How to Plan and Organize a Family Reunion
Family reunions are a source of joy, especially when you come from a huge clan like I do. Although we have small gatherings every now and then, the Chua Clan decided to organize our very first "large" reunion in June 2007. Attended by around 160 persons, the affair was a success; it paved the way for better relations, as we came to know relatives we didn't see often or hadn't actually met yet.
Assign or Form Working Committees
We were fortunate to have many people willing to provide input and be part of a committee. Good planning was the foundation for the success of the affair. Whether you have a small or large group, planning is the first step to having an organized event.
Planning and Steering Committee: Oversaw the entire proceedings. Made sure all souvenir items were ordered and delivered on time. Coordinated with the resort (the venue) on the accommodations and all logistical arrangements.
Program Committee: Planned the activities and games. Coordinated with the performers (for our talent show) and assigned emcees/game masters.
Communications Committee: Made sure everyone was informed of the latest developments of the planning.
Finance Committee: Coordinated with the steering committee to know the expenses and funds to be collected.
Registration Committee: Took care of the IDs, checking in, and collecting information for the Chua Clan directory.
Memories Committee: Conducted the logo-slogan contest, created the family tree; collected photos and saved them on DVDs.
Transportation Committee: Made sure relatives were properly transported to and from each venue.
Before the actual reunion date, we had several pre-reunion activities. I hope these ideas may trigger your creative juices to come up with activities that suit your group's idea of fun.
A. Weight Loss Contest: Since contestants were scattered across the globe, we had to ask everyone to be honest in reporting their weights. Achieving a certain percentage (as agreed) from the person's original weight would be the basis for the winner. Prices were donated from various relatives. Those who didn't win also had to contribute a certain amount to pay the winner.
B. Logo-Slogan Contest: We appointed a person to be the coordinator of this contest. He chose the judges and made them anonymous until the revelation of the winner. The logo and slogan that was chosen was printed on our souvenir shirts, keychains and bags.
C. Trips and Outings: We organized a few trips around town (city tour, island hopping), sports activities like bowling, and eating in native restaurants for the out-of-town guests.
Program of Activities
As the one in charge of the Program Committee, I had to come up with a detailed schedule of activities ahead of time. On the day itself, we posted and distributed the schedule to everyone.
Activities were grouped into:
A. General Assembly: During the General Assembly, we were able to do the following:
- Introducing our ancestors and each family
- Awarding of the winners of the contests
- Talent show
- Acknowledging the sponsors and committees
B. Break Out Sessions: Small groupings for sharing and getting-to-know-you activities. We also had optional morning exercises by the beachfront.
C. Fellowship: Meals and snacks were a time to mingle and chat with each other.
D. Free Time: We also had time where the people could swim, play, or simply laze around.
Other Important Things
A. Reunion Rules: The committee came up with certain rules for everyone to follow. The rules included:
- Be time-conscious
- Don't leave small children and minors unattended
- Be safe
- No wandering from the group without permission
- Report illness promptly
- Smile and enjoy the activities
- Nobody is allowed to leave the venue for the three day, two night reunion schedule
B. Filling up of information/data sheets: All participants were asked to fill out the forms (vital information included contact numbers, birthdays, and addresses).
C. Medical Team: We rounded up the dentists and doctors in the family and made sure everybody knew them. They prepared first aid kits as well as medicines for emergency use.
D. Sgt. At Arms and Group Coordinators: We also assigned several people to make sure the rules were being followed. Group coordinators made sure their team members were all present for each activity. They also reminded their team of the schedule.
E. Memories Committee: Photographs or video coverage, souvenir items, collection of photos stored on DVDs, or quarterly newsletter to keep each other updated.
The success depended on several factors... from the planning to taking action, to the cooperation and participation of everyone else. What was truly important was the love and friendship that we shared. A well-organized reunion may be empty without the love that brightened it and made it meaningful.
- Games and activities for your family reunion
A family reunion wouldn't be the same without the games and activities to liven it up. Check out this article for ideas.