Happy hour for the whole family

‘Joy Hour’ at the Harborena looks to build community fun and connection

For many Harborites, the Harborena in Hoquiam is mostly used by kids, teens, and even adults who wish to roller skate. However, it could soon be known as a place for individuals and families who need assistance building community connections and spreading joy.

On Tuesday, March 28, the Harborena, in coordination with Greater Grays Harbor Inc., held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the second gathering of Joy Hour. While the event is new to the Harbor, it’s not new in Washington. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by more than 50 people and featured an appearance by the founder of Joy Hour, Tom Lyman.

Up until the last 18 months, Lyman, in his own words, described the outside perception of his life as being perfect. He’s married to his wife for 20 years, father to three children, and is the owner/CEO of a successful construction business in Auburn. However, behind closed doors, that perception wasn’t the reality.

“For years I struggled with alcohol, which turned to cocaine and other things. A year and a half ago my wife looked at me and said, ‘I love you, but I just can’t do this,’” Lyman said.

It was then that Lyman said he made the best decision of his life and went to rehab for his substance addictions. Three months into sobriety, Lyman explained how one night lying in his bed he realized that what he enjoyed the most about happy hours and parties wasn’t the alcohol; it was the socialization with his peers.

“So, I brought a pool table from my house as well as a ping pong table to my construction office and told my friends and family that one thing I want to do is have some fun for a couple of hours in the middle of the week with anyone who can come,” Lyman said.

After several successful outings which saw more than a hundred people, Lyman coined his weekly social gatherings as Joy Hour and eventually turned it into a nonprofit organization called The Considerate Group. The goal of the organization is to mentor youth for success in life by connecting them to resources, activities, and mentors that will prevent and fight addictions and disenfranchisement.

Lyman then reached out to Samuel Nazario and Landon Shaw, the owners of the Harborena and friends of 30 years, about hosting Joy Hour in Hoquiam to which they agreed. According to Lyman, Joy Hour now exists in Washington, New York, and West Virginia. He said that he has plans to start in Texas and Hawaii as well.

“Joy Hour is an event for everyone. It’s not a place for people to network or spread their beliefs or politics. It’s just a place for people to come and help them find joy, purpose and passion,” said Lyman. “We hope to expand our programs to include opportunities for adults to connect and find training and tools to help them break free from addiction and discover their passion and purpose as well.”

Making Joy Hour an event for everyone couldn’t have been more visible during the Wednesday gathering in Hoquiam as kids played chess and ping pong with adults while sharing food and drinks. Younger-aged children could be seen running around together and entertaining themselves on an inflatable bouncy house.

“With how isolated some families were during the pandemic, events like these are what kids need and it helps learn who is in your community,” said Jen Mayer, a local mother who attended with two kids.

For people who are interested in attending Joy Hour, it is held every second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Harborena, in Hoquiam.

Contact Reporter Allen Leister at 360-463-3572 or allen.leister@thedailyworld.com