Getting Together With Family

The key to having a great family reunion lies in the planning

addition, “you’ll have people who aren’t going to do what they say they’re going to do. As the person hosting the reunion, you will have to carry that weight,” Bah adds.

Designate one person to be the initial contact and coordinator. Experts suggest that you first survey family members on such issues as money, location, dates, facilities and activities. “Get some written communication going and a mailing list together,” says Vargus. “You may not have the addresses or phone numbers of all the cousins, but you probably have your aunt’s.” Whatever your family’s budget or size, give yourself and family members about six to eight months to plan an afternoon picnic and at least 12-18 months for a two-day event.

The services of a good travel agent can also be a big help. Depending on the number of travelers, an agent can negotiate group rates on airfares and hotel accommodations, and coordinate everything from ground transportation to the reunion site to cultural tours around the city. Go to the agency with a per-person budget in mind, the kind of accommodations your family wants and any special requests for sightseeing tours, catering or car rentals. If family members are coming from different parts of the country, use an agency with a toll-free telephone number, and give the agent’s name or an access number to each family member.
Above all, get others involved–remember, it’s a family affair!

The following sources can help get you started:
The Family Reunion Institute, School of Social Administration, Temple University, Ritter Hall Annex, Philadelphia, PA 19122; 215- 204-6244.
Reunions Magazine, P.O Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; 414-263- 4567. Published quarterly, a subscription is $24 per year, but you can get a sample issue for $2. They also have the Family Reunions workbook ($10), which is free with a subscription and is available at newsstands or by mail order.

Hearthstone Bookshop (5735 A Telegraph Rd., Alexandria, VA 22303; 703-960-0086, order desk, 888-960-3300; specializes in genealogical books.

How to Plan a Spectacular Family Reunion by Geneva Turner (Family Projects Publishers, 3009 Hamilton Rd., P.O. Box 6427, Columbus, GA 31907; 706-687-4296; $12.95.

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