At the risk of being repetitious, and / or for the sake of 'newbies', I should
like to share my own experience with family reunions.
First of all, instead of a hotel suite or ballroom whose cost is very often
prohibitive for many who would like to attend, we have a picnic in a park.
This involves a good deal of cooperation >from the local relatives. (Dress code
1. 'Someone' needs to be responsible for reserving a particular park space
with picnic benches and cooking facilities, reasonably close to restrooms, at
least one full year in advance.
2. 'Someone' needs to keep an up-to-date list of everyone's current name &
The current info is crucial in case of deaths, divorces, marriages, etc., so
as not to offend anyone.
3. 'Someone' needs to prepare and mail colorful fliers to everyone that will
include the following information: (a) Time and place; (b) General map of
area & specific location of reserved spot; (c) What to bring if you live in
the general vicinity, or a dollar amount to pay if you can't bring any food;
(d) Cut-off date for RSVP's; (e) Cost of several nearby hotels, group rates,
at different price levels, for those who come >from other than a nearby
location; (f) Return address, both snail- and email to include # of attendees
& their full names.
4. 'Someone' needs to coordinate who brings what, and be in charge of ordering
enough food for all in attendance, usually about 2 weeks in advance of picnic.
5. 'Someone' needs to be in charge of roping off picnic area, blowing
balloons, making signs, etc. as an aid in locating the exact space that has
6. 'Someone' needs to be in charge of cleanup afterwards.
7. 'Someone' needs to prepare extra large descendant charts for all to examine
(the youngest always appreciate these the most; they gleefully find
themselves, then drag reluctant parents over to look. This is a good way to
get updates and corrections.
8. 'Someone' needs to prepare name tags. I buy as many different colors of
commercial name tags as there are family branches. I prepare a large color
key chart indicating which branch is assigned which color, both tags and
For example, if an individual is part of 3 branches, the tag will be the color
of the predominant one; additional names of branches will be in pre-assigned
colors; spouses can be accommodated this way also. Once they see the color
chart, it's very easy to find one's relationship to the others. At that
point, they can consult the appropriate descendant chart.
9. 'Someone' needs to provide lots of writing materials for exchange of
addresses, phone numbers, etc.
10. 'Someone' must find or assign 'volunteers' for all the above. Any fool
attempting to do it all will end up in the loony bin!
Please contact me privately if you have any questions. We've just done our
ninth annual picnic and are beginning to get the hang of it.
Susan Pearlman Northridge, California < email@example.com >
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