Let’s face it family reunions do not happen very often. So when you do decide to put one together how do you ensure that it is worth your time and effort to plan and organize it and worth your family member’s efforts to set aside the time and make the trip to attend?
Here are 5 elements I believe contribute to a successful family reunion.
Memorable – As I stated above, for most families, reunions don’t happen very often so it is important that you make this an unforgettable occasion. You want your family members to return home with lasting memories. There are all kinds of ways to ensure this happens. Here are some thoughts to spark your imagination.
- Create a theme
- Hold the reunion in a special location. ( I will give a suggestion for a perfect one below)
- Share special stories of ancestors. You could invite family members to read them or even put on a skit
- Display family artifacts and photos
- Present a Powerpoint presentation or movie of old family photos, slides or films
inclusive – Last summer I attended a family reunion that was held for descendants of my great grandfather. Although, all of these people were my family they were complete strangers to me.
While some family members do live in close proximity to one another, in most
cases today families are spread far apart. And chances are there will be some in
attendance who don’t know anyone. It is important to try to ensure that all feel like they are part of the event. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few ideas:
Invite families and individuals to share a talent
Ask them to share stories and memories
include them in the planning and preparations
Gather recipes for a family cookbook
Send out a survey to learn their interests and get their ideas and input.
convenient – Most likely many of your family members will be traveling to the reunion. So it is a good idea to choose a location for your event that is fairly easy to find and get to and is not too much of a drive from the local airport. For family reunions being held in Utah I will share a great location below.
fun – People may not want to come if they do not feel it is worth their time so be sure to plan a variety of fun activities so there will be something for all interests. Again there are myriad things you can do. Every family is different but here are some suggestions:
You could organize a service project.
Go on a family hike
Have fun games set up : Volley ball, badminton, croquet, baseball, and horseshoes,board games, icebreakers or mixers
Hold a talent show
uniting – A family reunion is an opportunity for relatives to meet and get to know one another. This event can help family members form lasting bonds.
You could have T-shirts made for everyone to wear
Make a keepsake for each family to take home
gather e-mails so you can put together a family email list
As promised! Brighton, Utah is the perfect location for a family reunion held in Utah. Conveniently located just 35 minutes southeast of downtown Salt Lake City at the top of breathtaking Big Cottonwood Canyon. Brighton is a serene, peaceful setting with a myriad of fun activities to do year round!
Start your day with a hike around Silver Lake. With it’s board walk this trail is easily accessible to young and old alike. It is even wheelchair accessible. It takes about half an hour to hike around the lake. There are picnic tables and benches along the trail.
Everyone should carry one liter of water. Water is plentiful in this area, but all water taken from lakes and streams should be filtered before drinking. Insect repellent is a good idea as mosquitoes can be bothersome during certain times of the year. A mosquito repellent that contains DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is highly recommended.
Big Cottonwood Canyon is within Salt Lake City Watershed, therefore special restrictions apply and are strictly enforced. No domestic animals (dogs, cats, horses) are permitted in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Need accommodations? Check out http://brightonchalets.com The Chalets are just up the street from Silver Lake and would be a great place to end your day with some of the suggestions above. The Manor with it’s 1,500 sq ft grand room and a dining table that sits 28 people is perfect for a large family gathering such as a family reunion.