I’m from a very small town. As many of you know , I now live in Charlotte, NC. When I turned 17 I knew Hemingway was not the place I wanted to raise children. It seemed like everyone was related. I didn’t know how, but somehow all conversation ended with, That’s My cousin.or I think we are related.“
Well fast forward 2 decades later, I open up facebook and notice that the entire town of Hemingway has been evacuated, and will be in Charlotte for three days. I mean it. Almost EVERYONE from Hemingway-Stuckey was gone! They called it a family reunion though.
(I’m convinced the town was built around those 3 families.)
While i’m making fun of the possible cross breading and inter connections, I do see the beauty in it. Especially when it comes to legacy building. Right now, families are planning reunions all over the U.S.
What better time to gather up the blood lines and identify, build,organize, strategize, unite and inspire each other? Sure, it can be done AND the fun comes as icing on the cake!
I was thinking about hosting one of my branches family in the upcoming years. If I do, it would look something like this. See below:
- Elect planning team based on strength, time and Resources. Then make sure to support that person/persons with a gift basket, connections, extra hand as needed.
- Do fun fundraisers.
- Sponsor one couple of Elders for the weekend.They should be open to lead a roundtable the family history and milestones.
- Define and Explain the Family tree by generation and lineage – via presentation, charts, exhibits, etc. Go a step further and invite them to voice record a memory or message down on as a keepsake.
- Design a Meet & Greet JUST for the youth. Give them an opportunity to build their own relationships with out of town relatives their age.
- Create and disburse a Family Business Directory. Make sure the list includes the city and State.
- Make sure that uncle and aunt that loves to dance is there and make sure they are all taken care of (fundraising funds)
- Host should find local businesses with a good reputation and support them as much as possible. They can cater food, give tours*, entertain, do hair, makeup, etc.
Let’s rethink the yearly family reunion for a time not just to Eat, Drink and Be Merry’, as Uncle Jay get it on and popping on the dance floor,but also a time to come together and get better to do better.. What do you think?
(More Fantatic Ideas)
Family History Research
A family reunion is a good time to get the old family history updated. Ask family members to bring what information they have, so that it can be shared with each other. Create a large wall chart of the family and hang it on a wall. Ask the family to write on this chart with any information that might be missing, including missing people, as well as missing dates and places for each person. That way, everyone walks away a little bit more knowledgeable.
This is an activity which also needs to be announced prior to the reunion. Ask each family to contribute something which represents themselves or their family to be placed in a time capsule. Choose a date when the capsule should be opened and store it someplace with the instructions as to when it can be cracked open (ten, twenty, fifty years). Mister Spiffy wants to point out that even though it would be fun to open a 50 year old time capsule, those who add to the capsule often aren’t around 50 years later.
Family Reunion Quilt
When you mail out your invitations, include a request for each family to bring a quilt block that depicts something about their family, and shows their names and the date. Outline the measurements that the square needs to conform to, but don’t be too prohibitive. Encourage everyone to use their imagination and be creative (Mister Spiffy is always creative). Turn over the block to the volunteer quilting people for the assembling. The finished quilt can be given to a special person in your family (like dear old Grandma Gertrude), displayed at future reunions, or raffled off to earn money for the next reunion.
Since people may forget their square, a nice variation is to have a pile of pre-cut cloth squares at the reunion, and have each family member decorate one at the reunion with their name and a picture using puff paint. Then have someone connect them with strips of fabric (this can be done after the reunion). Finish the quilt with a back and batting and use ribbon to tie the quilt.
Family Reunion Video
Creating a video of your family reunion can preserve memories that last a lifetime (unless TVs go obsolete sometime soon). There are many options, from recording family members in activities (everyone loves watching dad fall into the mud in slow motion) to interviewing family members and hearing stories all about their past. If you plan to do a video interview, make sure the family member is comfortable with that. Ask questions that trigger memories, and let the family member do most of the talking (reminiscing). If a question appears to cause anguish or distress to the family member, just change the subject to something else. This is supposed to be a fun activity. Here are a few video tips.
A fun way to help the reunion guests see where they live in relation to everyone else is to create a family residence map. Honest, Mister Spiffy claims it’s more fun than it sounds. Simply buy a large map of the United States (or whatever countries you and your family reside in). Make sure the map is
What Am I Bid??
We have an auction and everyone brings something to be auctioned off. The money goes to the next years reunion. Bring things for children to seniors. Everyone has fun and we have enough money to buy the meat and drinks for next year. We also have games for every age group. Maybe cards for the grownups, to a cake walk for the kids.
“Birthday game.” Have all the people born in January get together in one group; do the same for each of the other months. Then have the members of the January group give their birthdates, such as January 21, January 9, etc. Out of 100 people you will have lots of people with the same birthday.
If the group is diverse enough, find out where everyone was born (by state). How many states are represented? What’s the most populous state? (This one is usually not difficult.)