"Every child deserves to be fully included in life. We're working to make full inclusion a reality."
"My wish, for you,
is that this life becomes
all that you want it to.
Your dreams stay big.
Your worries stay small.
You never need to carry more
than you can hold.
And while you're out there getting
where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you,
and wants the same things too.
Yes this, is my wish."
grateful to you
I'd have lived my whole life through...
Lost forever If I never knew you."
"You are never far from a hug on The Clayboard."
"Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly!"
The Bakery is a fantasy, but our caring is very real!!!!
I know it's sort of taboo to discuss such things on this site, but I felt
it important to break one of our social customs today to make mention of
a special milestone.
First let me state that the OFC survives and based on you guys and your
loyalty. The dues you pay to be members here don't line anyone's pockets.
They simply go to fund the upkeep and maintenance of the site. Without
the membership dues that you pay, www.clayaiken.com would probably go
stagnant and not be around for NJU (I know your terms ) to check
out when they want to see what is up with me. You've seen websites for
people who haven't been updated since 2001! You guys are the reason that
hasn't happened to my site yet!.
Of course, we try to make it worth your while with tiny little
incentives, like video chats and meet and greet opportunities. We'll
continue to do that when we can, and hopefully be able to come up with
other special incentives in the future. But the support of you all is
what has kept this very valuable social media marketing tool alive for
me. So I thank you and I hope you'll continue to stay members, and
encourage others to join as well. (Think of it as a tiny "campaign
donation" to the Clay Aiken marketing arm)
Our strong need to maintain the basic income for this site so it can stay
alive is one of the reasons that we ask that you not share information
from here with the numerous other message boards. It's why I blog here
and ask that the blogs stay here and why i use this site to communicate
and no others. If folks didn't come here as members, there would be no
But... for today... for this moment... I am suspending that rule.... in
honor of another of another touchstone in this year of celebration.
When I began on Idol, I remember going downstairs to the business office
of the Le Meridian hotel in Los Angeles where they placed us during the
first several weeks of the TV show. There was but one computer in this
hotel and it was in a room just off the lobby.
(Amazing to think that ten years ago there was no high speed internet
access in the hotel rooms and, even if there had been, almost none of us
contestants had computers!! Wow how society has changed!) That single
computer in that room was always occupied by a contestant from the
show!!! Someone had discovered that, within the American Idol website
(what was then idolsonfox.com! ha ha) were message boards where some
savvy computer users had the opportunity to log on and discuss the Idol
contestant performances online! (Who knew of such an invention!!???)
Every night several of us could be found in the business office poring
over the message boards to try to gauge how well or how poorly we had
done and whether or not we thought we would be kicked off (one contestant
did it WAY more than the others, and I am willing to bet you would not be
able to guess who!).
These message boards (Bolt Boards, if I recall) were a phenomenon for
Idol fandom, a focus group for us contestants, and would become an
initial breeding ground for an INCREDIBLE group of fans for me!!
But apparently, not long after the season began, one enterprising group
decided that they wanted to set up a message board dedicated entirely to
one contestant. When I first learned about The Clayboard, I must admit I
was shocked and humbled! I was apprehensive about going on to it from
that tiny computer in the Idol house because I was worried about what
folks might be saying on there and I didn't want to be psyched out during
the competition. But I found myself pointing my browser to
www.claytonaiken.com (Idol had already bought clayaiken.com) several
times during my run on Idol. Every time it brought me encouragement and
made me feel better about myself. The ladies who began that message board
probably never knew that I was peeking in from time to time. But they,
and the many who have joined them there for the past ten years, instilled
a lot of confidence in me during my run on Idol and for many years
afterwards. And for that I am thankful.
MANY MANY message boards have sprung up (and some have shuttered) in the
past ten years. I've snooped around on a few... though I tend to keep my
eyes on this one now.... and they all have become really strong
communities of friends. Friendships have been built across thousands of
miles because if these internet havens. Each separate message board
community is special and valuable (Though, let me repeat... please come
to this one!! ) and I am eternally grateful to all of them.
But The Clayboard was the first to set out on their own to support me...
and ten years later they are still there... 9though i wish they would
join here!! )
Happy 10th Birthday Clayboard!