Since we are getting ready to plan another family reunion, I thought I would post this article from our newsletter. Hopefully it will be useful to you too.
5 Ways to Have a Great Family Reunion
There is nothing like a great family reunion to catch everyone up and get re-connected. If you are in charge of the reunion this year, or helping, or in charge next year, here are 5 great ideas on how to make it a great one.
Get Organized. Put together a notebook with all contact information or try a software such as Family Reunion Organzier. Enlist help and put together committies so everyone only gets a small part of the load. Talk to your close family first to start compiling an invitation list and then branch out from there. Take a look at resources on the web such as http://www.family-reunion.com/ for great ideas and helps.
Keep people busy. Icebreaker games such as family trivia, sack races, musical chairs, and boardgames can get the fun started. Storytelling, craft tables or scrabooking family history, skits, timecapsules are great activities. For little kids make sure there is a kiddy pool, coloring books and colored chalk available. Doing a service project is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationships and do something good in the world.
Finance the fun. Make sure you don't go over budget. Some easy ways to raise money for a reunion include asking for donations, charging admission, or holding an raffle or auction. Auctions can include white elephant gifts, surprise bags, homemade crafts, baked goods from family recipies, or family history items such as decorative charts or giclees of family photos from Generation Maps. Make sure you include every thing in the budget, large and small so that the small ones don't add up and surprise you.
Create a Family Tree or Map. Show everyone how they are related with a large printed family tree. We are doing lots of these already this year. Make sure to leave lots of space for adding information because even the most reluctant relative will want their information complete. Create a map of where everyone lives by hanging a basic map and making some available push pins or markers. Or create a professional map of your ancestors lived, or the descendants whereabouts with a program like Family Atlas (which you can also send to Generation Maps for large scale printing). And don't forget a good group photo.
Wrap things up. Be sure to get everyone's updated contact information and pass it on to next year's organizer. Send out thank you notes to every one who helped to make sure everyone is willing to help in the future. Certificates or Awards can be passed out to recognize the year's achievements and thank the reunion organizers. You might use an evaluation form to see what you can do better next year.