Family Reunions - Celebrating Your Roots! Tips for Planning Your Reunion
by Carole E. Neal, June 20, 1998
  

Tips for Planning Your Reunion
Resource and Reference Information
Post Notice of Reunion
Help for Your Family Reunion
Looking for relatives?

 

The most important thing parents can give their children are Roots and Wings!

Make decision to have a Reunion
  • WHEN will it be held?
  • WHERE will it be held?
  • HOW long will It be?
  • WHO will be invited?
  • COMPILE mailing list (database of family members)
  • SEND "Save The Date" Notice
Establish Committees
  • Involve members from each branch of the family; get input from, and involve, the young family members.
  • Set a timeline for completing tasks or assignments
  • Committees meet as needed
  • Establish back-up or contingency plans
  • Host Family, Coordinator
  • Financial - Select the Treasurer
  • Program [Theme, Reunion Colors, Schedule of Activities, Banquet Program/Speakers/Script, Picnic, Church Service, Tours, other activities based on your familyís interests and for all age groups]
  • Lodging/Hospitality
  • Registration [name badges, goodie bags]
  • Decorations, Flowers
  • Food - Meals, Refreshments [Catered? Pot Luck?]
  • T-shirts, Other Keepsakes
  • Reunion Booklet, Family Directory
  • Family History - Information & Exhibits/Displays
  • Other (Video, Photography, Banner, Prizes)
  • Clean-up
Communication
  • First, an immediate mailing should be the "Save the Date" notice. Thereafter, send out information updates periodically
  • Include due dates for response, as well as a return mailing address
  • Include tidbits of information about family ancestors
  • Give clear instructions on how to order reunion items
  • When making arrangements with service providers, confirm everything in writing. Be specific!
Finances
  • Set a budget and registration fee schedule
  • Include copy of budget in an early mailing
  • Request bank to open a free, temporary checking account in the name of your reunion
  • Keep reunion funds separate from personal funds
  • Can also consider a permanent account if you decide to establish a family association
Schedule of Activities
  • Contact the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as the local Chambers of Commerce for information regarding sightseeing tours and other activities, printed information, and hopefully, promotional giveaways.
  • The first activity sets the tone for the reunion. Make it festive. Have get acquainted games. Assign committee members to act as greeters
  • Allow for "free" time, especially for a first reunion. This allows folks to just talk and get acquainted or reacquainted and allows for informal sharing of family stories. In other words, donít have something scheduled for every minute of every day.
  • At appropriate point, re-emphasize the times for various activities
  • Provide written directions to activity locations
  • Tap into family talent pool
Lodging
  • Contact local hotels and request a block of rooms be held in the name of the reunion
  • Negotiate group rate
Goodie Bags
  • Request promotional giveaways and printed information from local Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chambers of Commerce, or local businesses
  • Download information from internet
T-shirts
  • Design - reflect reunionís theme and colors
  • Prepaid? Pre-delivered, or pick up at reunion?
  • Possible fundraising activity
Reunion Booklet
  • Cover designs
  • Welcome
  • Outline of activities
  • Banquet program
  • Welcome letter from local officials
  • "In Memoriam" section
  • Family history
  • Family directory
  • Family business cards (support our own)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Family photos
  • Other
Photography
  • Formal photos: family elders, group photo, other
Video
  • Recommend professional videographer
  • Include on-camera testimonials from attendees
Speakers
  • Invite local officials - formal welcome
  • Banquet keynote speaker
Publicity
  • Pre-reunion press release, and/or
  • Post-reunion newspaper article
  • Internet postings
  • Family newsletter
  • Other
Name Badges
  • Color-coded by family branch
  • Have backup materials on-site
Record Keeping
  • Devise organized method for recording and maintaining registrations, keepsake orders, correspondence, confirmations, and other reunion Information
Family Business Meeting
  • Decide particulars for next reunion
  • Discuss/decide other family business
Ideas For Family Projects
  • Repair of ancestral grave sites; headstones
  • Establish family Youth Scholarship Fund
  • Create family Investment Club
  • Make a family Heirloom Quilt
Reunion Prizes
  • Person who traveled the farthest
  • Oldest attending
  • Youngest attending
  • First to register
  • Most grandchildren
Reunion Wrap-up
  • Pay all outstanding bills
  • Send final communication
  • Include final Financial Report

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Resource and Reference Information

Title:Family Reunions - More Than a Picnic - A Gathering of Generations
Author:lone Vargus, Ph.D.
Publisher:Pathfinders Travel Magazine, 1997 Summer/Fall Issue
(215) 927-9950

 

Title:Organizing A Family Reunion
Author:lone Vargus, Ph.D.
Publisher:Pathfinders Travel Magazine, 1997 Summer/Fall Issue
(215) 927-9950

 

Title:Family Reunion Handbook
Author:Barbara Brown and Tom Ninkovich
Publisher:Reunion Research, 3145 Geary Blvd., #14, San Francisco, CA 94118

 

Title:For Every Season - The Complete Guide to African-American Celebrations Traditional to Contemporary
Author:Barbara Eklof
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

 

Title:The Family Reunion Planner
Author:Donna Beasley
Publisher:Macmillan - A Simon & Schuster Macmillan Company, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019

 

Title:Reunions Magazine
Author:Quarterly Publication
Publisher:P.O. Box 11727
Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727
414.263.4567
E-mail: reunions@execpc.com
Web page: http://www.reunionsmag.com

 

The Family Reunion Institute
School of Social Administration
Temple University, Ritter Hall Annex
Philadelphia; PA 19122
(215) 204-6244
(215) 204-9606 FAX
Sponsor of the annual African American Family Reunion Conference - Philadelphia.

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Post Notice of Reunion

Post your upcoming Family Reunion on the following websites.

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Help for Your Family Reunion

The following are some Web sites that you may find helpful in planning your family reunion.

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Looking for relatives?

Here are some online directories that can help:

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