Family reunions are on the rise, even though demanding jobs and full family schedules make them tough to coordinate. As a result, reunion planners are trying new strategies, including some you may recognize from on-the-job planning experiences. Want to gather your clan? Here’s how:
1. Set the reunion date at least 18 months in advance, or stick to the same date every year. That shuts out some participants, since school and athletic calendars aren’t published that early. But advance planning makes it easier for others to come.
2. Choose a destination that allows nuclear families to split off and spend some vacation time on their own, so the reunion serves a dual purpose. And make sure the location offers entertainment for children.
“The worst thing that can happen at any reunion is that your kids come up to you and say, ‘I’m bored, let’s go home,’” says Edith Wagner, editor of Reunions magazine.
Bonus: Nuclear families can take advantage of the same large-group discounts offered to the reunion group, making the family vacation more affordable.
3. Offer flexible arrival and departure times by extending the reunion beyond one day. Christopher Kopkowski, of Marietta, GA, says three generations of his family gather from five states for annual “Survivor” contests, including water-balloon or egg-throwing challenges. The event has gone from being one weekend to one week, during which people come and go as they please.
4. Elevate the reunion to “high-priority” by honoring a particular family member. “If your grandma is being honored, you can’t stay away,” says Wagner.
5. Involve relatives in the planning to help create a sense of ownership. For example, call on the family “web expert” to create a lively family site.
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