Need ideas for this summertime — well it is a great opportunity to arrange a family reunion. It doesn’t have to super large, it could even be a certain family branch. Whichever family members are invited is up to the host. The most important item is to do certain activities while you or the host has everyone gathered in one spot.
First, some type of guest book is necessary, especially if it is a one-day event and a large crowd. Not just for people’s full names (include maiden names), also where they live, their birth date and who their parents were. You need someone to oversee the guest book to ensure everyone signs it. Have a table and chairs there with the book or books and pens available.
Next, in a large area have a collection of unidentified photos of people and places so people can place their own ideas of who and where. Have those photos ‘copies’ not the original, you wouldn’t want anyone to write on a photo, lose it or tear it. Allow for multiple answers then you have a basis to do additional research after the reunion.
Nearby you do want displayed known photos of family ancestors, labeled with names and birth-marriage-death dates. Also include any photos of family businesses or homes, all labeled. That will be a poplar location for people to gather and remember.
A neat idea is to have a family time capsule completed during the reunion. Let everyone known ahead of arrival to bring something of the present time that represents them or their immediate family. For example, say in the past year a person started their own business. They could bring business cards, advertisements, brochures or even samples of what they sell or make with their business. If some one just received a special award or an interesting newspaper article written about them, have a copy placed in the time capsule. The ideas are endless, brainstorm with others and present the suggested ideas to the family members with their reunion invitation. Agree to save the time capsule and have a special opening of it in 20 or 25 years.
Another idea to let all the family members be prepared for is for them and the host to locate as many of family members’ baby photos as possible. Include as many ancestors and present-day relatives as can be located. Make copies of the photos and display those at the reunion. Have paper by each photo which will allow people to guess who that baby is. You can also scan each baby photo, place on a computer slide show program and then project onto a screen or television set so everyone can view them at once and people can call out who is each baby. That can be a fun activity. It can be done also with very young photos of individuals, say under 18 years old.
Have a video camera set up with one or two people to man it and a quiet area where filming can take place. Throughout the reunion time – one or two days — encourage each person to go to the video room, give their name, vital dates and to tell interesting stories of their schooling, military life, wedding, occupation — whatever they would like. That will make a super record of the family history.
Create beforehand a basic family tree for each major branch of living relatives who would be attending the reunion. Write in names on the tree design. Then while each person is there at the reunion have an ink pad, with instructions for each to place their thumb on the pad and then place their thumb print by their name. A very unique family heirloom will have been created.
Let your imagination be your guide because you might only get one shot to learn even more about certain family members during the reunion.
8 Creative Ideas you will want to use at any family reunion or get-together.
Photos: Family Reunion, Reunion guest book, Photo display and collection of family members at a specific age.
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