. (Friends that didn’t know each other either which really made me wonder what I was missing) This got me curious and I eventually googled #100HappyDays. HOLY COW, I had no idea this was going on….and, in an instant, the lightbulb went on and I just knew I was going to not only do this myself, but also challenge my youth group teens to it as well.
Turns out, #100HappyDays is MORE than just a social media trend!!! It’s an entire FOUNDATION!!! After spending time on the www.100HappyDays.com website and learning all about it, I decied to add it to my ‘Back to School Bash’ meeting with a specific purpose. (I’ll get to that in a minute).
I encourage you to check out the website and foundation info at www.100HappyDays.com. The basic premise is that if you take a picture every day of something that makes you happy (a small thing…not life changing things here) and you do this for 100 Days straight, in the end, you will actually BE happier because you have taken time to notice the little things in life that make YOU smile! That’s right, YOU! There is a clear section on the site that explains that the challenge is for YOU and no one else. It is not a photo competition, it is not to show off how ‘good’ you have it, and it is not to make others jealous. It is simply for YOU!
The site states that 71% of those who take the challenge FAIL and most quoted ‘lack of time’ as the reason. 71% of people DIDN’T HAVE THE TIME TO BE HAPPY?! The site also states that the foundation is being represented in 98% of the world, with over 1,000,000 Happiness Ambassadors!
SO….Back to my ‘timing’ of Back to School. Teens are always BUMMED to go back to school. They try to set goals like make straight A’s, keep locker clean, do all their homework before supper, but usually, that lasts for a week or two before those ‘goals’ get forgotton or pushed aside. I thought, what better way to keep a SMILE on their faces than to CHALLENGE them to FIND SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM SMILE every day for 100 Days.
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Our schools down here in South Florida went back on August 18th. I challenged my teens to start the project on that day. Day 100, their last day, would be November 19th. Right before Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had done in the past the Thirty Days of Thanks Challenge with them, and everyone is gernerally more cheerful around the holidays anyway, so I thought this was just perfect timing to get my teens to BE HAPPY from the first day of school all the way through Christmas! (:
We discussed this in great detail at our Youth Group meeting the night before school started (my Back to School Bash night) and all of my teens agreed to take the challenge. I informed them that at the end of the challenge, if they registered with the website, if they choose to donate even as little as $15. to the foundation, the foundation will send them a FREE photo book of their 100HappyDay Photos! How cool is that?! If you donate more $, you have more photo gift options. However, I did make it clear that registering with the actual website was up to them and I was simply asking them to do this for themselves.
I encourage you to go to the www.100HappyDays.com website and read the info. It’s pretty easy to register officially. Or, as I did, if you want to just have your teens do it for themselves and not officially register (or if you have any who don’t have instagram or twitter or facebook) they can participate on their own. I have some of my teens posting their pics on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and a few who don’t have social media accounts are just doing it for themselves on their own phones and not sharing with others, which is fine since the challenge is about YOU and not other people anyway.
I will say, of all the teens I had in the room that night, many have already failed to post a picture every day, however those who have committed to it are doing awesome!!! One of my teens even posted a picture of our church sanctuary on Sunday stating that coming to mass every week makes him happy! (:
Of course, this challenge can be started at any time. Perhaps a New Years Project would work well also, but any day is a good day to start being happy and taking notice of the little things that make us smile.
I have included some of my pictures below. I would love to share some of my youth group teens’ pictures, but I don’t want to expose them publicly- although I will tell you I am impressed every day with what I’m seeing.
Should you choose to take this challenge for yourself, or for your youth group teens, I hope it is a wonderful way to put a smile on everyone’s face and to make a HABIT of BEING HAPPY!!!
Wonderful work being done by the #100HappyDays Foundation!!!