Freshman Ellen Weitkamp paces the wood-paneled basement of her
Leawood home, which is scattered with bags of barbecue Lay’s and Swedish Fish. She is awaiting her guests for her birthday party. Weitkamp, like many other STA girls, threw a G.N.I, or girls’ night in, party for her sixteenth birthday.
“I wanted a party where I could be as crazy as I want without feeling self-conscious, so I decided on a girls’ night in party,” said Weitkamp.
“We can eat our feelings, and no one will care,” Weitkamp added, laughing.
Weitkamp, like many other STA girls, has many friends and was upset she couldn’t invite everyone to her party.
Freshman Rachel Scheffler likes the idea of a girls’ night in, and not worrying about looking good for boys.
“I think sometimes we get a little too obsessed with guys and hanging out with them, and we never really think about spending time with our girl friends, and a girls’ night in really gives us the chance to slow down and not worry about guys so much.” freshman Catherine Whitmer said.
The doorbell rings. Weitkamp bounces upstairs to get the door and greet her guest. As evening arrives, guests trickle in, greeted by bear hugs, squeals of joy and an occasional handful of Swedish Fish thrown at them.
But Weitkamp decided to add a twist on her idea of a “girls’ night in”: camping. Weitkamp had a low budget for her party because of her parents’ birthday present to her, attending a performing arts school in New York this summer, but still wanted it to be different from a normal sleepover party.
“I knew we were going to be messing around all night, and if we were outside, my parents wouldn’t be up all night because of us,” said Weitkamp.
To make her camping party a reality, Weitkamp set up a red tent in her backyard, and a fire pit to make s’mores in.
As Weitkamp ushers her guests outside to see the tent, there are whispers of “Whoa!” and “Awesome!” as the guests marvel at the tent. Weitkamp stands in front of the tent, proudly gesturing towards it. She leads her guests inside, showing the inside of the tent, which is currently filled with blankets, pillows and flashlights, and soon by the belongings and sleeping bags of her guests.
The tent becomes illuminated with the florescent glow of flashlights. The girls begin to talk topics from Peeta (from “The Hunger Games”) to points of tangency from geometry class and eventually end up in a giggling heap. A mysterious “Kenneth” prank calls one of the guests, who retorts with math jokes.
After eating an ice cream cake in the early hours of the morning, most of the girls dozed off in Weitkamp’s basement, except for a few who decided to watch Inception, a horror movie, on an iPad in the tent.
In the morning, there was stumbling by the sleep-deprived guests, followed by a breakfast of donuts, bagel, and juice. Eventually, the guests left, leaving Weitkamp with new presents, a basement scattered with candy wrappers and a tent in her backyard.
“My party wasn’t like one of those crazy sweet sixteen parties, but for me, it was perfect.”