Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Family Reunion - Bringing The Family Home

A Family Reunion - Bringing The Family Home

Family. I love it when my family comes together, and show the younger folks what being a family is all about. It is very different putting one together for the maternal side and the paternal side of the family. They each have their own sense of what bringing a family together should be about.

Until 1997, I can not remember ever attending one for my mother's family; however, there was one for my father's family in either 1981 or 1982. There were so many people there that I did not know. Quite a few that I wish were not related. I have some beautiful relatives on my dad's side. Either by blood or marriage, they had it going on. We had a great time.

Since that time, whenever there were family together talking, I would think about that day and say, "We need to have a family reunion. As we get older we are slowing moving apart." Our children did not recognize anyone further than second cousin. Hell, first cousins had never met before, or it had been so long ago, no one remembered the other.

On my mother's side, I would bring up having a reunion with a female cousin name Martha, and a male cousin name Paul. That was as far as it went, no matter who else I spoke with. Until, my two cousins started talking more about having one, did anyone jump on the band wagon.

Any way due to difference of opinion, I could not help them to put one together.

With my Dad's extended family, people would start the process by gathering information like addresses, places we could have it at, possible caterers, activities, and designs for a t-shirt to wear. The problem they were having was that they lived so far a part from each other, and there was not enough time to actually work on one.

What I am going to do now is tell you from start to finish how we put our 2007 family reunion together. Many things can be handled differently, it just depend on the person or people putting it together.

First thing, right off the bat is to figure out who is willing to work with you, and actually have time that they can contribute. In the beginning, people are very excited, filled with enthusiasm, and not looking at it objectively. So, find people that can work with you from start to finish. Put a committee together.

Meetings. Get everyone together and figure out when and where you will conduct your first meeting. Will it be at my house or yours? Figure out how long it will be. Everyone will need to be present the full time whenever a meeting is held. Decide what the minimum subjects you will discuss. More can be added later.

No one wants to be in charge, so let's elect a chairperson. . . a vice-chairperson . . . secretary. We are going to elect people for the same positions in the sub-committees. What sub-committees? Let's see, we will need one for the picnic, one for the activities, one for finances, and one for the banquet, if you are having one. I forgot a very important item . . . location . . . location . . . location. Where are we going to have it at?

Location. How do you pick a location? Following tradition, we wanted to bring the family home for the first one. Back to where the ancestors came from. In our case, we choose the area where 3 generations of our family had homesteaded from the late 1800's to present day. The Galla Rock, Arkansas area covering Dardanelle-Danville-Russellville, Arkansas. That was easy. Some families though like to start new traditions, but how can you look to the future without looking back to the past where you came from.

Finances. This is where the committees come together and say how much money they will need to complete their task. We need money for the picnic, and banquet, that's a no brainer. For the picnic we will need food and everything that goes with it. But how much are we going to need for the picnic activities? For the banquet we need to locate a caterer, a location, and entertainment. For this, we will need to know how many people might be coming, and what kind of entertainment. A band, dee jay, etc . . .

One of the best things that may be fun is having fund raisers. This could benefit everyone by paying for the entertainment, t-shirts, and most importantly, assist those that are having a rough time economically. It had been suggested that we, if we have enough funds, set up a scholarship that a committee would handle the selection process. This would be great.

Can you think of something I have not spoken about and is very important to have a function? People. Where the hell are they? The best I could do was start asking family members to give every address, phone number, and even e-mail address if they have it. From this I created a database making a family directory. Once I reached fifty (50) family addresses, I sent out a letter notifying everyone of the impending reunion; I asked them for current addresses; and asked them to RSVP if they were interested in having one. Wait until a set time for the RSVPs and addresses to come back.

At this point a reunion packet was getting put together to be mailed out. It contained the reunion invitation, a request for payment (number of people coming along with t-shirt sizes), a schedule of festivities, and a list of the local motels. Depending on the number of RSVPs, set up blocks of rooms at the local motels.

I set up a bank account to put all money collected in. A checking account at that, with 2 or 3 persons on the signature card, so that in the event something happen to the primary someone else would be able to take over the finances.

We collected well over seven thousand dollars ($7000.00). Even though there was some miscalculations, there was enough. This mostly covers the planning areas of consideration.

This is the prepping, in the next, I will describe the actual events. The Last Partner likes this.
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