Go to a park during the summer and look for the matching T-shirts. You're bound to run into a family reunion eventually. They're fun and serve a particularly traditional function as grownups renew acquaintances and kids meet new relatives. Everybody compares notes on births, graduations, weddings, jobs, trips and more. And there's food. Lots and lots of delicious food.
Summertime is ideal for family reunions outdoors, in a backyard or at a park, giving youngsters room to romp with newfound cousins.
There are many ways to have a family reunion. Some families gather at the same place each year, maybe at or near Great-Grandpa's farm.
Reunions may last just part of a day, centered on lunch. The meal can be potluck, catered, a cookout or a gathering in a restaurant's meeting room.
Others turn a reunion into a weekend adventure, with a different destination each year. Some families go camping together.
If the numbers attending your reunion have dwindled, maybe it's time to revitalize. Reach out to the siblings and cousins you grew up with if they haven't been attending. Organize a reunion that will be fun for them and their families.
Here are some organizing tips:
- Compile a good address list. At the reunion, have a signup sheet for addresses of those who are attending. Ask for e-mail addresses as well as snail mail. Have people add names and addresses of relatives who aren't present.
- Have someone send "save the date" notices out well in advance.
- Take up a collection for postage, plates and cups, soft drinks, site rental and other expenses. Organize volunteers for setup, cleanup and other chores.
- Offer prizes for the oldest and youngest family members, those who traveled farthest and other accomplishments.
- Take pictures!
- Enlist a volunteer to set up a family website. Add genealogical information, family health information and biographies. Encourage members to send updates.