The Happy Kankakee Party is a monthly networking social aimed at bringing the community together into a hybrid celebratory-townhall setting to commonize information, boost civic pride, and collaborate on forward-thinking initiatives. Historically, the typical guests tend to be network marketers, direct salespersons, and entrepreneurs; nonprofit leaders, idea persons, and event planners/promoters. Religious and political attendees have always been welcome, as the meetings are heavily controlled by a focused moderator. Themes and activities may differ from meeting to meeting, but the goal of every meeting is the same: to encourage and empower community visionaries to make their dreams a reality in the Greater Kankakee socio-economic area.
Most meetings feature an aspect of “show and tell” for vendors. While the Happy Kankakee Party is not generally a traditional vendor show or popup shop, the opportunity to patronize sellers is available and the potential benefit to local sellers is far greater in the long term, as relationship-building is strongly encouraged.
Happy Kankakee Parties were originally intended to be public domain / open source, meaning anyone could host a Happy Kankakee Party at any time for any reason, without permission. While this is not the exact case anymore, as the copyright for Happy Kankakee is now being claimed, any member of the Happy Kankakee Network may request permission from the board of directors to host a Happy Kankakee Party to suit their own agenda.
These meetings have been primarily hosted by Willeum Boykin since 2011. See this Daily Journal writeup.
Ambience. The events have traditionally been decorated by Willeum with the smiling emoji theme, to match the Happy Kankakee logo. Generally, upbeat pop gospel, country, folk, and oldies music is played in the background to give the meeting a “party” feel and to set a positive, child-friendly, faith-friendly atmosphere. Door prizes and raffles are usually offered.
Paperwork. There are several standard lists and forms that participants in the Happy Kankakee Party may engage with. Number one is the sign in sheet. We want to know who attended and how to keep in touch with them. Secondly, there are Volunteer Lists, which are ongoing lists of persons willing to volunteer for any particular project discussed in our meetings. These lists are shared with the project chairperson. Membership sign-up is an additional signup sheet that lets us know who to follow up with regarding joining our network. Last and not least is the Project Planning Worksheet. This is a basic worksheet that helps individual idea persons to develop and execute their ideas. Minutes and notes should be taken at every meeting for record keeping purposes. We have also begun video recording our parties.