Clay Aiken – Being A Kid Again


On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the National Inclusion Project event in Southern California.  Titled Let’s All Play in Joanie’s Backyard, the event was sponsored by the Campaign Leadership Council of the National Inclusion Project.

There were approximately 70 people at this wonderful party.  The group included many National Inclusion Project fans and others that were there to learn more about the charity.

A Beautiful Backyard Party

Joanie’s backyard was amazing.  The large area was full of round tables for the guests surrounded by tables that held some fun games that introduced all of the participants to appropriate games for all kids….think hula hoops, bubbles, face art, a ball toss, coloring pages, tattoos and face painting.  One of my favorite activities was the hands for inclusion.  What a great way to help everyone understand more about kids and inclusion.

The food was delicious.  There were lots of fresh salads and fruits along with the sandwiches and dessert from a colorful food truck called the  There was something for everyone.

Food, Glorious Food!!

Jaymes with other members of the family

There were many special guests in attendance.  Jerry Aiken was up front to greet us as we arrived and Faye Parker was helping, making sure that everything was looking lovely.  I was so glad to meet Tonya Gillham.  Tonya is the newest member of the staff of the National Inclusion Project.  Tonya was totally involved in party.  She introduced herself to all of us and participated in many of the activities.

It was great to see Jaymes Foster there too.  She attended with her sister and I even challenged them in a game of Toss The Ball (I lost).

Faye - Tonya - Jerry

After lunch, Jerry Aiken talked about the National Inclusion Project.  He included some information on the founding of the organization.  He also talked about the up-coming Champions Gala in October.  Ticket sales are good, but they need to be “Great”.  Jerry suggested that we get a friend to attend with us.  That would double the attendance and make the move to Washington D.C. profitable.

Faye Parker spoke for a moment and thanked each one of us for all we do for the National Inclusion Project.  She showed off the printed material that is available to all of us to use when we speak to others about the organization.

One of the more popular tables was the place that held the raffle tickets.  They seemed to be selling quickly.  The prizes were outstanding.  Who wouldn’t like to win an iPad?  Unfortunately, I had to leave before the drawing to catch my plane home.  Who knows??  Maybe I won something!

The Hosts of the Party

Congratulations to Joanie Mason, Shelley Anderson, Rhoda Welch, and Irene Williams.  The party was a success.  Everything was so organized and beautiful.  Your hours of preparation certainly paid off!

A big “Hello” to all of the wonderful people who talked with me at the event.  Clay fans are the very best.  You are never alone because each one makes a point to include every participant.  I cherish each hug and greeting.  You are all amazing people.

I left the party wondering what I can do to help the National Inclusion Project.  Maybe we can somehow have one of these amazing parties in Northern California.  We need to introduce Inclusion and The National Inclusion Project to as many people as we can.

I was the crazy person snapping pictures throughout the afternoon.  I want to share some of them with you.  They were taken on my phone so…they are OK, not excellent!

Thank you for letting me share my excitement with all of you.  It is amazing to see the growth in the Project and see the great potential for the organization.  With all of our help and enthusiasm, we can make sure that no child is left on the outside, looking in!

A quick reminder…if you click on the pictures, you will see them in their original size.  Give it a try.  The following pictures are some of the wonderful people who were at the party and support the National Inclusion Project.

Jerry - Warming Up His Karaoke Voice!

There is a bit of kid in each one of us!




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  1. Wow! That looks like so much fun musicfan! If I still lived in N. California you can bet I'd be there if you had a get together like that! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Looked like so much fun, wish I could've been there, pics were great! thanks so much for sharing musicfan.

  3. This is totally amazing!!! Glad you could attend Musicfan. If I had been half way close, I would have been there. What a great idea, and Joanie for hosting this event in your backyard was just brilliant. So glad that Faye, Jerry, Tonya and Jaymes were there. I see Coping as well. I have no idea what Tonya looks like though, so not sure if she is in one of your pictures.

    Thanks for the great recap Musicfan…It sure looks like it was a Perfect Day!!!

    • clayitagain – Tonya is in the fifth picture down from the top. It is labeled on the bottom as Faye – Tonya – Jerry.

  4. It sounds like it was a very fun successful day. I'm curious about what hands for inclusion is and am wondering if that is something we should include in our event in August. I'll send you a PM.

  5. Sounds like a great time was had by all!

    I'm going to the Gala and I'm excited. I'm very concerned though – we each need to bring someone to make the move profitable? I can't, I'm coming from the West Coast 🙁

  6. Thanks musicfan for a great recap of Saturday's event. Good job with the pictures, too. Joanie and all the gals did a great job bring everyone together for a fun NIP day. What a great idea having the Grilled Cheese Truck come and cater the affair. Kids LOVE grilled cheese sandwiches! And it looked like everyone was having fun being a kid again.

  7. Thanks!! I loved the pictures and am glad to hear that it was a big success. Looks as if the weather was perfect as well. So nice that Jaymes and Faye could be there.
    Hope these parties will start to "spring up" around the country.

  8. Thank you for all the information and pictures from the Garden party yesterday. It looks like it was so much fun.

    I do see some familiar faces!!

  9. musicfan – How wonderful that you got to play in Joanie's Backyard. Thanks for a peek into the goings on via your blog and the great pictures. Good to see Jaymes with her sister, who looks a lot like her. My favorite picture is the one of Faye swinging that Hula Hoop. She sure has a lot of spunk – just like Clay (had to get his name in the comment). Looks like everyone had a very enjoyable time. You really did a super job capturing it all.

  10. Thanks for taking the pictures Musicfan!!! It was great to see so many come out for the day. Not only were Faye and Jayme there but other Aiken family who live in LA area came also which we thought was so cool. And Jerry wasn't the only guy there! There were a few including my friend Gary Potter.

  11. Wow! It looks like everyone was having a good time. The weather was cooperating too, I see. Nice to see everyone. Jaymes is looking good, and Faye does a mean Hula Hoop (I should say hoops..see she had two). You did a great job capturing them all. Hope they made a lot of money for the National Inclusion Project.

  12. It looks like a good time was had by all. I am so glad you were able to go and provide us with the recap and pictures! It appears like it was a great event to raise funds and awareness for the National Inclusion Project. Thanks so much for the pictures and the recap!

  13. Thanks for the picutres. I actuall see me and Dori in one picture. So glad to have been able to be there as it was fun. Sorrry we couln't get to talk to you even a lit5tle bit, but you were always busy with your fans. I think you have more than Clay. Ha Ha. Shirley

    • Not in a million years!!

      It was so fun to see so many wonderful friends at the event. I still say that Clay fans are the greatest people around. And, these same people are ready to spread the word about Inclusion and The National Inclusion Project.

  14. The pictures are great. Thanks for sending. Everyone looks so happy. Loved Faye in the hula hoop. Which one is you ?

  15. What an a amazing report – with all of the wonderful pictures! It really looked like a "Grand" Party!
    It is good to see so many in attendance – for the worthy cause that it is!! Faye certainly is a cutie and
    she looks like she was having so much fun – you all do! Glad to hear that Jaymes was there along
    with al of the other family members. They all did a terrific job putting this together. Yay! for all of the
    Clayfans and NIP! Nice seeing some men in attendance along with Uncle Jerry! 🙂

  16. Congratulations on a wonderful qand successful event. And it looks like all had fun too! Love the pictures!

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