When was the last time you talked to your favorite second cousin? Could you identify a third cousin in a grocery store? If not, it may be time to organize a family reunion. Family reunions are wonderful for preserving memories, establishing standards and proving that Aunt Fannie really knows how to have fun. Your family can experience a tremendous time if you successfully plan an exciting reunion. It doesn’t matter if you go to a favorite local spot or if the meeting location is in a new city every year; it is the time spent together that really matters. Are you a member of the planning committee? If so, make sure you give enough time for mailings, responses and t-shirt orders. If not, be sure to respond to their requests in a timely manner. Consider using the following tips to make things a little more exciting for your next family reunion:
Include all age groups in the planning stages. Something wonderful happens when everyone is represented in the planning of an event. A powerful synergy develops when a mature person works with young adults, teenagers and even 6 year olds. Imagine the ownership each age group will have when they are part of the process. Critical training will occur for future planning committees by including the younger generations.
Location, Location, Location. It does not matter if you are planning a single day or a multiple day event, where you hold your reunion events are critical. The summer months offer the opportunity to hold outdoor events. Yet, it may be equally important to move the party indoors for an evening dinner. Encore Event Design is a great location for a dinner that ends with dancing. We have the capacity to feature a live band while your family members enjoy Aunt Cheryl’s Stuffed Shells. If you holding an outdoor event, consider using our design services to add ambience to the event area.
Teach Something, Learn Something. Why not use this opportunity to teach and learn something new. The best part of a family reunion is catching up with family members that you have not seen in a long time. However, there is a wealth of knowledge that exists in the family tree that could be beneficial after the reunion. Set up a Day of Learning. Open up time slots for family members who could demonstrate or hold a 30 minute to 1 hour class. A Day of Learning may look like:
8:00 am – Work Out with Darwin, Sunrise Stretch at Clearwater Beach
9:00 am – War Room Prayer, Grandma Celeste, Banfield Pavilion
9:45 am – Cooking with Pamela, Learn how to make a delicious Seafood Omelet,
10:30 am – Family History, Uncle Bob provides an in-depth historical summary of our family lineage, Under the Large Oak Tree
12:00 noon – Learn how to do the Backyard Party Line Dance with Saundra and the Teenage Crew, Forest Field
1:30 pm – Learn how to use Electronic Devices with the First Grade Advisory Council, Banfield Pavilion
3:00 pm – Crochet techniques from Aunt Elizabeth on the Roth Porch
4:00 pm – Discussion Forum: Staying aware of political events led by Councilman Michael Jenkins aka Lil Mikey, Banfield Pavilion
6:00 pm – Seeking Job Opportunities Discussion with Tonya and David, Banfield Pavilion
7:00 pm – Feedback Discussion in the Pavilion
Keep Family Traditions Alive. Use your family reunion time to pass down sacred family traditions. Identify what makes the time special and make sure both young and old understand it is an essential part of the family reunion. Perhaps the tradition includes playing Spades every year; Aunt Mary’s Butter Pound Cake; Uncle Bobby’s Trash Talking Basketball Game or Darlene singing Amazing Grace at the Sunday church service. Whatever makes the event special, be sure you train others on how to carry it on for future generations.
Capture memories. With all the different social media sites available, why not set up a site where everyone can contribute the pictures they take during the event? It is quite easy to set up a Dropbox or a family profile on Ancestory.com. You can even create a family reunion hashtag for everyone to add to their photos on social media. By doing so, you can expand the memories for the entire family.
Create a Family Cookbook. Is your Aunt Martha’s Crab Salad your favorite? Is Tony’s fried chicken better than Kentucky Fried Chicken? If so, start a family recipe book. Don’t be surprised if family members aren’t quick to give up their secret sauce recipe. That famous dish helps them to hold one to a special spot within the family. However, make them promise that the secret will be given to at least one person so that their memory and tradition can live on for future generations.
Dedicate an Angel Tree. Purchase a young tree for the very purpose of planting at the end of the event. During the event, have members post pictures of deceased loved ones (using string or a non-damaging adhesive). Advise family members to make copies of the original pictures to avoid losing any valuable pictures.
Conduct a Voter Registration. Harass, yes harass, those family members who are not registered to vote. Give them an application and help them fill it out. They may miss this election but they will have no excuse to miss the next. Make sure they attend the discussion forum held by Councilman Mikey.
Set up the Next Generation. Use the family reunion to set a GoFundMe account for academic scholarships for the school age children. Set up a yearlong contest and announce the terms of the contest at the family reunion. Encourage all family members to contribute to the account. Have a special time to acknowledge the year’s graduates. Recommend that the college bound students wear their college t-shirts to represent their new school.
Host a Just for Fun Talent Show. Does Johnny know how to play a saxophone? Is Charlene a great ballerina? Show off the family talent with a Just for Fun Talent Show. Give everyone a chance to shine and receive adoration from people who truly love them.
It doesn’t matter if you have a family reunion of twenty or a group of 1,000, there is a t-shirt waiting to have your family name on it. Once you decide on a date, let Encore Event Design help you to plan a spectacular event that will generate lasting memories!