Family reunions are an important aspect of American life, according to a survey by the Better Homes and Gardens Family Network, an organization dedicated to strengthening families.
More than 70% of those responding to the poll said they had attended at least one reunion in the past, and one-third of the respondents have already or plan to have reunions regularly.
Among the reasons given for enjoying reunions are being with family members, re-establishing ties, meeting relatives, learning more about family heritage and seeing photographs of ancestors.
Summer was cited as the most popular season for reunions, with nearly 35% being outdoors in a park or garden and more than 27% in a residence. Others were at banquet halls, restaurants, country clubs or hotels.
Good planning is essential to a successful family reunion, the network says, with activities that encourage people to mingle. The key is to arrange activities for all ages and to encourage participation yet not make anyone feel either obligated or neglected.
The network offers these tips for planning a reunion:
Ask relatives their preferences for reunion time, place, date; a democratic system will encourage attendance.
Keep a master list of family members. A loose-leaf notebook offers the flexibility to add or delete names and addresses.
Form committees to handle specific tasks such as food coordination, entertainment and finances.
Select a representative from each branch of the family tree to serve as liaison between reunion organizers and individual relatives.
Keep records of all your arrangement--including names, addresses, food quantities, etc.--so that whoever must plan the next reunion will have a head start.
Consider size, acoustics, kitchen facilities and restrooms in selecting a public place, and always confirm a week before the event.
If lodging reservations will be needed, look into group rates through YMCAs, camp sites, hotels and, during summer term, colleges.