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10 9th edition

R Workbook  9th Edition PUBLISHER / EDITOR IN CHIEF


Jennifer Rueth SALES

Marion Liston Senior Account Manager and Premier Tourism Marketing OPERATIONS MANAGER



eunions Workbook will be your companion throughout your reunion planning process. These are the steps from start to reunion day for you to refer to over and over again. Reunions require much imagination, which comes from four sources: you and your reunion members, Reunions magazine, Reunions Workbook and our web site, In fact, this book includes direction to corresponding sections on the web site where you can learn much more about each subject. You will also find all the advertisers and resource listings on the web linked directly to their web sites for information. These constitute a great foundation for your reunion planning. If you are a long time, seasoned, veteran reunion organizer, this list can remind you of the details you must consider for each reunion. For this 9th edition and, in consideration of current economic conditions, we are adding a page (in addition to other references throughout the book) of freebies for your reunion. We encourage your questions and comments about this workbook as well as Reunions magazine and Contact us at or Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211; or participate in our forum at

Banks Hill Outlaw, Hanlon, Jones-Scott-Williams and Quinn, Malone, McNair-Brazil-Scott, Seidemann, Webb

TABLE OF CONTENTS First decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Reunion timetable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Choose a date . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Choose a location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Site inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Negotiate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Fundraising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Communication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Getting there . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Games . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Focus on kids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Themes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 More activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Preserving your reunion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Wrap up & evaluate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45


Patrick Robinson Edith Wagner R EUNIONS MAGAZINE, I NC. (ISSN #1046-5s235), publishes Reunions Workbook periodically. Send correspondence, queries, submissions, subscriptions, advertising to REUNIONS MAGAZINE, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. Written permission from the publisher is required for reproduction of any part of this book except pages which encourage sharing. Please explain your intended use when requesting permission to reprint. Email: or fax 414-263-6331. Tear sheets of reviews and reprints required. REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC., will not be liable for information presented as facts contained in any of our advertising, byline stories or materials. All materials sent for purposes of publication become property of REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC. Subscriptions: US and Canada $9.99/yr, $17.99/2 yrs. All other countries add $36/year. All foreign payment in US funds or drawn on a US bank. Back issues available for $3 each plus s/h. Payment must accompany requests for subscriptions, back issues or other items for sale. Advertising rate information available from REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 532110727; 414-263-4567; fax 414-263-6331; e-mail; Š 2009 REUNIONS MAGAZINE, INC.


Look for web links:


Throughout this book, we have added these symbols to direct you to even more information at These will signify information on pages and for podcasts. All of this at no cost to enhance your reunion planning experience. Tabs on the upper left corner on pages refers to the corresponding section on the web page where you will find copy.

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FIRST DECISIONS If you incorporate While most reunions operate effectively without incorporating, some incorporate as non-profit organizations. If you want to incorporate, recruit an accountant or lawyer from your group to help. Anyone can file to incorporate but it takes expertise to master IRS requirements and analyze restrictions involved. Apply for Tax Identification Number (TIN) – needed to open a bank account in your reunion association’s name. The TIN is your identification number for IRS or other required government reports.  Appoint a committee to draft bylaws.  Develop a written statement of purpose and goals that generate enthusiasm.  Plan election of officers. Some reunions elect the entire slate annually, others biennially. To ensure board continuity, elect half the officers each year for two-year terms.  Recruit reunion organizers. The best reunions are celebrated by well organized groups who generate attendance and meaningful reunion programs.  Hold a membership meeting at the reunion.


To decide whether or not there’s a reunion in your future, you must be:  devoted to your reunion group  able to spend time  willing to take charge  eager to do everything necessary to plan a successful event and keep smiling

Meetings Use meetings at reunions to elect officers and determine dates and a place for your next gathering.

Don’t do it alone Someone must be in charge but all successful reunions need people to help before, during and after.  Find out who else wants a reunion.  Ask for help.  Build a team.  Meet in person, by mail, phone, fax or e-mail.  Share progress regularly.  Consider hiring a professional reunion planner or meeting professional who is experienced with reunions.

Memberships Stress the importance of members getting involved. New people mean fresh ideas. People who work to implement reunion goals will continue to support and improve it. Avoid burnout by sharing the workload – and make it a lot more fun. Notes:

Designate a leader  Choose an organizer/chairperson/leader/ coordinator (this may be you).  Choose officers, committee chairs and members.  Or form subgroups with representatives on a governing committee. Develop a consensus for  date(s)  place  activities/program  theme  budget w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m




FIRST DECISIONS Who gets the job done? Reunions are best when ruled by consensus. Equality and ownership are great group motivators. Every member owns a reunion equally. Every member has a voice; those who choose not to use theirs make the choice to enjoy what others plan. Like any major undertaking, it helps to have a designated leader – one person who arbitrates final decisions, coordinates details and is always willing to go the extra mile. The leader can volunteer, or be elected or chosen by consensus. Never try to do everything alone.

Organizer/chairperson/angel/leader Must be willing to gather and nurture reunion members. Able to harness pesky details. Capable of comprehending and settling conflicts. Able to act on gut instinct. Diplomatic to a fault. Able to bear early costs such as long distance calls, printing, copying and postage. Loves hugs. Treasurer Collects and spends the reunion’s second greatest asset – its money. Manages budget, keeps books, and pays bills. May handle reservations, registration and purchasing reunion keepsakes. Secretary Develops and maintains member/mailing lists. May write and distribute invitations, newsletters, registration materials. Program chairperson Must be creative. Able to identify members’ talents, skills and desires. Able to plan and organize memorable activities involving participants of all ages. Selects entertainment. May hire photographer. Arranges set-up and clean-up.

Historian/genealogist/griot/story-teller Shares a passion for research and reveres the past. Collects and archives group history. Displays family tree, historical wall charts, yearbooks, memory books, albums, historical documents, computer printouts, and tells the story.

Committees Committees are crucial and add to the fun and ownership of reunion organizing. Choose committee members for their expertise. For example, a bookkeeper or an accountant should be invited to be treasurer; teachers enhance the scholarship committee or program planning for kids.  Program. Plans and coordinates reunion day activities.  Accommodations. Selects site; makes reservations, site arrangements and welcomes members.  Fundraising. Develops long-range fundraising projects. Plans and stages reunion day fundraisers.  Food. Plans, chooses and provides food, or works with a caterer or food and beverage professional.  Transportation. Sends directions, maps, instructions, lists of accommodations and restaurants along the way, airport pickup schedules. Makes arrangements to move members during reunion (hotel to picnic, tours, off-site entertainment).  Scholarship. Sets rules and requirements. Reviews and judges applications. Plans and officiates at scholarship awards ceremony.  Worship or Fellowship. Plans, presents rituals, ceremonies and memorials.  Set-up/clean-up. Works very hard on Reunion Day.

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PO BOX 335428 NORTH LAS VEGAS NV 89033 800-654-2776 • 8 



This timetable is designed to work for all types of reunions – tailor it to your special needs.

18-24 months before…  Contact convention and visitors (CVB) or tourism bureaus  Inquire about FAM tours to scout locations, facilities  Consider hiring professional reunion planner  Keep records for everything  Develop budget and bookkeeping system

One year before…

 Arrange or hire entertainment, caterer, photographer, videographer, printer  Send Save-the-Date cards, first mailer or originate reunion web site including tentative plans, suggestions (tours, souvenirs, memory books), theme, approximate cost, memory book contributions, missing persons list

 Set date(s)  Choose location. Contact local CVB to determine how they can help  Select and contract with facilities


 Determine interest  Talk to other reunion organizers  Attend a reunion organizing class, workshop, conference  Start mailing list  Form reunion committee(s); establish responsibilities and schedules

6-9 months before…  Reserve block of rooms  Begin souvenir directory/list of attendees/memory book  Choose theme  Meet with hotel staff, visit facility with committee  Schedule events and activities – program, speakers, awards ceremony, tours, entertainment, games for kids

 Send second mailer: registration form, cost and updated list of missing persons, souvenir ordering information  E-mail announcement to appear on REUNIONS MAGAZINE’S web site, This timetable is online with direct links to copy and podcasts on the site.

5 months before…  Contact and send mailing to people as they’re found  Announce event to local media, elected officials

 Choose menus  Confirm reservations, entertainment, photographer, caterer

4 months before…

 Printed items should be in production  Reserve rental equipment: tents, chairs, porta toilets  Select decorations, signs, banners

 Submit personalized souvenir order (t-shirts, mugs, caps)

Six weeks before…  Complete directory/memory book; deliver to printer

Two weeks before…  Purchase last-minute decorations and incidental supplies

 Write checklist for reunion day tasks  Assign tasks to reunion volunteers  Check with committee chairs to confirm plans, arrangements, progress  Reconfirm meeting, sleeping and eating accommodations  Review final checklist

The day before…  Meet with facility managers and determine staff contacts for your reunion days

 Juggle last-minute problems  Review final details with reunion committees

Reunion Day(s)…  Set up registration tables, rental equipment, displays  Decorate  Salute volunteers

 Juggle details: volunteers, food, photographer, games, tours, entertainment, talent show, ceremonies  Enjoy

Afterward…  Reflect and evaluate – note what worked, what didn’t  Complete bookkeeping; settle accounts

 Write thank you notes to volunteers, hotel staff, caterers  Start planning your next reunion

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CHOOSE A DATE Reunions require advance planning Choosing the time of year‌season


Choosing a first reunion date one to two years in advance will give everyone enough time to ask for vacation time and save money necessary to attend. It gives you time to carefully choose a site and negotiate discounts and special amenities.  Poll your group to avoid conflicts  Get consensus from several choices  Coincide with holidays or milestones – birthdays, anniversary, graduation, retirement

How to choose a date The most important aspect of choosing a date is sticking with your decision. If your group is larger than two, someone will always have a conflict. Consider setting dates two reunions in advance so people who are unable to attend this time can plan to attend the next one.

Choose a date and stick to it!

 summer when kids are on vacation  autumn when kids are in school  winter to ski or head south to seek the sun  spring to beat the winter doldrums  off-season to take advantage of lower prices  same date (date, weekend or month) each reunion  long holiday weekends: Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving?

How long?  an afternoon/evening  one day  a weekend  a week  other____________________

How often?  annually  every two years  every five years  other____________________

TIMING IS EVERYTHING An idea of what you need to order in the order it should be ordered. Reserve location (hotel, resort, cruise, condo, ranch, etc.). . . . . 1-2 years Newsletters and other continuing communication . . . . . . . . Start up to 2 years Save the date card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2 years Cookbooks (start development) . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2 years Reserve picnic/camping site . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 year




Memory book/directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Start 1 year Personalized invitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 months Transportation (airline reservations) . . . . . . . . 6 months Order personalized keepsakes (t-shirts, caps, coffee mugs, etc.). . . . . . . . . 4-6 months Time is running out card . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4 months Food & beverages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-4 months Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-4 months

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REUNION BUDGET Reunion finances

Reunion expenses

Set financial goals. For example, you may want to break even or profit just enough to pay your next reunion startup costs. Some reunions have money-making goals such as scholarships, investments or group business enterprises. Establish your budget. Make your best educated guess. Don’t underestimate or you’ll find yourself with reunion bills and no way to pay them. It would be wise to enlist an experienced budgeter. Work cooperatively. Gather and assemble the reunion budget puzzle. Open a separate checking account to keep a permanent, legal record of reunion income and expenses.

Organizational expenses

Covering expenses

Hotel (at time of reservation) Caterer/meals (when you place your order) Keepsakes (when you submit your orders) Tours (when you book the tours) Printing (when you submit the job) Pre-reunion expenses Registration supplies Awards/certificates/prizes Picnic paper goods Printing

When you’re just starting, don’t hesitate to ask for donations to help cover expenses. Consider dues or fees with several membership “classes.” The lowest dues may cover essential administrative costs and a newsletter. Charge what most members can comfortably pay. Don’t price membership out of reach of anyone on a fixed income. Membership classes can include individual, young adult, family, sustaining, donating and seniors. For family reunions consider a complimentary membership to any member over 70 who requests it. Publicly recognize sustaining and donating members to encourage generous individuals.

You may already use financial software that can be adapted for your reunion budget. If not, we find Quicken by Intuit to be inexpensive and easy to use. Its budget capacity allows you to track actual expenses and compare them to your budget. Quicken can generate those all-important income statements and final reports. Reunion costs range from free to lavish. Consider all potential expenses thoroughly. Add 10% to offset unexpected expenses; then save leftover funds for the next reunion. In-kind


(time, goods, services)


$__________ $ __________

Fees, dues

$__________ $ __________

Keepsake, memento & book sales

$__________ $ __________

Corporate sponsor

$__________ $ __________

Tickets (meals, tours, activities) $__________ $ __________ Scholarships

$__________ $ __________

Door prizes*/awards

$__________ $ __________


$__________ $ __________


$__________ $ __________ TOTAL $ __________

*REUNIONS MAGAZINE provides free stuff. It’s all listed online and added to regularly. Check early and often. 12 


$ ____________ $ ____________ $ ____________

[number of mailings x number on list]

Printing Supplies

$ ____________ $ ____________ Subtotal $ ____________

Pre-reunion deposits

$ $ $ $ $

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

$ $ $ $

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

[flyer, invitations, newsletter, program, directory, memory book]

Keep track of every nickel

Reunion income

Banking fees Long distance/fax/email/web page Postage

Rentals Decorations/banners/signs/memorials Displays Flowers Other (list, explain) Subtotal Reunion day(s) expenses Meals/food Beverages, bartender Entertainers/musicians Photo/videographer/DJ Minister Tips and gratuities Taxes (fill in percentage for your location) Subtotal Post-reunion expenses Printing Postage Pictures, video tapes Other (explain)

$ $ $ $ $ $

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

$ $ $ $

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________

Subtotal $ ____________ TOTAL $ ____________

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CHOOSE A LOCATION Destination decisions Convention and Visitors Bureaus help reunions


Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) are usually nonprofit organizations which represent cities or regions. Their services are often free.

Just ask. Narrow your destination choices. Then contact local CVBs. Most can help obtain accommodation costs and other services based on your requirements. Whether organizing a reunion for your own area or elsewhere, ask the CVB to help welcome guests. Also request hotel bids for your reunion at

Be prepared to share your reunion requirements.  introduce the history and purpose of your reunion  dates (approximate, if exact dates are not known)  number and ages of members  budget range  number and type of rooms (approximate, if exact number is not known)  special needs (handicap access, no smoking space, special diets, recreational requirements)

Ask these questions About contacts

 Is there a reunion or small meeting specialist on staff? If yes, that’s who you want to work with. About services Can the CVB help you get

 discounts (for housing, attractions, entertainment, transportation)  maps, brochures  mailing help  registration assistance (for large reunions)  official greetings  name tags  banners  children/spouse programs  services for special needs  sightseeing tours  souvenirs, door prizes About competition Does the CVB represent

 all hotels in the urban and suburban area  CVB membership only  tours or transportation

Inspection Can the CVB

 arrange a familiarization (FAM) tour or on-site inspection  provide a video tour  provide an inspection report if a reunion member is unable to personally inspect a facility Referrals If the reunion will use local suppliers, can CVB provide referrals for  audio visual equipment  auto rental  buses  caterers  entertainment  florists  media  photographer/videographer  speakers  tours and special events


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CHOOSE A LOCATION Reunion site possibilities

At or near your reunion

 bed and breakfast  home(s)  camp  hotel  church  houseboat  college dormitory  inn  condominiums  park  conference center  ranch or farm  cruise ship  resort  other________________________ Considerations of the area

 climate  concurrent events (festivals, sporting events, concerts, conventions)  local taxes


Number  singles _____  doubles _____  suites _____  dormitories _____  camp sites _____  special considerations

Mark your requirements and be certain each is available. These choices will go a long way to making everyone happy.  ball fields  shopping  beauty/barber shops  skiing  casinos  snorkeling, scuba  entertainment  swimming  golf  tennis  hiking  theme parks  historical sites  zoo  museums, galleries  other _____________  restaurants Also try a reverse auction at


Meeting space needs

 hospitality room  kitchen(s)  in-room TV, cable, VCR, coffee, refrigerator  direct-dial phones, fax, voice mail, e-mail, high speed internet access  Shuttles:  airport  area attractions  shopping/antique malls  casinos; cost _____________  parking; cost _______________  other _____________________

Service quality

 clean  employee attitudes and friendliness  employee efficiency and attention  concierge level _____________ __________________________

Food and drink on-site

 meals included; explain ________  restaurants __________________  hours ______________________  price range(s)_________________  room service

 number of rooms ______________________  meeting room sizes ______________________  banquet facilities  room set-up and cleaning charges  air conditioning  outdoor space  audiovisual equipment  sound system  physically accessible


 airport  charter buses  public transportation  rail


 included in price(s)  housekeeping  food service  other service staff

 taxis  limousines & shuttles  rentals: cars, bicycles, horses

Price range preferred

 economical ($ . to $ . )  moderate ($ . to $ . )  deluxe ($ . to $ . )  combination (percentage of each)  other (list) ___________________

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CHOOSE A LOCATION Need a picnic site? Some reunions confine their enjoyment to weekend afternoon picnics, and many weekend-long reunions include a picnic in the mix of activities. Picnics require their own logistics.  Explore and choose a site.  Contact governing authority (city, county, state) for permit.  Make deposit on time! Popular sites have waiting lists of people who will rejoice if you don’t make your deposit on time.

 Amenities  shelter  grills or fire pits  parking  recreation: swimming, tennis, softball, volleyball, fishing, boating, hiking, golf, horseshoes   restrooms  running water  security  tables and benches

Need a campsite? “Have tent, will travel” describes many reunions. If you camp in an RV or trailer, you’ll need a site. Camps are owned privately and publicly with an enormous range of facilities and services from primitive to luxurious. For a reunion, you should look for the following: Availability

 summer  spring  autumn  winter  holidays Proximity

 beach  city  historical area  mountains  primitive sites  shopping  state or national park  theme parks  tourist area Accommodations

 tents  yours  theirs  RVs/trailers  lodge, bunkhouse  hookups  water  electricity


 barbecue/fire pits  campfire ring  covered sites/shelter  food  outhouses  toilets  showers  hot  not  tables and benches  trash pickup Activities

 backpacking  boats  rental  launch  skiing  fishing  sports  tennis  volleyball  basketball  baseball  playground  hiking  woods  mountains  water  beach  fishing  pool  swimming  waterskiing Notes:




When you’ve narrowed your list of locations to those that meet your physical requirements for sleeping rooms and meeting space, it’s time to make a site inspection. This Site Inspection Checklist gives you a general idea of what to look for and questions to ask. Be prepared. Show location staff you’re organized and know what you’re doing. Be a smart reunion buyer. Approach your inspection as though you want to buy the hotel! Take this checklist with you. Use it to evaluate and compare locations.

Site Inspection Checklist Things to observe about the site

 appearance (interior and exterior)  condition of all rooms (sleeping, dining, meeting)  how you’re treated  overall cleanliness  security and safety systems; fire exits, sprinkler systems in rooms yes / no ____ /____ Do employees take pride in their work? ____ /____ Are employees cheerful and helpful? ____ /____ Is the hotel’s general decor pleasing? ____ /____ Is there sufficient, convenient parking? ____ /____ Is there access to public transportation? ____ /____ Are ice machines conveniently located and do they work properly? Does the hotel offer

 barber/hair dresser  exercise room/pool  gift shop  recreation facilities

 bell service  concierge  in-house movies  safe deposit boxes

What types of sleeping rooms are available?  singles  doubles  king-size beds  suites  mix yes / no ____ /____ Are special rates available? ____ /____ Are reservation/registration systems automated? ____ /____ Does the hotel offer shuttle service; cost $ _______ ____ /____ Is 24-hour room service available? ____ /____ Is audio-visual support available; cost $ ________ ____ /____ Can you bring your own liquor? Is there a “corkage” fee?

Don’t hesitate to be really thorough; ask to see the “back of the hotel,” the kitchen and engineering (power plant, heating and air conditioning units, etc.). Ask for

 A copy of complimentary room policy.  A copy of menu selections for meal functions.

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NEGOTIATE Organizing a reunion requires negotiation. Negotiating is not part of our culture and rarely comes easily. We accept the price and pay or go elsewhere. If you don’t negotiate, you could pay a stiff price with few, if any, extras.  Prepare for the task. Negotiating can be complex.  Do your homework. If this is your first time negotiating, know the facts to get the greatest value for your reunion dollars.  Know the basics. Get fair value in exchange for your reunion business. Be realistic. Careful negotiating helps hotels make a reasonable profit while you have the best and most economical reunion. If you are confident, you and the hotel sales person both win.  Hotel sales persons negotiate every day. It is their job to sell rooms. Revenue from rooms is their primary source of income, followed by food and beverage sales.

Know your strengths  Reunion size Number of rooms is important. If this is your first reunion and you ask for 100 rooms, no one will believe you can actually fill 100 rooms. But if you have a history of consistently filling 100 rooms, you definitely have the hotel’s attention. It is critical to supply documentation from past reunions.  Records from previous reunions Demonstrate the economic impact of your reunion spending habits (rooms, food, beverages, meeting space and shopping patterns). It is very favorable if you can make a large deposit and/or pay in full at check-out.  Sell the uniqueness of your reunion Sell your group. Stress the potential marketing value of your reunion. Even if all your members are from out of town, they can recommend places for other meetings.  Supply and demand prevail Ask hotels for dates and times when rates are lowest and business is needed. These are called low, off or soft periods – and vary from location to location and can occur more than once a year. If your dates and seasons are flexible, you may be able to save 50% or more off published rates.  Let places know you’re shopping around Do not select a place just because it offers the lowest price. You may not get the service level you want.  Speak up If you really like one location but the price is out of your range, speak up. Tell the sales person you really like this hotel. Ask if they could work with you to make a fit. If they are flattered and genuinely interested, they will try hard to do it. 20 


 Ask for complimentary items If you don’t ask, they will not be offered. You may get nothing free but some things may be provided at attractively reduced rates. If this is your first reunion don’t expect to get all of these. • airport or mall transportation • audio/visual equipment • banner or signs for your registration area • complimentary hospitality suite • complimentary welcome or farewell reception • early check-in/late check-out • flowers, table decorations • free or discounted recreational activities • free meal or sleeping room as a door or raffle prize • free parking • free storage for supplies and materials shipped in advance • meeting room • room upgrade for regular price • one room for every 40 or 50 reservations • special menu items

Time to make the reservation Money-saving tips

Make reservations six months to two years in advance. You’ll want to book early for a number of reasons. First, your chosen date will be assured. Second, you’ll probably be able to save money by locking in an early contract. Third, early alert will increase attendance. Members will have more time to plan, save and anticipate.

After negotiation You should receive a written contract at the end of negotiations. Review it very carefully. It is a road map spelling both parties’ responsibilities. It does not have to be written in fancy legalese. Once signed, the contract becomes legally binding on both parties. Return the signed contract by certified mail. What the contract should include

A good contract ensures both you and the location will meet your obligations. Get everything in writing – from the smallest promised service to the type and number of rooms. Make sure total price is understood, and taxes or gratuities are clearly indicated. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Change items that do not agree with your notes.

NEGOTIATE Check the contract for the following:

 total number of rooms held for your reunion  how long rooms will be held  types of rooms and beds  complimentary rooms, suites  smoke-free rooms  meeting space  deposits  cut-off dates  cancellation clauses  reservations instructions  check-in/out times and dates  taxes  transportation  master accounts  services and equipment  handicap accessibility  what happens if the hotel is overbooked  list all extras negotiated

Who handles deposits, confirmations and payment?

 chairperson for the reunion  each individual/couple/family How will payment be handled?

 cash; discounts for early payment?  charge  deposit  balance Billing

 deposit required _________ % or $__________________  discounts for pre- or prompt-payment  master account  can separate bills be issued?  yes  no  terms  deposit  bill  pay on departure  credit cards accepted  MasterCard  Visa  American Express  other_______________________________


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Announce your reunion! Click on Past and Future reunions! Family and class reunions are displayed alphabetically. Military reunions are listed by branch of service then numerically and alphabetically. We update our web page regularly so as we receive reunion announcements, they are added to listings online. If the reunion you’re searching for isn’t in the current listing, visit Reunion Archives where reunions from past years are preserved to maintain reunion contacts. If you wish to list your reunion, submit the name, date and place of the reunion and the contact person’s name, address, phone number, e-mail and reunion web site to They’ll be added and linked.

CALIFORNIA HOLIDAY INN SAN DIEGO BAYSIDE 4875 N Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92106; 619-224-3621; 800-650-6660; fax 619-2241787. Host your reunion at the beautiful Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside across from San Diego Bay. Our experienced staff will assist you in creating a very special event. Complimentary hosp suite and special reunion rates. Beautiful guest rooms, heated pool, spa, shuffleboard, ping-pong and billiards, exercise room, family restaurant and cocktail lounge, free pkg, in-room movies, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers;; www.holinnbay NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOETM RESORT offers a great place to sleep, eat, play and relax in a beautiful mountain setting with a wide variety of accommodations and activities such as golf, swimming and tennis in the summer and snow sports activities in the winter. It’s no wonder Northstar was voted as a top 10 reunion destination by Family Travel Forum. A personal event planner is provided to help plan your unforgettable reunion. Highway 267 & Northstar Dr., Truckee, CA 96160, 800-926-5096,,


Welcome to Reunion Resources! How to use REUNION RESOURCES Reunion resources is divided into sections. Reunion friendly places include destinations (convention, visitor and tourism bureaus) and locations (hotels, resorts, ranches, condominiums, bed & breakfasts, inns, dormitories, camps). They are listed alphabetically by state and city. The sections which follow list products and services. Many resources include e-mail and web page addresses. Start on our web page www.reunions and in just one click, go directly to other resource pages – a wonderful way to visit, get more details and in some cases even place orders. We encourage you to tell the listings you contact that you learned about them from REUNIONS MAGAZINE. And if at any time you find any info that is inaccurate or e-mail or web links do not work, notify us immediately at; PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. And by all means, feel free to comment and/or suggest changes and additions you’d like to see in this section. REUNIONS MAGAZINE will not be held liable for information presented as facts in these ads. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication.

INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS CRUISES ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL® CRUISE Ready to start planning your next reunion? There’s a place to do it all! 1-800ROYALCARIBBEAN, SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! JAMAICA VILLAS Perfect for all generations. Nannies for the youngsters, ease and comfort for seniors. Fun for all. Tropical luxury, privacy and intimacy. Every villa has a private pool. Live-in staff cook and clean, you relax. Combine several villas to create a reunion no hotel or resort can match. Villas by Linda Smith. 301229-4300; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

KISSIMMEE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 1925 East Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee FL 34744. In Kissimmee reunions are our specialty. We offer planning assistance to reunions of all sizes and budgets. Let us help you make planning your next reunion easy. Call for information regarding Kissimmee’s meeting venues and services. 407-944-2484; fax 407-847-4114; meet@floridakiss .com; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! SEMINOLE COUNTY CVB Just minutes from Central Florida’s major attractions, Seminole County is the perfect reunion destination. Nestled among historical villages, Florida’s Natural Choice has world-class accommodations, fine dining, unique shopping, golf and recreation options making your visit one to remember. Call 800800-7832 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! THE BLUE HERON BEACH RESORT A SeaWorld Approved Condominium Resort less than a mile from Disney! 1- and 2bedroom suites with balconies facing Lake Bryan and lots of resort amenities. Information 407-387-2910: www.blueheronbeachresort .com. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! FLORIDAYS RESORT ORLANDO 12550 Floridays Resort Drive, Orlando FL 32821. 321-329-4022; fax 321-329-4000; sal@floridays; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! FLORIDA’S SUWANNEE RIVER VALLEY Located at the crossroads of I-75 and I-10, Florida’s Suwannee River Valley is a threecounty region highlighted by the nation’s premier canoeing and kayaking in the Suwannee River, internationally renowned Ichetucknee Springs and spectacular festivals featuring history, culture, heritage and music. 1-877-746-4778, www.SpringsRUs .com SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


ARKANSAS ROGERS CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU We feature an incredible selection of hotel rooms, luxurious to casual. Rogers also offers creative dining opportunities and shopping. Relax at our soothing spas, enjoy an outdoor adventure at Beaver Lake or on one of 20 area golf courses. If you’d like to hold your reunion, meeting or convention in Rogers, contact Rogers Convention & Visitors Bureau first. We’ll assist you with informational materials, proposal preparation and financial estimates for budgeting. Whether you need accommodations for 15 or 5,000, the Rogers CVB can help meet your demands. Learn more at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

LOFT at CASTLEBERRY HILL 170 Northside Drive SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30313. Experience a reunion to remember at LOFT! LOFT at Castleberry Hill is a contemporary event loft located in the Historic Castleberry Hill Arts District, minutes from downtown Atlanta. LOFT offers guest seating, complimentary parking, built in stage and dance floor, and delicious in-house catering. Our vision is to offer a unique experience, through tailored events, delicious cuisine, and exceptional customer service. LOFT provides endless possibilities for hosting reunions and we invite you to let our team of event specialists create the ultimate experience for you! 404-522-5678, fax: 404-522-5688,,




ATLANTA’S COBB COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Home to Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flag’s White Water and just 10 minutes northwest of downtown Atlanta, and the NEW Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke. Cobb County boasts easy interstate access, free parking, a multitude of restaurants, attractions, shopping, golf and parks. For FREE assistance with planning your reunion, contact the Cobb County CVB at 1-800-451-3480 or visit us at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



ESTES PARK CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU PO Box 1200, Estes Park CO 80517. Estes Park may be the perfect setting for your reunion! Nestled in a valley surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park, fabulous scenery and recreation await you. Enjoy shopping, trout fishing, horseback riding, river rafting, golf, go karts, barbecues, hayrides, miniature golf, tram rides, scenic drives and hiking. Let our group specialist help you find lodging, meals and fun things for the whole family to enjoy! 800-44-ESTES; fax 970-5771677;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES DOLCE ATLANTA – PEACHTREE offers 40 beautifully landscaped acres located only 25 miles South of Atlanta. With 233 guest-rooms, tantalizing food and on site activities that include swim- ming, volleyball, tennis, horseshoes, basketball, biking and access to 90 miles of walking paths throughout the city, there are endless options for enjoyment. Nearby shopping, golf, summer concerts and easy access to downtown Atlanta ensures something for everyone. 770-487-2666; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!



BRANSON’S POINTE ROYALE CONDOMINIUM RESORT & GOLF COURSE Spacious 1-4 bedroom fully-equipped condos on 18-hole golf course. Scenic setting on Lake Taneycomo. Golf, tennis, indoor/outdoor/kiddie pools, exercise room, trout fishing, playgrounds, meeting facilities, restaurant, lounge, catering. Convenient to shows/attractions. Concierge/packages. Condos are ideal for reunions with lots of gathering space. 158-A Pointe Royale Dr., Branson MO 65616; 800-962-4710; fax 417-334-5620:;

RECONNECT IN LAKE COUNTY Lake County’s natural spaces and fun places are the perfect place for your next reunion. Our world-class attractions and more than 50 lodging properties will make your next reunion a resounding success. For free Reunion Planning Assistance call 1-800-Lake-Now or email us with your reunion planning questions to; www.lake SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! CHICAGO SOUTHLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Discover the unexpected in Chicago Southland, the ideal location for your next family reunion! The Chicago Southland offers an array of family-friendly accommodations, attractions and outdoor recreation venues. Parking is FREE. We offer FREE convention services including bags, coupon books, maps and more! Visit our website or call 888-895-3211. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

IOWA WATERLOO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 313 E. 5th Street, Waterloo, IA 50703. New Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum and veteran memorials throughout city. Meeting facilities to 2,000 people. Family friendly attractions – Lost Island Water Park, Phelps Youth Pavilion, and Bluedorn Science Imaginarium. New Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. 800-728-8431; fax 319-2332733;;

LOUISIANA HOUMA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU PO Box 2792, Houma LA 70361; 800-688-2732; angela.morehead@houma; Contact Angela Morehead, Convention and Events Manager. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! EXPERIENCE JEFFERSON. Next door to one of the most famous cities in the United States, you will discover a place steeped in history and culture, mouth watering cuisine, the shopping capital of Louisiana, and the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. You will discover Jefferson, just a beat away from New Orleans. For rates and information contact the Jefferson Convention & Visitors Bureau at 504-731-7083, 1-877-572-7474 (toll free), or log on to our website, SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! NEW ORLEANS CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans LA 70130; phone 504-566-5011; fax 504-566-5002. Let us assist with your family reunion planning by helping you select a date with the best hotel rates and providing you with activity, event and sightseeing information. Our services are free. Please contact Leslie Straughan at 800-748-8695 x 5018 or and be sure to ask for the Family Reunion Planner.

MARYLAND PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 9200 Basil Court, Suite 101. Largo MD 20774; 301-9258300; fax 301-925-2053;; www.visitprince SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

MINNESOTA WORRY-FREE REUNIONS AT CRAGUN’S RESORT 11000 Craguns Dr, Brainerd MN 56401: 800-CRAGUNS (272-4867). Since 1940 Cragun’s has taken pride in creating memorable reunions ... here’s why: 1) trained coordinator will help plan it all, 2) arrival “Welcome” and registration areas with planned activity agendas, 3) activities including golf outings, lake cruises, picnics, fishing contests, horse drawn trolley rides and more, 4) indoor facilities to ensure you a “weather-proof” reunion, 5) private gathering areas, 6) special celebration meals, 7) professional group photos, 8) and best of all, enjoy a safe, secure friendly environment. Come to Cragun’s for your reunion. Named “One of MN’s ideal locations to hold a Reunion.” by AAA. Call for FREE Reunion Planning Packet or visit:

TUPELO CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU Tour a classic car museum filled with over 100 antique and classic cars, go wild at an exotic animal park, experience Elvis Presley at his birthplace and museum, shop at one of the state’s largest malls and revel in our many exciting year-round events. Tupelo ... the Place to Go! 800.533.0611 or SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!


INDEPENDENCE, MO TOURISM DEPT., 111 E. Maple, Independence, MO 64050; 866-657-MEET. Let Independence welcome your reunion group, all at a great value and in a convenient location. Enjoy nationally recognized heritage and cultural attractions, one-of-a-kind restaurants, great shopping, outdoor activities, a variety of accommodations and more. Add in a trip to nearby Kansas City or an afternoon of professional football or baseball. We provide itinerary planning, discounts and other assistance. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! PULASKI COUNTY TOURISM BUREAU 137 St. Robert Blvd. St. Robert MO 65584. Centrally located between Branson and St. Louis, Missouri on I-44. Enjoy the Museums at Fort Leonard Wood or family activities on the Gasconade and Big Piney Rivers. Trail of Tears, Historic Route 66, Fairs, Festivals, Antiques, and more. Over 1,300 sleeping rooms and 70 restaurants including Caveman BBQ, dining in a real cave. Call toll-free 1-877-858-8687 or visit for additional information. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

MONTANA RIVER ROCK LODGE 3080 Pine Drive, Big Sky, Montana 59716. 866-995-4455;; info@riverrocklodging .com. This lodge offers a variety of family activities within 30 miles – Yellowstone National Park. River Rock, a 29-room, western-style lodge has a cozy lobby with a stone fireplace, a hearty continental breakfast, Wireless Internet, party room and free parking. Rates start at $99. Call us to learn about our Price Break for large groups. 320 GUEST RANCH 205 Buffalo Horn Creek, Gallatin Gateway, Montana 59730. 800 243-0320:; sales@320 We offer a unique venue for reunions up to 200 people. Located 10 mi. from Big Sky and 30 from Yellowstone. Variety of lodging-cabins, 3-bedroom homes, chalets. Restaurant, saloon, BBQ, horseback riding, fly fishing. Conference center, tented areas and Wireless Internet. Social director available. Call or e-mail to get our latest group rates. MONTANA’S FLATHEAD VALLEY is the gateway to Glacier National Park and home to Flathead Lake and Big Mountain Ski Resort with an abundance of recreation and cultural treasures. Discover picturesque towns, championship golf, museums, galleries, shopping, fine cuisine and true western hospitality. Flathead CVB, 15 Depot Park, Kalispell, MT 59901; 800-543-3105; fax 406-2572500;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEVADA MARDI GRAS HOTEL & CASINO 3500 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV. Conveniently located just off the Strip and a 3 minute walk to the Monorail. Spacious oversized guestrooms each 400 sqft w/ mini-frig. Fun, affordable restaurant/bar open 24 hours. Have your banquet in our 4000 sqft of flexible event space. Enjoy all the fun and excitement of Las Vegas without the high price tag. Create a lasting memory for all with the personal attention you will receive from our friendly staff. Call today for great group rates! 702-7312020 x 743; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NEW HAMPSHIRE NASHUA RADISSON 11 Tara Blvd, Nashua, NH 03062; 603888-9970. Have your reunion at the largest castle hotel in Boston’s north neighbor-Nashua! Attractions include Canobie Lake Park, indoor skydiving, skiing, Anheuser Busch Brewery, & tax free shopping! Newly renovated, 326 guestrooms, indoor/outdoor pool, restaurant, free parking & health club. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

WEB PAGE: CALL: 414.263.4567 FAX: 414.263.6331 E-MAIL: WRITE: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727

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CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES NEW YORK FORT WILLIAM HENRY RESORT AND CONFERENCE CENTER 48 Canada Street, Lake George, NY 12845 888389-4554. Balancing traditional elegance with Adirondack charm, this New York State landmark hotel provides guests with exceptional service only surpassed by spectacular views of Lake George and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains. 193 Guestrooms, ample free parking, onsite restaurants, spa and museum. www.fortwilliam SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! HOLIDAY INN & CONFERENCE CENTER 3 Executive Blvd. Suffern, NY. Reunions choose our location – right off exit 14B of the NY Thruway (Rte. 87), w/ easy access to major airports. Complimentary welcome reception, indoor rec. center, pool, whirlpool, video arcades, fitness center, outdoor picnic area, yearround activities, near “East Coast” outlets. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! Call (845) 357-4800 x411 or email: http:// SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NORTH CAROLINA CABARRUS COUNTY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 3003 Dale Earnhardt Blvd, Kannapolis, NC 28083. Take the fast track to fun in the World’s Racing Destination! Tour North Carolina’s legendary Lowe’s Motor Speedway, relax at the new Embassy Suites Concord Spa Botanica, splash at the new Great Wolf Lodge, shop at Concord Mills or pan for gold at Reed Gold Mine. Over 3,000 hotel rooms in all price ranges. Just minutes from the Charlotte-Douglas Airport. Call (704) 260-8116 or email erin@ for complimentary reunion services. www.visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! WILMINGTON/CAPE FEAR COAST CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Looking for an interesting destination? Then head to Wilmington & NC’s Cape Fear Coast. You can let us know what kind of adventure you have in mind, or we can suggest some themes that’ll please the most persnickety travelers. We’ll even create a customized itinerary matched to your exact specifications so that your guests will gladly follow you anywhere. Call 866-2071969 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

OHIO ATTRACTIONS NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati OH 45202, is the nation’s newest monument to freedom, spotlighting courageous acts from the Underground Railroad and beyond. Interactive and engaging, it has 5 galleries, 1 theater, a dialogue area, and research and education areas complete with a family search center to trace your heritage. Group tours and facility rental available. 877-648-4838 or


More workbooks… Don’t plan your reunion without it. Get copies for your committee members too so you’ll all be on the same page!

 Order @ 26 


THE MONARCH HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER 20 minutes to downtown Portland/airport. Free airport shuttle/parking. Free shuttle to 2 shopping malls Clackamas Town Center/Promenade for tax free shopping and over 15 restaurants. 192 newly renovated guest rooms with in room coffee makers, refrigerators, 32" HDTV’s, hair dryers, easy chair/ottoman. Serta pillowtop beds with Fireblocker and upgraded linens. 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting/banquet space with free hospitality area for reunions. (800) 492-8700, Fax (503) 513-9556, I-205 at Sunnyside Rd., Clackamas, OR. SEA MIST OCEANFRONT RESORT – MYRTLE BEACH SC 1200 South Ocean Blvd., 29577. REUNIONS MADE EASY! Specializing in reunions from military to family at the most affordable rates in Myrtle Beach. Sea Mist’s premier oceanfront location is near shopping, theaters and golf courses. Over 600 of our 800 units have been completely remodeled, restaurants, miniature golf, 10 pools, Jacuzzis, fitness room, 17,000-sq.ft. of versatile meeting space and much more! 800-200-8687;; SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

NORTH DAKOTA RAPID CITY CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Nestled at the base of the legendary Black Hills, Rapid City lies at the heart of the American experience, just minutes from the highest concentration of public parks, monuments and memorials in the world. Explore the South Dakota Air and Space Museum and Ellsworth Air Force Base, then cap it all off with exciting tours and fine dining before winding down in luxurious and affordable accommodations. Visit or call 800.487.3223. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TENNESSEE PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE Pigeon Forge has something for everyone! Take a tour of the Great Smoky Mountains. Catch live shows daily at our many theaters. Find action & adventure at more than 50 attractions along the Parkway. Or go on a shopping spree at one of six outlet malls. Of course, no trip would be complete without a visit to world famous Dollywood. For more information,

call 1-800-285-7557 or visit www.pigeonforgetours. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

TEXAS REUNIONS FIND BEAUMONT AFFORDABLE and WHERE YOU GET A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA! Book your next reunion – whether military, family, or school – in Beaumont, Texas and get the most affordable accommodations as well as that “little something extra,” we call “Lagniappe;” that make your reunion more productive, fun, inspired and just great! Don’t miss Beaumont’s unique attractions, museums, shopping, dining and sports offerings; all to make your reunion more memorable. Contact the Beaumont CVB at 800-392-4401 or visit our website at www. to find out how you can book your reunion in Beaumont. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! PLANO CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano TX 75074. Plano’s location, 10 miles from Dallas, gives us access to North Texas’ Biggest Playground. Accessible via D/FW Airport or Dallas Love Field, or major highways, Plano’s the Place! Love History, and things Typically Texas? And things not typically Texas? How ’bout sports, shopping, dining? You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do here. 80081PLANO: fax 972-424-0002;

UTAH PARK CITY LODGING (formerly R&R Properties) is located in the beautiful mountains of Park City, Utah. Enjoy properties throughout Park City, Deer Valley and The Canyons resort areas. We can provide many ideal accommodations for reunions, retreats and weddings. Call 800-348-6759; Let our knowledgeable staff assist you in creating a memorable mountain experience. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

WEST VIRGINIA THE WOODS RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTER is located in the Northern Shenandoah Valley & offers lodge rooms, cabins, villas & private rentals. 36 holes of golf, 3 pools, basketball, racquetball, tennis, softball, playground, exercise room, & the Sleepy Creek Spa. Conference & dining facilities. 1694 The Woods Rd., Hedgesville WV 25427; 800-248-2222; fax 304-754-8146. Kathy@TheWoods .com;

PRODUCTS & SERVICES All of the following can be purchased at shopping or call 1-800-373-7933, ext. 4.

BOOKS Secrets of Successful Family Reunions, by Robert W. Wolfe a.k.a. Uncle Bob A how-to-book for successful family reunions. Whether simple or elaborate it helps those who wish to pass their values to the next generation. 2008. $16.99 + s/h. The Pick A Party book set, by Patty Sachs, party-planning expert. Book #1: Pick a Party, The Big Book of Party Themes and Occasion, 100 theme party plans for holidays, milestone occasions and special events. Book #2 Pick-A-Party Cookbook, Includes menus, recipes and table decoration ideas for the 100 theme parties in Book #1. Regularly $20 for the set, only $16.00 + $2 s/h) for Reunions magazine readers. Family Reunion, by Mary Quattlebaum, Illustrated by Andrea Shine. Thoughtful and fun, this book gives glimpses of family togetherness and tradition through various poetic forms, including free verse, a sonnet, haiku, a ballad and more. $16 + s/h. The Miles of Smiles: 101 Great Car Games & Activities, by travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers “May be the ultimate solution for back seat squabbling” on the way to your reunion. Keep kids entertained all the way there. $8.95 + s/h. Treasure and Scavenger Hunts (3rd ed.) How to Plan, Create, and Give Them, by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2007, 134 pp. $15.95 + s/h or $12.95 digital. Your Living Family Tree: Keeping your family together forever through print, photos, sound and video, by Gordon Burgett Communications Unlimited, 2008, 174 pp. $17.95 + s/h or $15.95 digital.

MUSIC CD OR TAPE The Malone Family Choir: A Family Reunion is an original gospel CD opening with a song you’ll want to play to say Welcome to Our Family Reunion! at your family reunion. CD $15 or tape $10 + s/h.



ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL® CRUISE Ready to start planning your next reunion? There’s a place to do it all. 1-800ROYALCARIBBEAN,

MAKE A REUNION MEMORY BOOK We know how important your upcoming reunion is and School Annual wants to help you preserve these memories. Why not create your very own memory book! Our unique online page creation allows a multiple user interface. School Annual has the tools to make a fast, fun and easy way for your group to celebrate and share their story. Start building a new tradition; contact us for information and ideas to create your personal Reunion Memory Book. School Annual Publishing Company, 500 Science Park Road; Suite B, State College, Pa. 16803; 800-436-6030; fax 800-436-6048; yearbook@school;

MEMENTOS REUNION NAME TAGS Full color photo quality nametags for your family, military or school reunion. Thermal imaged on credit card size vinyl badges with lanyards or gator clips that stay on, without damaging clothing. Affordable, durable, unique. Call or e-mail for free samples. Reunion Name Tags, Toll Free 1-866-949-6383; or REUNION ’09? Colorful, embossed custom ribbons (in your words) add a “touch of class” to your event & name badges. Ideal bookmarkkeepsake that says “you were there.” Created expressly for class, family and military reunions. Class Ribbons available in school colors. For sample ribbon and idea brochure: REUNION MATE 800-208-6804 or

REUNION RIBBONS REUNION ’09? Colorful, embossed custom ribbons (in your words) add a “touch of class” to your event & name badges. Ideal bookmarkkeepsake that says “you were there”. Created expressly for class, family and military reunions. Class Ribbons available in school colors. For sample ribbon and idea brochure: REUNION MATE 800-208-6804 or



REUNION NAME TAGS Full color photo quality nametags for your family, military or school reunion. Thermal imaged on credit card size vinyl badges with lanyards or gator clips that stay on, without damaging clothing. Affordable, durable, unique. Call or email for free samples. Reunion Name Tags, Toll Free 1-866-9496383; or

CLASSQUEST CORPORATION SEE OUR DISPLAY AD! MYEVENT.COM Create your own reunion website with no skills. It’s fast and easy to use. Your reunion website has great features and planning tools. It will make planning much easier and everyone will love it! Features: Online registration, rsvp, ticket payment, message boards, family tree, guest book, quiz, poll, stories, photo albums, no ads, travel information, more. 7 day free trial. Only $9.95 / month. Any Questions – 877-769-3836 or


POSTCARD ANNOUNCEMENTS Notify your reunion members to SAVE THE DATE (bright red, they’ll not miss it!) and when you need reminders, send postcards that say TIME IS RUNNING OUT. Fill-in cards – $15 p/100 postcards or 20¢ each – you fill in the date and reunion name; or Custom printed cards – $45 p/100 postcards or 50¢ each. Send info to be printed. SAVE THE DATE include reunion name, date, place and contact info. TIME IS RUNNING OUT include reunion name, date, place, contact info and deadline date. Include email or fax number for proof to approve before we print. Send to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211. Or to charge call 800-373-7933, x4 or order online at

T-SHIRTS AMERICA’S #1 SOURCE FOR REUNION APPAREL AND GIFTS T-shirts, Totes, Keepsakes & Gifts Easy-To-Order. Fun-To-Wear. Fast-Turn-Around. Beautiful and colorful reunion designs as featured on Good Morning America, personalized for your event! Browse our huge selection of quality apparel and exciting new products. Shop our Reunion Kits for great package pricing and low minimums! REUNION GEAR 1-800-451-1611 NORTHSTAR SPORTSWEAR Thirty years of experience serving military and retail clients creating custom screen printed and embroidered sportswear and promotional products! Our state of the art Graphics Department can help create a new design or bring your design to life on t-shirts, polo shirts sweatshirts, ball caps and more. Northstar is well known for great personal service, fair pricing and high quality products. Northstar Sportswear, PO Box 569, Kingston WA 98346. Contact Dave Chandler: 1-800-445-8270 or 360-2972260. Fax: 360-297-3505, email:, SEE OUR DISPLAY AD!

LINK TO THESE LISTINGS! Open Click Reunion Resources.

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WEB PAGE: CALL: 414.263.4567 FAX: 414.263.6331 E-MAIL: WRITE: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727

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FUNDRAISING Fundraising goals can defray reunion costs, provide money for members to attend the reunion or raise scholarship money for young members. Following are ways some reunions have added to their coffers.


Long-range fundraising Many reunion groups do long-range, participatory, fundraising projects.

Quilts Quilts can be auctioned or raffled at the reunion. Distribute quilt pieces eight to ten months or more in advance and collect to be sewn together. Stress deadlines. To collect quilt materials:  Buy and prepare 6''x 6'' cotton squares.  Send packed between protective cardboards with instructions (see below).

Quilt Announcement We are making a (name of reunion) quilt. Please decorate and submit a 6''x 6'' square of material suitable for a quilt. Decorations from young and old should highlight a (name of reunion) feat or legend. Encourage little ones to include masterpieces. Sign each piece. Send your square by (date) to (name and address). If you have questions calls Aunt _________ at (phone number).  Emphasize deadlines.  Enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE).  In about four months, send a motivational postcard. Emphasize deadline.  Stragglers may need phone calls. Avoid disappointment. Include a date after which squares can no longer be accepted.

Publishing Publishing involves many details and can be expensive. Your primary buyers are your own members so make sure they’re interested in publishing projects. Reunion books are best sellers only in your group.  Poll your members.  Get orders or an idea of how many you can sell before you incur the considerable expense of printing and binding.  Cookbooks Cookbooks are a very popular reunion project. They are a real challenge for the organizer and should not be entered into lightly. Cookbooks can highlight family history, traditions and food specialities. Specialty cookbook companies can help you from conception to delivery.  Memory books Send every member instructions about what to write. Compile anecdotes, tales, childhood memories, special events, stories about ancestors or past reunions.  Family genealogy books In addition to family history, ask members to submit biographies and anecdotes to make foreparents come alive along with their place in history.  Reunion history books  Reunion videos  Oral history tapes  Reproductions Reunion videos, oral history tapes, photos (new and restorations) Corporate underwriting Some reunion groups have been successful at obtaining corporate support. You can solicit much more than just money. Products and services can be just as valuable. Search for companies who are reunion-friendly. Enlist someone who can make an eloquent case for why a company or business should help your reunion and how your reunion might help the company. Your reunion may be expected to advertise your benefactor. Thank you notes are essential for all considerations. Be a reunion your benefactor can be proud of. Invite them. Honor them. Lavish them with praise.

Pre - or between-reunion fundraising



 progressive meal or party paid for by hosts, tickets  casino night rent a hall and equipment, dealers volunteer  tours transportation (bus), meals and tickets  runs, walks and rides establish goals and guidelines, promote event, collect pledges, set route and go  bake sale, plant sale, car wash.


Consider some of these possibilities. Negotiate group ticket and food prices. Mark up the price, sell tickets and add the difference to your reunion account.  theatre party transportation (bus), meals and tickets  style show location, meal/brunch/dessert, tickets

FUNDRAISING Personalizing your reunion


Reunion t-shirts and caps dot the summer landscape. What will you choose as your reunion keepsake? What you buy is a matter of individual choice, taste and wallet size. Endless possibilities and varieties await your exploration. Collect at least a deposit from members in advance (unless, of course, keepsakes are your personal gift to the group). Personalized items always require extra time. Submit orders early. Do your homework. Take and make orders well in advance of when you need items. More than one group has had to make a legend out of telling the story of poor proofreading. “The engraver mistook the instructions and that’s my phone number instead of the reunion date!” Proofread every step of the way. Give your supplier time, so you have time for the very last pre-press proofreading. Allow one to two months for production at the published price. When you delay, your costs skyrocket for rush orders or overnight shipping.

Choosing what to buy Choose something meaningful to your group. Make it functional, good quality and affordable.  t-shirts  caps  mugs  key chains  paperweights  tote-bags  other__________  Ask others for product and supplier suggestions.  Collect and carefully review catalogs or find a supplier you can visit to see and make selections.  Or find something entirely new and absolutely unique to your reunion. Design considerations Most keepsake companies offer some design services from supplying letters to creating an original design or logo. These are some of your choices.  Use your reunion name, logo, crest or emblem.  Solicit a design or logo from your reunion members or have a contest. Encourage children. Your best design may come from one of them. A great honor for a budding young talent!  Make your own design.  Buy a design from an artist or design professional.  Use your supplier’s art department.

Choosing a keepsake supplier After you’ve viewed web sites (many links at, perused catalogs and narrowed your choice of vendors, call, fax or e-mail each for answers to your remaining questions before making your decision. Read suppliers’ ordering instructions very carefully.

Questions to ask vendors  Can vendors send samples?  How far in advance must we order for delivery on date  What are your price breaks for large orders?  What are the art or illustration requirements?  Can vendors provide art? at what cost?  Are these included or priced extra?  design  extra colors  printing plate  shipping

 You can select standard ink colors from most printers but they can rarely guarantee to match nonstandard colors because they will differ depending on the material (cap, mug, frisbee).  Separate artwork must be provided for each ink, if you’re using more than one color.

Important considerations  Proofread all keepsake art very, very carefully. Assign several people proofreading responsibility. Once your personalized keepsake is in production there is no turning back.  Submit only perfect camera-ready artwork. Do not staple, tape, photocopy or fax. Most accept computer art via email. w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m


FUNDRAISING Pricing your keepsakes Pass all charges on to your members. Price items carefully before you announce the cost. Cost of item includes the following:

Pre-production cost Catalog cost per piece x # ordered


Cost of artwork


Production cost Set-up


Additional colors


Customization charges




Total production cost


To determine individual costs, divide total production cost by the number of pieces. Your cost per piece = total production cost ÷ # of orders + shipping cost.

How to pay for keepsakes  Pre-reunion orders Everyone pays individually, in advance.  Include in reunion price/fee  Guess how many and what sizes you’ll need, take your chances and pray they’ll all sell at the reunion. Distribution  At the reunion in registration packet or unveil at a special ceremony  Send to members before reunion (add postage and shipping)  Send to members after reunion (add postage and shipping)

Shipping cost Packaging materials




Rain or shine! Say it or have a rain date.

On-site at the reunion


Sales Items can be sold at, before or between reunions to keep cash flowing. Suggest people buy reunion items as gifts. Be sure to include packing and postage in your price for items to be shipped. Offer discounts for larger orders.  personalized keepsakes, mementos, souvenirs, t-shirts, caps, mugs, pens, pencils, novelties  memory books, cookbooks  directories  photos and videos group, individual, families, couples, branches or small groups




Raffles & auctions Plan ahead and notify your members if you want to raise money with raffles or auctions. Limit to your reunion or check with your local or State Department of Revenue to ascertain whether there are any regulations covering games of chance. Ask members to donate items for sale.  memorabilia, heirlooms, keepsakes  crafts or sewing  gifts of fresh seasonal produce, special homemade preserves, sauces  homemade goodies and candies  samples from members who manufacture or distribute goods or services

COMMUNICATION Getting organized Records

Ask everyone to help search

Some reunion records are still kept on index cards. Computer databases can be adapted easily to keep necessary reunion member information, or you can buy software designed for reunions.  Make one card or entry for each person, couple or family.  Include name, address, phone, email address and other numbers.  Set up database to sort; by zip for mailing; by last name for a directory; by city, age, interests.

Searching is an ongoing process often delegated to your most curious and detail-oriented members. Genealogists and family historians are notorious for starting family reunions and they never stop searching. Technology is exciting, constantly changing and makes searching easier. Web sites and national phone directories on CD ROM provide instant access to many databases that put endless information at your finger tips. Rely on members to find others. There is often one person who stays in touch more than anyone else: a genealogist, historian, aunt or uncle who has kept careful records about everyone. Ask that person to help. Ask everyone to submit lists. Remove duplicates as they occur.

Be persistent Once your reunion becomes a tradition, it should be each person’s responsibility to make sure his or her information is up-to-date.  Ask for help to fill in details on the list. Include  Ask others to help search for members.


deadlines and an RSVP in mailings.



How to stay in touch There will be no reunion until you announce it. All reunion communications should include date(s), time(s), location(s) and who to contact. Later include information about fees, payment/cancellation/refund, map and party instructions (theme, things to bring).  Letters No one minds photocopied letters.  Newsletters/email newsletters Newsletters are a popular form of reunion communication. Everyone submits news. Keep a schedule. When your members look forward to reunion news they learn to respect your deadlines.  Postcards Postcards are an easy and inexpensive way to communicate. Print a bunch for followup. Pre-printed postcards that announce “Save the Date” and remind that “Time is running out” are available at  Phone, fax and email It is wise to share phoning and followup responsibility with committee members. Use a phone tree where volunteers agree to call and notify a list of others until everyone is called.   A good division of labor is to have one person from each generation/branch/class/ unit/ group take responsibility to notify others in their “line.”  Web sites Many reunions use web sites for announcing and reporting changes and progress

How often should you communicate? A note in your Christmas card or a postcard sent in plenty of time to make reservations might be sufficient for some. A series of letters and newsletters build momentum, share planning progress, keep members informed or updated, generate enthusiasm and increase attendance.

Budget for staying in touch If staying in touch is your responsibility, count on donating your time and creativity to the cause. Costs include printing, postage, phone or fax.

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The invitation

Invitations can include

Who do you invite? Invite everyone

Don’t worry whether feuding cousins or black sheep will come. Let them decide. Eccentric members always entertain and give everyone something to talk about. If yours is a class or military reunion, your invitation goes to all known members. Finding them may be your challenge. Members of family reunions can be endless combinations, often something like descendents of William and Elizabeth (Webb) Ronan who emigrated from someplace in Ireland in the 1700s and settled in Hometown, USA. That could be thousands by now. Family reunions are often three generations (parents, children, grandchildren) or cousins who grew up together but have scattered around the world, or anyone with the same first or last name or…your own definition. Invitation goals are to encourage

 registration  anticipation  interest  participation  attendance

How to communicate

Invitation essentials answer

 what?  when? (time, day, date and rain date)  where?  cost  deadline(s)  RSVP  dates, details, prices  accommodations  special reunion events  themes, contests  special guests  programs, activities and worship services

For each mailing you should count



There are many choices for ways to communicate. Do regular email or snail mail updates. Mailings (letters, fliers, postcards, newsletters) get most people’s attention. Some live on, posted on refridgerators. More and more universally used, email goes a long way to reduce reunion costs. Email can be used for surveys, announcements, recruitment (volunteers, donations) and registration. Reunion websites provide another level of communication and community. Post reunion information before and summaries and pictures offer. Word-of-mouth is powerful

The invitation publicizes

Paper Printing Envelope Postage Labels (material + printing)

Keepsake orders, accommodation instructions, meal choices, directions, maps, special requests and events (tours, parties, auction, raffle). One of your greatest challenges will be getting members to respond to your communications. Always include deadlines and stick to them. If you can afford it, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE). Follow up regularly and extensively to achieve your goal. If your members respond instantly, skip this! If not, offer incentives for responding early. Set two deadline dates and for the earlier offer  a 5% discount  1st choice of tee time  something free Celebrate the first response as one of your awards: “…and again this year for the 60th consecutive reunion, Auntie Trudy got her reservation in before anyone else!” If you’re lucky, you’ll have a many-way tie.

x x x x x

(#) = $ ________ (#) = ________ (#) = ________ (#) = ________ (#) = ________ Total $ ________

Ask members to talk up your reunion. Encourage each other to respond – to stay in touch. Final pre-reunion mailing

Your last correspondence before the reunion should include:  final deadlines  final details  program or schedule  costs or fees  accommodation information  map, directions and instructions Publicity

If you are searching for members or simply want the world to know about your reunion – publicize it.  Send a notice to REUNIONS MAGAZINE for web listing.  Send a notice – invitation – to local or specialty newspapers and associations.

Postcards that make your reunion point! Send

e save save the th e date t when you’ve set it! da Send


Custom Printing $45 p/hundred; 50¢ each, Fill-in cards $15 p/hundred; 20¢ each; plus s/h: 100-200 cards – $5, over 200 – $10. Send message, check and request to: REUNION POSTCARDS PO Box 11727  Milwaukee WI 53211-0727

To charge, call 800-373-7933.

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GETTING THERE If members are flying

If members are driving

 What are the nearest airports? _____________________________________  Are connections good for all members?  Can members get special group fares or charter flights?  Is shuttle service available?

 How far must they travel?  How long will it take?  Are there construction or heavy traffic considerations?  What does parking cost?  Provide maps and directions.

If members are arriving by train or bus

If members are chartering a motorcoach

 Nearest stop/station _____________________________________  Are there convenient connections to arrive close to the reunion destination?  Does the hotel have a shuttle?




 Research how to hire a motorcoach  Determine interest  Is there bus parking at hotels, attractions and parks?  Will bus provide transportation throughout reunion?  If you charter buses at the reunion or caravan to attractions, know the minimum number needed to break even.  Hire motorcoach  Sell seats  Sing all the way to your reunion

REUNION ACTIVITIES What to do when you get there These are activities to plan ahead and organize for reunion day. If yours is a large reunion or you have many activities planned and if your reunion will last several days, consider a printed program. Make it a memento.

Activity or program times, places and requirements should be printed chronologically. Note: This is intentionally excessive to include many examples.


trivia or bingo. For win-win activities see books about noncompetitive games in your library. Round Robin introductions Self-introductions – everyone tells something about him/herself, something special or unique that’s happened since the last reunion, a milestone, success or triumph. Tell a story Board games help develop intergenerational camaraderie. Games to introduce, reintroduce Ask a story teller/griot to tell abou the group’s history, or or integrate can include a treasure hunt, reunion about an era or special anecdotes and remembrances.

NOON - 9:00 PM • Registration 7:00 PM OPENING RECEPTION MEET and GREET Icebreakers and Games

Saturday 8:00 AM • Registration 8:30 AM Breakfast 10:00 AM There should be activities for everyone. Tournaments and competitions


Teams can be made up by generation or mixed generations of people from scattered places so playing together creates a special bond. Inclement weather activities Leave no room for doubt if your reunion day is wet. If you said “rain or shine,” mean it and be prepared. Or include a rain date in all prior communication. Lunch Everyone on their own or an “event,” covered dish, pizza party, trail lunch, tailgate party, beach picnic.

Sunday Worship or memorial services

Remembrances are an important focus for most reunions. These are opportunities to celebrate special relationships as well as respect and honor ancestors, classmates or fallen comrades. Services can be held at  the host’s church/synagogue/mosque  with host’s clergy person at the reunion site  a special outdoor place or site important to your reunion group  a cemetery

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Tours

Make your group history come alive.  family homestead or farm  battlefield where elders or ancestors fought  schools elders attended  monuments, memorials, plaques that honor ancestors or members of your reunion group  significant churches, cemeteries Accompany all tours with personalized stories. Drive by grandma’s house, school, church and landmarks. If you’re hosting reunion guests and the tour is of your town, this is an opportunity to celebrate all the reasons you love where you live. Show off favorite museum(s), galleries, parks, zoo, exhibits, festivals and attractions. Ask for group rates or if there will be exhibits or events of special interest to your members. 7:00 PM Banquet and dancing • auction • raffle • talent show Worship service

If it’s in a church, ask the person presiding to recognize your reunion group. Offer to participate in the service by reading or serving at the altar. Use the service to make special dedications, donations or recognition. If your reunion has an anthem or special song, ask to sing it. Memorial Service A memorial service may be simple or complex. The ceremony may include a band, honor guard, guidon bearers or a simple wreath-laying with a prayer. Consider an evening candlelight service. Most importantly, honor memories of family, friend or comradeship.  Plan a dignified remembrance.  Retrace your reunion’s events and activities.  Choose songs or read excerpts from letters, diaries or histories. w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m



 Photos – a collection from everyone  Collect, sort, label and mount pictures of ancestors, history, triumphs, successes, victories.  Establish a mystery photo area to display pictures you can’t identify – ask everyone to help.  Reunion memorabilia, heirlooms, artifacts  Family tree  Time capsule

 Videos/slides/movies  Include subjects of mutual interest – past reunions, special events (mini-reunions, weddings, graduations, baptisms).  Schedule showings for rainy weather or evenings, or as background in a hospitality room.  Reunion histories Collect oral or video histories. Encourage youngsters to be interviewers, photographers, videographers.

GAMES Games reunions play Capture the Flag Charades Duck, Duck, Goose Find the Leader Follow the Leader Hopscotch Hot Potato Jump Rope/Double Dutch London Bridge Mother, May I? Pin the Tail on the Donkey Red Light, Green Light Red Rover Ring around the Rosy Ring Toss Scavenger Hunt Simon Says Steel the Bacon Tag Treasure Hunt Tug of War Water Balloons Wolf & Sheep Races Egg Carry Sack Race Three-legged Race 38 


Team sports Basketball Bowling Dodgeball Football Kickball Soccer Softball Volleyball Wiffleball Individual sports Croquet Frisbee Golf Horseshoes Relays Tennis After dark Flashlight Tag Kick the Can Stargazing Water Games Bob for Apples Dive for Pennies Tag Volleyball Water Basketball

Board games Backgammon Checkers Chess Clue Cranium Life Monopoly Pictionary Scrabble Trivial Pursuit TV board games Jeopardy Wheel of Fortune Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Card Games Blackjack Bridge Canasta Cribbage Gin Rummy Go Fish Hearts Old Maid Poker Solitair UNO War

Genealogy/History Games Ancestors & Questions Generations Life Stories Reminiscing Table Talk The Ungame In a category by itself Bingo In a class by themselves Crossword puzzles Dominoes Jenga Mancala Yahtzee Events Concerts Festivals Rodeo County/State Fairs

FOCUS ON KIDS Plan activities for kids, suitable to all ages present. Your goal is to keep kids happy, interested, busy, involved and interacting with cousins, family and friends. Include everyone. Emphasize non-competitive play and games.  Facepainting and temporary tattoos  History fashion show Ask families to bring clothes from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s – hats, ties, scarves, shoes, old jewelry. Add makeup for fun.  Piñata  Making and flying kites  Contests and races (prizes for everyone) Tug of war, three-legged race, water balloon toss, sack race, egg toss, limbo

 Arts and crafts Establish reunion colors. Have lots of paints, crayons, fingerpaints. Decorate rocks; press leaves and flowers; color family tree or crest. Make lanyard, yarn or string friendship bracelets/anklets.  Make reunion scrapbooks  Make a reunion quilt  Magician  Sports Swimming, horseback riding, tennis, football, softball, volleyball and soccer tournaments  Hiking, spelunking, exploring, discovering…  Nap area for babies and toddlers

MEETINGS Reunion meeting


Incorporated reunion groups must hold an official, annual corporate meeting. But all reunions need a time to conduct important reunion business. Essential meeting business  Elect officers and committees. This is also a good time to recruit organizing help and suggestions for your next reunion.  Treasurer’s report.  Set next reunion date.  Agree on next reunion place or choices for site selection committee to investigate. Optional agenda items  Enter milestones and changes in a reunion history book – births, graduations, weddings, deaths.  Make announcements of triumphs, achievements, promotions, retirements.  Instruct, announce or collect __ squares for quilts __ recipes for a cookbook __ keepsakes or treasures for display

Recognition, kudos and accolades

Celebrating members can be a feature of the reunion meeting or other event such as a welcome reception, banquet or dance. Recognize the person who came farthest, the oldest, youngest and ones with the most children or grandchildren; person with least hair, tallest, shortest; person who changed most, changed least; longest married, most recent parents, newest grandparents; most eligible single persons, first person to make reservations… and any awards traditional to your reunion. Farewell Sunday is often the day when tearful farewells prevail. Some reunions end after brunch, some after lunch and some go on through an afternoon picnic. When the inevitable parting time arrives, end with a circle, a moment of silent reflection or prayer for everyone’s safe trip home and return to the next reunion.

Color-code your reunion. Designate a color for each branch of your family. Use the color for leaves on your family tree, name tags and t-shirts.

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THEMES Reunion themes Theme parties require planning and advance warning for members to come prepared. Consider some of these ideas.  Ethnic An ethnic theme is fun and an important source of education and pride. Ask your historian for suggestions and information. Include costumes, music, dancing, food and re-enactments. If your group originated from many ethnicities, celebrate the diversity. Celebrate them all.  American history relived Revolutionary era; Old West, cowboys – a party around a campfire, read cowboy poetry, square dance, sing. Stage re-enactments or have someone teach Western dancing.  Eras Gay (18)90s; Roaring ’20s – dress like flappers, teach the Charleston; Big Band ’40s – stage a canteen dance, teach jitterbug; Rock-abilly ’50s; ’60s Hippies and Flower Children, ’70s Disco. Notes:



 Celebrate events Kentucky Derby; Oscars/Emmys – fashion your awards ceremony like the really lavish affairs; World Series; Olympics – make your tournament a group Olympics; Super Bowl; Space Odyssey – ask everyone who remembers to tell about when they saw the first person walk on the moon, Mardi Gras.  Crazy costumes Outrageous ties, crazy sweaters, silly socks, denim and diamonds, vintage from different eras.  Miscellaneous Hawaiian luau – encourage costumes, hand out paper leis, build palm trees, spread a little sand, sing Hawaiian songs; French bistro; regatta; pirates; tropical paradise; Cajun; Caribbean; beach; casino night; murder mystery; dance party; fiesta; and any other theme you can think of from movies or TV (Sesame Street, Star Trek, This is Your Life).  Surprises Christmas in July; beach in December.  What are your unique entertainment ideas?

ACTIVITIES Activities  Feature home grown talent

Encourage members to showcase special talents; classical trio for a reception; soloists for after-dinner entertainment; skits, dancing, a comedian or karaoke.  Your reunion theater Ask a talented group member or hire an actor to portray a “founding parent,” group leader or legend. Ask members to write, script and perform family history events.  Speakers Ask an elder to speak about family or group history, genealogy; hire motivational speaker.  Storytelling Encourage parents, grandparents and other favorite relatives to talk or contact the National Association of Storytellers.  Movies Show old time silent films and ask someone to narrate. Select favorites from then and now. Have an intergenerational talk about movies – people who’ve witnessed the history of film.  Videos or slide shows Rent videos; show family videos, past reunions, travelogs.  Workshops Use members who are experts or invite experts. Workshops about family health history, investing and money management, scrapbooking.  Lessons Ask members to share their expertise at cooking, baking, golf, rollerblading, kite flying.  Quiz show Pick a favorite quiz show and re-enact it with members as contestants or attend a show, if you’re in the neighborhood.  Predict the future Ask a psychic, tarot card or palm reader to entertain with predictions of a fabulous reunion and future.

 Teach dances Hire or draft someone to teach new steps; line or swing dancing, macarena, hip hop. Get everyone involved. Have the young teach older members the latest dance steps and older members teach the waltz, bunny hop or Charleston.  Disc jockey Be sure he/she has a wide variety of music from swing to Top 40 (or whatever the number is now!).  Break out in song Form a reunion musical group or choir to rehearse at the reunion and perform at a function or in church on Sunday. Notes:

 Magic show Use homegrown or hire talent. Ask kids to do magic!  Mystery night Hire a theatre troupe to perform or ask members to stage a reunion mystery.  Life achievement celebration Honor rites of passage and achievements; graduates, newlyweds, new babies, promotions, retirements. These can be incorporated into memorial or religious services. Ethnic celebrations, e.g., African American families incorporate Kwaanza principles to strengthen family celebrations. w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m




Food is a focal and memorable feature of all reunions. Reunion meals range from potluck picnics to formal banquets. Each meal requires careful planning whether the organizer is the cook, everybody chips in or all meals are catered. Reunion events where guests eat and drink might include a welcome reception, breakfast meeting, working lunch, luncheon for spouses, memorial brunch, coffee/refreshment breaks, dinner dance and awards banquet, and, of course, a picnic. General considerations for meal planning

 Consider special diets for health or religious reasons.  Make mealtime accommodate all generations.  If there are several generations, should adults and children sit together or separately?  Handicap access and ease – closest to the bathroom, end spot for wheelchairs, highchairs and boosters.

For some groups, cooking is the activity. There should be a head cook, “chef” or designated person-in-charge who makes menus, assignments, gathers ingredients and keeps preparation on time and on track. The bustle and camaraderie of a large group cooking together can add to the fun. Assign non-cooks to kitchen patrol.

How to pay for food

If the reunion lasts for several days, many variations are possible.  everyone pay as you go  all meals included in price of reunion or facility cost  some meals included in reunion cost, others on their own Pricing meals

Price items carefully before you announce the cost. Unless you have a benefactor, pass all charges on to your members. Include all the following in the cost. Cost per plate x number expected = $ _____________ Rentals (tent, dishes, flatware, tables, chairs) $ _____________ Decorations $ _____________ Set up cost $ _____________ Taxes $ _____________ Gratuities $ _____________ Insurance $ _____________ Total $ _____________ To determine individual costs, divide total by number expected. Time to pay – if food is part of cost

It is easiest if guests pay when they send in reservations. Ask hotel sales manager how to handle last-minute guests or no-shows.

Potluck picnic You’ll need…  someone in charge  a menu – to ensure that all food groups and group favorites are included  members who volunteer or are assigned to bring food, beverages Encourage cooks to bring special favorites. Ask them to bring copies of recipes and organize a recipe exchange.

 volunteers for  set up  service  clean up  ways to keep food and beverages hot or cold  grills, if not provided  ice, water  paper goods: plates, napkins, cups, plastic flatware and glasses  tablecovers  rentals – tables, chairs, tent, porta toilets  in case of inclement weather, a shelter or an alternative site

Catering services… Caterers can help with many details in addition to food. Most can recommend places and provide supplies and rentals. The caterer will need to know

How many people will be served? ____  Number of adults _____  Number of children ____ Will caterer…

 deliver, set up, serve, clean up? Make provision for leftovers. 42 


 include flatware, dishes, tablecloths and centerpieces?  deliver food without set-up and service?  provide food for you to pick up? Will the meal be…

 formal  informal

FOOD: SUSTAINING REUNIONS Planning a reunion banquet Choose and sample the menu before the reunion to avoid surprises. Many establishments offer a choice of entrees; if guests must choose main dish ahead of time, include the information on your registration.  banquet only  awards banquet  dinner/dance  buffet style  sit-down Ask about the waiter-to-table ratio – it affects service speed.  hor d’oeuvres only  dessert only

Set schedule for the banquet

 gathering time before food is served  service and meal time  speaker(s) schedule  entertainment time(s)

MENU SCHEDULE Sample of a reunion weekend meal schedule & cost sheet  Friday evening: Reception hors d’oeuvres, open bar, soft drinks *Cost per person $ _______ x number of people _______= $ ________  Saturday morning: Breakfast in hotel cafe or buffet; everyone pays their own  Saturday lunch: Box lunches furnished for a bus tour *Cost per person $ _______ x number of people _______= $ ________  Saturday evening: Adults – open bar, banquet, dancing *Cost per person $ _______ x number of people _______= $ ________ Kids – early pizza party followed by a movie and snacks *Cost per person $ _______x number of people _______= $ ________  Sunday morning: Brunch buffet *Cost per adult $ ________ x number of adults _______= $ ________ *Cost per child $ ________ x number of children _____= $ ________  Sunday picnic *Cost per person $ _______ x number of people _______= $ ________

Type of bar setup

 open  cash  tickets

Let the hotel do the cooking Good communication with the hotel’s catering and beverage manager and staff ensures their devotion to your reunion. They can save you from costly mistakes and make you a winner. Costs, menu choice, number of courses and service type (buffet style, sit-down) are all important.  Communicate early with catering and beverage managers. They know current trends – what works and what doesn’t.  Inform them about your group and its budget. It also helps if you know members’ likes and dislikes.  Inquire about alcohol regulations.

*Final cost includes tax, gratuity, set-up cost, room rental and decorations.

Each food and beverage function requires Where will meals be served?

 at home  at a church, synagogue, mosque  at a restaurant  banquet room at a hotel  at a special alternative venue like a museum, botanical garden or zoo Does venue require a designated caterer?


 at random  a head/speaker table  placecards Identify families or subgroups by color or border design.  assigned by subgroup: squadron, school year, generation Will the meal be followed by…

 a program  music  dancing

 a count guarantee 48 hours before the event Other considerations

 theme – Western, ethnic, holiday, Star Wars, Valentine, whether a corresponding menu is desired  decorations  music  beverage set-up What local regulations apply? Can you supply your own liquor, beer and wine? Is there a corkage fee?  seating arrangements  cost w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m


PRESERVING YOUR REUNION There are many ways to document reunions. New technology for preserving reunions makes us wish there’d been something like this to record our grandparents’ gettogethers. Now you must preserve reunions for your grandchildren using the myriad of tools available. Involve children and teenagers. Purposes for recording your reunion

 as a keepsake  to preserve history  as a fundraiser to sell to members Formats to consider

 Audio tape Audio tapes combined with photos create a family history account and can be used with video or as a book.  Photographs Photographs, especially photos on CD, can easily be incorporated into a video or in computer-generated documents.  Video tape Video recording creates a sense of atmosphere. If you can interview at the place where an event happened, more memories may flow naturally.  Computer Compilation of family history is enormously enhanced by software and Internet access. New applications are always being developed to integrate and manipulate still and moving pictures, voices and music. Use the occasion of the reunion to gather more for your project. If you don’t own a video camera, rent one.

 Become familiar with the equipment.  Spend time practicing before the reunion.  Ask for help with the basics. High school and college students often know a lot about video production.  Or hire a professional. Ask for samples, resumes and references. You’ll soon determine what you can expect. Be prepared

The photographer/videographer must expect to sacrifice social time and be available to capture spontaneity.  Enlist a photographer’s helper Engage a well-organized adolescent or teenager to carry a clipboard and keep a list of people as they’re photographed.  Include everyone Including everyone ensures an audience. Everyone whose picture is taken will be interested in seeing the outcome. If highlights and special events are featured, you will have a genuine treasure to be viewed for generations to come. Respect the wishes of persons who prefer not to be photographed. 44 


Tips for video success

Careful planning is crucial. Planning ahead means the difference between disappointment and a gratifying, entertaining record of your reunion.  Rehearsal helps. Subjects relax, feel comfortable talking into a microphone and in front of a camera.  Take your time; don’t rush making a video tape.  Check camera/microphone batteries.  Have sufficient supplies. Film, batteries, bulbs, tapes  Clean lenses.  Test equipment to ensure everything is working properly.  Forget bargain tapes. Buy the best quality tapes for video and audio recording.  Use a tripod to steady the camera and facilitate “zoom” shots.  Use effective lighting. Back or side lighting eliminates shadows.  Rent lighting equipment, if necessary.  Use lapel/lavalier microphone. The best possible voice recording.  Have extra sets of batteries for all equipment. The lights, camera and action of preserving your reunion

 Make a plan. It can be short or detailed as necessary. Cover all highlights. The outcome – not the production – is your goal.  Carefully assess the guest list. Make notes about guests that suggest places, angles and contexts in which each should be photographed. Concentrate on the oldest and youngest family members.  Arrivals and departures are events. A novel way to edit a video might be to show happy farewells at the beginning, then show what produced such joy and happiness.  Let youngsters tell what’s on their minds. “Kids say the darndest things” and their videotaped expressions may be the bear rug pictures of the future.  Take pictures in the kitchen. Gossip, giggling and stories galore. Tell the story of group food traditions. Interview cooks and food captains. Ask for their tips, hints and recipes.  If your reunion meal is pot luck, the groaning board is an event.

Be there when all the food is on display – the magic time of awe – the silence between the dinner bell and the matriarch bidding, “Dig in.” Include a special blessing, which may be the only solemn moment.


 Use video and audio to talk to elders. Encourage tall tales about covered wagons, floods, tornados, births, deaths, triumphs…and small tales about love, wisdom and the secrets to a good life.  Pinpoint places and objects of interest Interview at a home, church or school. If being at an exact place isn’t feasible, contact a museum and ask if Grandma can sit in or near a period collection while you record her memories. If she is recalling her wedding, ask her to wear or show her wedding dress. Use props, don’t just include “talking heads.” Use farm implements in a scene about farm memories or an airplane for memories of your subject’s flying days.  Encourage kids to talk to elders.  Collect history from elders. Oral history

Any tape recorder will do. A good microphone, however, is essential. The best kind for recording individuals is a small lavalier microphone clipped to a shirt or dress. If you are interviewing more than one person, a hand-held microphone can be passed back and forth to achieve clear sound. Make sure the microphone is aimed toward the speaker’s mouth.

Finishing touches All video tapes need editing. Spend the extra money for professional tape editing. Check the Yellow Pages under “Video Tape Duplicating & Transfer Service” and “Video Tape Editing Service.” Video editors can strategically place dates and names, dub-in music and close-up shots of photos, memorabilia or artifacts pertinent to the story. Professional editing will give your tape the look of a professional production. The finished tape is a precious record of family history. Professional copies of the master tape are also advised. Prices vary according to tape and labor costs. Save original tape and update to state of the art medium at least every five years. Who will distribute pictures or videos?

 Photographer The photographer can charge and keep income from photos or mark-up price and share profit with the reunion.  You or someone you appoint Buy (markup or sell at cost) and distribute to members.



It’s not over til it’s over. Success includes some final steps.

Each of the following is very important. On-site  Return all borrowed equipment (overhead projector, VCR and stapler from the sales office).  Pay all your bills.  Meet with hotel staff to make certain everything is okay. It’s easier to solve problems in person than by letter or phone later.  Tip staff who deserve special consideration.  Collect all the data and information you can about the number of meals eaten in the hotel’s restaurant, the amount of room service and number of rooms used by your group. This information is important for your next reunion negotiation to demonstrate your business and economic value. It is well worth the effort.  For a full reunion evaluation form for members and committees, send stamped, self-addressed envelope to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211 or go to to wrap up your reunion.

Not much later

 Write thank-you notes to committee members and key hotel staff. Write a letter to the hotel’s general manager and recognize employees – by name – who did an outstanding job. Such letters help management to make decisions about raises and promotions. You may also wish to give them a t-shirt, hat or other memento from your group.  Include a reunion summary from the chairperson, recommendations and treasurer’s report in a newsletter.  Analyze all the information you collect – both positive and negative – and give it to the committee for your next reunion.

Finally Sit back and contemplate the fact that each reunion presents new faces, challenges, problems and successes.

Celebrate your success! w w w. r e u n i o n s m a g . c o m


P.O. Box 11727 O Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 TM

Reunions Workbook  
Reunions Workbook  

A Step-by-step guide to planning the perfect family, class, military or friends reunion.