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Popp goes the reunion! Free stuff: Giveaways for your reunion! Happy reunion days: play, games and celebrating Display until July 31, 2013.

Vo l 23 n o 4 M AY / J u n e / j u ly 2013 $ 3 / U SA

in this issue Departments front Words – 4 ALUM & I – 6 The Reunion Project, a blog by Scott Ryan Six quick tips for great reunion attendance from Varsity Reunion Services Eau Gallie High School Class of 1965, “Medicare Reunion,” Banning High School Class of 1988, Clara City High School Class of 1963 Review: Lady Justice and The Class Reunion, a mystery by Robert Thornhill

BRANCH OFFICE – 10 Big Ancestry giveaway! Family tree charting by Elizabeth Knaus Review: Family Treasure by Barry J. Ewell

Reunion School – 12 Scrapbook – 14 Giveaway Box explanation Bringing hope and healing by Marius Prinsloo Hospitality Answerman by Dean Miller The Cure for Family-Trip Drama by Jake Redman Five best friends celebrate 40 years by Lee Elliott

Masterplan – 23 Hull Descendants Reunion by Jeff Hull Popp Goes the Reunion! by Mary McLees-Lane A Time to Remember by Susie Green Jenkins Family Reunion by Gay Givens Reviews: The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler Blacksnake at the Family Reunion by David Huddle Kidsstuff Family reunions are for teens too by Miranda Hammer Reports from lots of families: Warren, Hoene, Gant, Greenwood, La Touche, Ford, Miriam Cousins, McFadden/Gavender, Strong and Lawler Are we there yet? Green Bay Packers love kids by Edith Wagner

features – 34 Games reunions play Customized Amazing Race by Margaret Malsam Lots of reunion games, no “bored” games Why not a golf tournament?

Military Reunion News – 36 USS Sellers DDG-11 Reunion by Delta Hinson Fairfax County is where it’s at … especially if you’re a brat! by Dean Miller Military reunion planner forum, Vietnam stories

Reunion Resources – 38 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products On the cover Popp Family Reunion, Watertown and Brookfield Wisconsin.

May/June/July 2013 Volume 23 • Number 4 Publisher / Editor in Chief Edith Wagner Travel Editor Jacky Runice Art Director Jennifer Rueth Senior sales account manager Marion Liston Operations Manager Karla Lavin Web Wizard Josh Evert Administrative Staff Nicole Dettmering Ksioszk hospitality answer man Dean Miller Contributors Trudy Barch • Alejandra Cardenas Alysa Chandler • Judy Davis Michael DiLorenzo • Lee Elliott Cory Gillenkirk • Gay Givens Susie Green • Miranda Hammer Delta Hinson • Rose Hoene Elizabeth Knaus • Jeff Hull Tasha La Touche • Melissa Lawler Margaret Malsam • Mary McLees-Lane Mike Mireles • Karen Nieuweerta Gale Pinkston • Marius Prinsloo Jake Redman • Scott Ryan Mahalia Simmons • Jelayne Underwood James Warren • Ronnie Wimbush Reunions magazine, Inc. (ISSN #1046-5s235), is published 4 times per year. 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. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication. We solicit participation and take responsibility for submitted materials. Unless accompanied by a selfaddressed stamped envelope (SASE), submissions and photos will not be returned. 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 addresses, call for rates. Back issues available for $3 each plus postage. 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 53211-0727; 414-263-4567; fax 414-263-6331 | e-mail editor@reunions | © 2013 Reunions magazine, Inc. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 3


Be in touch!


Mail to Reunions magazine PO Box 11727 Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 call 414-263-4567 visit fax 414-263-6331 e-mail

s you look forward to your summer reunion, there is likely lots left to do. We hope this issue, our website, facebook and Pinterest pages are resources you turn to regularly as you count down to Reunion Day. We’ve tried to answer questions that come up all summer long. “What games or icebreakers can we play at our reunion?” “I have to make a speech, what should I say?” “What can we plan for kids?” By the way, we are always on the lookout for more ideas. Send your suggestions! In this issue

Summer reunion games are a focus in this issue (be sure to check the website for more). Dean Miller, our Hospitality Answerman, makes very important points about hotel selection and negotiation. Scott Ryan continues his report about finding classmates for his 25th class reunion. Sixteen year old, Miranda Hammer makes some very wise suggestions about making sure teens enjoy reunions for which she’s a prime example. And the USS Sellers DDG-11 and Military Brats reunions are celebrated as are many more families and classes.

Summer Giveaways! Our big news for the 2013 reunion season is Giveaway boxes! The easiest way for you to enter to win a box is online from reunionsmag. com, our facebook and Pinterest pages. Back to Nature Box There will be 15 boxes, a couple available every week from June 13th to August 16th plus other prizes including a full year ancestry. com membership plus software. Box contains are intended to be for bingo/door/contest prizes at your reunion. This little icon in this issue appears with some of the items in boxes. Full instructions and more pictures are on page 14.

And the winner is!

Hattie George

Hattie George, Cedar Hill, Texas, of the Cooper-Bledsoe Family Reunion won our Cookbook Giveaway. Three of the six books were from other family reunions and Hattie reported that her family is doing a cookbook for their summer reunion! Congratulations, Hattie! Your reunion: an internet sensation!?

We want to add more reunion videos or links to reunion videos to our web and facebook pages. Videos add a whole new dimension and give viewers a better idea of what goes on at reunions. We know that videos of reunion members, young and not so young, dancing the Electric Slide is a very popular theme and we promise that rather than choosing one, we will add all the Electric Slide videos. Won’t you add yours? You can link directly to our facebook page or email to and we’ll add it for you. We wish you a very successful 2013 reunion season. EW The Reunions magazine crew at the boss’s birthday party! Photo by Greg Faludi

Welcome to the 2013 Reunion Season!

Support our supporters

We cannot say it enough: without our advertisers you would not be holding this magazine right now. We urge you to contact our advertising partners, on these pages as well as on the web, to give them a chance to tell you what they can do to help make your best reunion ever. See you at the workshops

I will be speaking at reunion planning workshops June 1st at Newport News, Virginia, and June 22nd at Birmingham, Alabama. See details about these and lots more workshops in Reunion School on page 12. 4 Reunions v

Left to right are (back) Marion Liston, senior sales account manager; Jennifer Rueth, art director; (front) Josh Evert, web wizard; Edith Wagner, publisher/editor In chief; Lisa Leifheit, our favorite hairdresser; and Karla Lavin, operations manager.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 5

alum & I

The Reunion Project, a blog by Scott Ryan About this blog


his is a continuing blog by Scott Ryan about his experience in advance of the 2013 25-year reunion of his Class of 1988, Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact Scott at 248-945-9950;, subject line: “The Reunion Project.” The blog originates on Printed with permission.

Labor Day, Every Day F August 31, 2012

With the arrival of Labor Day, I’m intrigued by the various jobs our classmates hold. It’s probably not a surprise that many work in the military or for some type of government or defense contractor, since they grew up in the shadow of the world’s largest naval complex. In many cases, I’m willing to bet they have parents or other relatives in service and are carrying on the tradition. We also have many teachers among us; some teach in the schools they went to as children. I used to teach adults and found it to be very rewarding. I also notice that many of our classmates are stay-at-home parents – another tough job, but one they’re proud to have. I’ve also encountered some people who are fully involved in the beach way of life – working somewhere within the beach/boating/ fishing/surfing field. Clearly, these are people who love living along the East Coast and want to be consumed by the lifestyle. But what fascinates me most are the students who have their own companies. We have a few doctors and lawyers, and in most cases, I’m not surprised. Many showed ambition in school. Some were more outgoing than others, but as you listened to them, it was pretty easy to tell they were going to go far in life – some even had their profession picked out already. And then, there were classmates who didn’t make the homecoming court – or maybe even the honor roll – but have gone on to be successful with their own businesses. Those are the people I’m most impressed with. It takes creativity, nerves, and discipline to start your own company, whether it’s manual labor, health care, science, engineering, law, whatever. Many times, these were people I never heard a peep from in school. I guess they were quietly plotting their route to success, even if it was by accident. We’ve made contact with just over 300 of the nearly 400 people in our class, so that part of the project is in the home stretch. But, like any race, the last 100 meters is the toughest. A Plan Is Hatched F October 5, 2012

With all the effort to find classmates, we can’t lose sight of the actual planning. What good is a party if there’s nowhere to host it? A group of classmates recently sat down for the first of what will probably be several meetings to plan things. The big debate will probably center around the venue–and whether it should be at a hotel-type conference room versus a restaurant. Each has its merits, and we’ll be competing with summertime tourists and wedding season. Fortunately, we have friends and other grads who work in both areas – maybe we’ll have to call on one of them for a favor. We can’t just all show up in a room; there has to be some nostalgia to look at. You wouldn’t believe some of the things classmates have saved from high school. Not just yearbooks, but newsletters, student handbooks, lettermen jackets, boxer shorts, etc. I still use my high school key chain. To that end, I’ve still got some pictures, ticket stubs, and other items from high school. Even a report card. I think I still have my track spikes, too. I doubt anyone will care about those old shoes, but if I can dig up those pictures, I’m sure the great stories that 6 Reunions v

go with them will also be discovered. And maybe some embarrassment too. As far as finding classmates goes, things have slowed considerably. I’ve reached a point where emails and voice mails aren’t being returned or I’m chasing the same leads. I’m pretty sure we’ve got the right info in many cases, but it helps to know for sure. I think we’ve got a good group planning things – I’m guessing they’ll meet again in another month. I hope we’ll each have made some progress by then. The Reunion Project – Are We There Yet? F November 9, 2012

When planning a reunion, there’s a good reason for having a group of people work together: it’s a lot of work. As it turns out, picking a date was the easy part. I was hoping to be passing along some details today, but our group back home is still working on details. They are busy–with venues, food, a DJ, and other things. We hope to have it all finalized soon, as out-of-towners need time to make travel arrangements. I’ve already been getting some questions from classmates about when, where, etc. I wish we had an answer–but it’s going to take a little bit longer. We’re competing with weddings, tourists, and other events by having a reunion in summer. Traditionally, homecomings are in fall – but we felt that a summer event would mean better attendance. And we will have reached out to about twice as many classmates this time compared to our 20-year reunion. No promises, but maybe someone will put together a second-chance event later on for those who won’t be at the main event. We’ll have to find some hotels, too. From the numbers I’ve put together so far, two-thirds of our class still lives in town or within a few hours drive. And just one-fourth of the classmates who were invited to the last get-together wound up going, with only about 20 needing a hotel room. I can already tell we won’t be getting huge blocks of rooms all in one place. I’m also approaching a point that I was hoping not to reach until next year. Back when I began locating classmates, I set a goal of finding one classmate per day on average. So far, I’ve stayed ahead of that pace, but if I don’t get in touch with anyone else in the next few days, I’ll fall behind. I can’t lie – the lack of phone calls and emails being returned is frustrating. We’re trying to accommodate as many people as possible. And, we still have people moving, changing phone numbers, etc., which is another fire I keep trying to put out, with only modest success. The Reunion Project – Location, Location, Location F December 7, 2012

Well, we did it. Finally booked a location for our party. It’s at the Crowne Plaza in what is now Virginia Beach’s downtown area. Obviously the credit for getting it done goes to the part of the crew that’s out there. And I think we learned a good lesson: however much lead time you think you need, double it! As far as

Charitable reunions Reunion committee donates $13,419 to schools

T “good” locations go, we were running low on options. The other route would have been to change the date, but that would have been too confusing, and some Scott Ryan people had already started making plans. That freed me to send about 300 emails, half of which didn’t reach their destinations. Why? Good question, but I guess that’s what I get for setting up an email list that big. So now I have to track people down – again – to see if they got my email. I’ve already re-sent it to 100 or so classmates. At least my upcoming vacation is planned out. Of the 150 or so people who’ve replied, just over half are planning to be there. But the good news is that we have a location, a menu, and even some sponsors! This is the biggest reunion effort to date – and with so many people reconnecting with old friends, it’s a great chance for people to do business with someone they know. I’m even trying my hand at website design. Check it out (princessanne88. Let me know what you think. Along with Saturday night’s event, we’re trying to plan a Friday night gathering, too. And a picnic. Saturday is a party. Period. No tuxes, you don’t have to wear a suit or an evening dress. Show up and eat, laugh, dance. A wedding reception without any formalities. That means Friday will have to be more about food and friends – we’re working on a restaurant. I’m not sure yet if we’ll wind up making the Friday event a free one. We might just follow what the group for the 20th reunion did – pass the hat. Several classmates are only interested in the Friday event – in part, because certain friends will be there. And those friends will be there because of our exhaustive efforts to bring everybody together. I hope people take that into consideration. … to be continued …

he Hamilton County, Illlinois, All-Schools Reunion planning committee said that monies after expenses would be donated to the Hamilton County school district to benefit students. Based upon recommendations from each school, the Reunion Committee donated $13,419 to benefit the technological and safety needs of students in all of the Hamilton County Unit 10 schools district’s buildings. The donation was used for iPads at Hamilton County Pre-School; Google Chrome Netbooks for Dahlgren School pupils; interactive whiteboards and digital projectors for fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms at East Side School; and upgrading outside security cameras at Hamilton County Junior/Senior High School. From a report by Diane Kunkel, McLeansboro Times Leader, McLeansboro, Illinois.

Hopkins reunion raises cash for school


he Hopkins (Minnesota) High School Class of 2002 used their ten-year reunion as an opportunity to raise money for the Clear Spots Initiative and the Hopkins High School Angel Fund. The Clear Spots Initiative provides students and families who don’t have internet access with wireless mobile hotspots. The Hopkins High School Angel Fund is a general fund that helps students pay for field trips, after-school activities, and clubs. The Class of 2002 sold roughly 50 raffle tickets and raised $1,300 for these great causes. From a report by Cassie Hart on, Minneappolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.


au Gallie (Melbourne, Florida) High School Class of 1965, “Medicare Reunion,” the year everyone turned 65. See more at; facebook: Shared by Judy Davis, Titusville, Florida. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 7

alum & I

Six quick tips for great reunion attendance

1 Set the reunion date at least six months in advance. Send invitations and registration information at least four months before the reunion. Classmates need time to put the date on their calendar, make arrangements if they’re coming from out of town, and add the reunion cost to their budget. Note: Reunions magazine recommends setting the reunion date a year in advance and sending notifications as early as possible. 2 Invite classmates from various clubs or organizations to join the reunion committee. Having a diverse committee makes the reunion feel like an event for everyone. 3 Divide the list of classmates and have committee members make personal phone calls to encourage classmates to attend. Let classmates know how excited you are to see them and how the reunion won’t be the same if they aren’t there. Send personal emails – try to avoid mass email blasts – but stay away from facebook messages. While facebook is an easy way to connect, it is also easy to forget that message sitting in your facebook inbox. 4 Even though the price rarely affects reunion attendance, let classmates know what is included with their ticket. Be sure to mention a few intangibles, such as “seeing a high school friend for the first time in 20 years” or “an evening filled with stories only your high school friends could share.” 5 Spend time searching for lost classmates on facebook and Make it easy for classmates to find you to learn about the reunion. Set up a reunion facebook page and post reunion information on your personal facebook page. Include reunion information on your school’s website and in your local paper. Include the class reunion website address in all your email, facebook and mailed correspondence. 6 Don’t plan a night-before-the-reunion Happy Hour. It detracts from the big reunion celebration and gives classmates a choice of which reunion activity to attend. You’re having a reunion to bring your classmates together in one place at one time. More than one event defeats this purpose. Tips from Varsity Reunion Services, PO Box 39326, St. Louis MO 63139; 877-844-1014.

Half century celebration


e are in the process of planning our 50-year Clara City (Minnesota) High School Class Reunion. We were a class of 36 people in the small town (about 2,500 people) in southwestern Minnesota. The school is now combined with three other districts, so not the same, BUT the original gymnasium from our old school is now a community hall. We plan to have a catered lunch in that gym. Since our class was so small I am inviting mystery guests (people who were part of our class for some portion of those 12 years – should be fun to see how many we will recognize). For those who wish to continue

Web page: Call: 414.263.4567 Fax: 414.263.6331 e-mail: write: PO Box 11727 Milwaukee, WI 53211-0727

Subscribe! Call 1-800-373-7933 8 Reunions v

socializing, we plan to have an “afterglow party” at the local bar, which was there in our high school years. This game was a big hit at our 40-year class reunion. We had classmates complete this sentence on a piece of paper: “I bet my classmates didn’t know that I ______.” After collecting the answers, the MC read them and everyone guessed who did whatever it was. Answers were so funny. For example, “I started meds for ADD at the age of 50” and “I got my first tattoo at 50,” etc. Shared by Karen Nieuweerta, Montevideo, Minnesota.

The reunion: A time to reminisce about the good times or not


ecently I attended my 40-year high school class reunion. I thought that this might be the last, as the previous get-together had been poorly attended. It was a casual event. We played a Jeopardy-like game about our high school days, told lots of stories, laughed and reminisced. Facebook posts the next day confirmed that everyone had a really good time, and we can’t wait until our next reunion. A reunion is a good reminder that you never were as good as you thought you were, but no one else was, either. Maybe a reunion is best described as an evening of grace. From a story by Jim “Goose” Rawlings, RPh, in Modern Medicine.

Banning celebrates


e are currently planning a 25-year class reunion for Banning High School (Banning, California) Class of 1988. Our school and class were very small so we all knew one another. Our final graduation count was just 184 people! This is our third reunion, which we hope to make bigger and better than the previous two (10- and 20-year). There are actually two Banning Highs in Southern California. Ours is in Banning, and the other is Phineas T. Banning High School in

Banning (California) High School Class of 1988.

Wilmington. We make a special point to differentiate between the two in all our correspondence. Last reunion, we had people from the “other” Banning High try to sign up and while we’d love to have the extra bodies, they probably wouldn’t be comfortable not knowing anyone. We are meeting at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. We had our 20-year there and were very pleased. Visit Reported by Alysa Chandler, Vancouver, Washington.

Class of 1988 20-year reunion.



ady Justice and the Class Reunion is Robert Thornhill’s 12th novel in his Lady Justice mystery/comedy series (2013, 230 pages, paperback. BooksByBob, 660-383-6011, A 50-year class reunion is a time to party and renew old acquaintances. But Walt Williams isn’t an ordinary guy – he’s a cop and trouble follows him everywhere he goes. Walt is dragged onto the reunion planning committee. The plot thickens as a man ends up shot, and it appears one of his classmates could be the main suspect. The Mexican drug cartel is recruiting young Latino girls as drug mules and Kansas City Police have hit a brick wall until Walt is given a lead by an old classmate. Even then, it takes three unlikely heroes from the Whispering Hills Retirement Village to help Walt and Ox end the cartel’s reign of terror. Join Walt in a class reunion filled with mystery, intrigue, jealousy and laughs. A copy of Lady Justice and the Class Reunion will be in a class reunion giveaway box.


amily Treasures: 15 Lessons, Tips & Tricks for Discovering Your Family History, by Barry J. Ewell ($24.99, August 14, 2012, 464 pages, Cedar Fort, Inc.). Ewell’s Family Treasures is, indeed, chockfull of treasures for genealogical researchers regardless of the level of expertise. It is especially valuable to beginners who may not be aware of the wealth of resources, information-gathering procedures and data-tracking methods Ewell discusses in great detail and depth. The book is well written in an engaging style. It contains several of Mr. Ewell’s own experiences to illustrate his methods, his logic in approaching a research task, and even the instances of inspiration that sometimes steer us in the right direction. An extremely detailed explanation of forms and filing systems is unnecessary for today’s researchers, who use genealogical software to store, organize and retrieve information and images. However, it may be helpful to beginning researchers to develop an understanding of and appreciation for the hierarchy of information that we used to manage in hard copy, but now turn over to affordable database applications. Many forms and resources are available at a companion website, No index in electronic form so that they can search for key words, but it is may be a drawback for those reading a print edition. Review by Mary Thiele Fobian, Genealogical & Historical Research MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 9

branch office

The wonder of family reunions


abi Upton was asked to wear a long skirt and white-collar shirt typical of late 1800s attire and to pull her hair into a bun to represent one of her ancestors in a presentation during the family reunion dinner. About 18 presented the theme “Connecting the Past, Visualizing the Future.” The first woman who presented, a distant cousin, was dressed in slave clothes. She rendered a dramatic speech about being “Lucy,” who Upton discovered was her great-great-great grandmother. Lucy was born a slave and bore a son by Samuel Arnett. Arnett married a woman named Louisa, and together they bore 15 children. Upton represented the first of the 15, also named Lucy after her grandmother. Like Upton’s grandmother, she was known for cooking delicious pound cakes and salmon croquettes. Upton learned that the family she had only known as “my mother’s side” was called the “Lucy Line.” Each of the lines was announced and asked to stand at the dinner. As each person depicted an ancestor with creativity and personal nuance, she watched and listened in amazement. She could see the same traits displayed in the playfulness and energy of the participants. She more fully understood the power and wonder of knowing your roots as she heard anecdotes and brief histories of these blood relatives she had never previously known about. They came alive for her that night. A late cousin, Pat Lauderdale, gathered family stories during her doctoral work, and then wrote as much of the history as she could. Then she began organizing reunions, asking others to spread the word and gather as much history and as many pictures as they could to compile into a family history book. Lauderdale had just passed away a year earlier and they honored her at the banquet, for without her they would not have such a treasure chest of knowledge. Tabi Upton’s story appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Big giveaway! Family history in the palm of your hand!


our in five Americans are interested in learning about their family history and many are Reunions magazine readers. has a free 14-day pass to help you get started exploring your family history. one World Explorer Annual membership (new or extend an existing membership) plus Family Tree Maker software for MAC or PC (total value $353.44). Deadline: August 1st for one lucky Reunions magazine reader to win an membership. It gives you

Family tree charting

access to 11 billion historical records; 44 million family trees (user-created trees you can connect to); 185 million user-submitted photographs, scanned documents and written stories; more than 30,000 databases (including the 1940 census); and the largest online collection of historical military records. It is the largest online family history resource. Enter online (later in summer) from the contests and sweepstakes page at


amily tree charts by Elizabeth Knaus are a fun way to display ancestry. Each chart displays historical information in an artistic 19'' x 13'' format. It provides space to write fraternal and maternal information about each couple: name, maiden name, date born, date died, date married, and where resided The chart’s capacity – up to six generations – covers 62 ancestors starting with a child or group of siblings to 32 great-great-great grandparents. Family tree charts are available at One user wrote, “I gave a blank chart to my mother and another to my mother-in-law. I asked them to fill in as much as they knew. When I got them back, I filled in the opposite side with the other’s information. Then I had two complete charts – one for each of my children. It is important for me to pass on knowledge and the respect I have for my ancestors, who gave me life.” Knaus’ blog is “Family Tree: Count your blessings. Respect your family history. Enjoy your family present.” Family Tree Charts will be part of giveaways.


Look for these reunion resources online!

hile our Pinterest boards focus on all aspects of reunion planning, the family trees board (over 440) has many family history ideas and connections and hundreds of family tree ideas. On in the Family Reunion section you’ll find countless pages of reunion connections and ideas to incorporate family history and genealogy, family health history and family heritage touring into your reunion program. If you plan to beef up your history programming, explore first!


Most of these events are sponsored and presented by convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs). Most take place on Saturdays unless noted and, for the most part, are for people planning family and military reunions in the area of the CVB. All are free or at nominal cost and prefer or require advance reservations. For information about new events – added online, as soon as we learn about them – visit and click on workshops, conferences and seminars. Alliance of Military Reunions

Detroit, Michigan

Alpharetta, Georgia

Douglasville, Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Dunwoody, Georgia

Contact Skip Sander | 412-367-1376 | Contact April Cochran | 678-297-2811 Contact Athens CVB | 706-357-4430 Atlanta, Georgia

Contact Chantel Ross-Francois | 404-521-6647 Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Florida

Contact Candice Cocco | 239-338-3500 | Greater Birmingham, Alabama

June 20, 2013 Speaker Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Tara Walton | 205-458-8000, ext 206 Branson, Missouri

August 19-22, 2013 Military Reunion Planners Conference Contact Julie Peters | 417-334-4084 | Cabarrus County, North Carolina

Contact Carrie Hendrickson | 704-456-7969 | Chesapeake, Virginia

Contact Jennifer Ollinger | 888-225-5389; Contact Randi Miles | 678-715-6069 October 26, 2013 Contact Andy Williams | 678-244-9804 Durham, North Carolina

Contact Chelsey Jean Morrison | Estes Park, Colorado, YMCA of the Rockies

Family Reunion University November 1-3, 2013 Contact Laura Field at 970-586-4444, x6062 Fairfax County, Virginia

February 15, 2014 Speaker Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact Dean Miller | 703-752-9509 | Flint, Michigan

Contact Courtney Irish | 810-232-8902 | Fredericksburg, Virginia

Contact Kimberly Herbert | 800-260-3646 or Fredericksburg, Virginia

Contact C. Jeff Bunn | 888-889-5551 Chicago Southland, Illinois

Wednesday, August 13, 2013 Contact Jane Bushong | 888-895-8233 Cobb County, Georgia

Contact Melissa Legaux | 800-451-3480 | Columbus, Ohio

October 5, 2013 Contact Kari Kauffman | 800-354-2657 Dekalb County, Georgia

July 13, August 17, September 21, November 16, 2013 Contact Carol Murray | 800-999-6055

12 Reunions v

Grand Rapids, Michigan

November 9, 2013 Heidi Schmitt, 800-678-9859, ext 3557 Greenwood, South Carolina

Contact Lindsay Burns | 864-953-2464

Newport News, Virginia

June 1, 2013 Speaker Edith Wagner, Reunions magazine editor Contact 888-493-7386 | Peachtree City, Georgia

Contact 678-216-0282 | Prince George’s County, Maryland

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Prince George’s Community College | Largo Campus Contact Family Affair | 301-322-0797 | Rock Hill, South Carolina

Contact Columbus, Ohio

Gwinnett County, Georgia

Friday, July 19. 2013 Contact Cricket Elliott-Leeper, Gwinnett CVB | 770-814-6049 Kalamazoo, Michigan

May 20-22, 2013 Military Reunion Planners Contact Jennifer Williamson | 269-488-0057 June 8, 2013 Contact Lisa Kukulski | 269-488-0056

Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Contact Kevin Flowers | 800-551-8682; Winter Park, Colorado, Snow Mountain Ranch

YMCA of the Rockies, Family Reunion University Contact Group Reservations | 800-777-9622 Newport News, Virginia

Kissimmee, Florida

Contact Jadeine Shives | 407-742-8255 Lake County, Illinois

Contact Kimberly Ghys | 800-Lake-Now | Louisville, Kentucky

Contact Saundra Robertson | 502-379-6110 Memphis, Tennessee

Contact Lisa Catron | 901-543-5337 Minneapolis, Minnesota

Contact Casey Kluver | 612-767-8106

YMRC – Your Military Reunion Connection Chattanooga, Tennessee | May 13-16, 2013 Albuquerque, New Mexico | June 7-10, 2013 Portland, Oregon | July 21-24, 2013 Herndon, Virginia | August 22-25, 2013 Virginia Beach, Virginia | October 17-20, 2013 Jacksonville, Florida | October 23-27, 2013 Galveston, Texas | November 3-6, 2013


Fairfax County, Virginia

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 13


65th reunion in funeral home building


orty-five members of the Lincoln (Wisconsin) High School Class of 1948 have passed away in the last year, so the remaining classmates are no strangers to funeral homes. In fact, the class will be having its 65-year reunion in the gathering center of one. “I’m familiar with funeral homes at this age, so it doesn’t seem weird at all,’’ class member Alice Baryenbruch, 82, said. “As long as I can have an Old Fashioned, it doesn’t matter where the reunion is. I’m looking forward to the door prizes.’’ The Harrigan Parkside Gathering Center is actually across the parking lot from the Harrigan Parkside Funeral Home in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, in a separate building. Several deceased class members’ services were in the funeral home. The July event is being organized by Gerry and Germaine Waak, who have planned Lincoln reunions for the last 45 years. Gerry is friends with the owner and on the cemetery commission. “God works in mysterious ways sometimes,” his wife said. The gathering center was created as a multi-function hall the owners thought would be used primarily for funeral lunches. However, their first event was a surprise birthday party and has also hosted wedding anniversaries and business events. The location is affordable and handicapaccessible, which Waak said was important because many members of the class, whose average age is 82, use walkers, wheelchairs and canes. And reunion-goers won’t have to worry about running into a funeral at the same time as their party; two events can’t be scheduled at the same time because of parking logistics. The gathering center is decorated with 72 historical photos of old Manitowoc, so the Class of 1948 can take a trip down memory lane. The original class had 378 members, but fewer than 120 are expected to attend. Last, but certainly not least to Baryenbruch and others, there is a cash bar in the gathering center. Anyone familiar with northeast Wisconsin will tell you that if you are going to build a place like this, you better have a bar in it. From a story by Scott Stump, TODAY. 14 Reunions v

Summer 2013 Giveaway boxes Hurry! First deadline is June 13th!


or years we’ve collected intriguing promotional gifts from around the country, wondering what we could do with them. The answer is Giveaway boxes! We tested giveaways last fall with a FlipPal Scanner, and this winter with a Cookbook Giveaway – to great response. Look for a couple boxes and other prizes each week for this summer’s reunions. Boxes are filled with tschotchkes and mementoes you can use as bingo/door/contest prizes at your reunion. Some are a potpourri, others will appeal to specific audiences (kids, family, class or military reunions) or special themes (nature, spiritual). Also look for books and a BIG giveaway separate from the boxes. How to find Giveaways. In this issue, we’ve added this little icon to indicate a prize or a box. Announcements, details and links to entries for each box will appear in our monthly email Kids Box newsletter* and on the contests and sweepstakes and Free Stuff pages at www. There will also be announcements on our facebook page (Reunionsmagazine) and the Reunion Free Stuff board on our Pinterest page (reunionsmag). Visit these frequently until mid-August. How to enter. One entry per person per Giveaway box. Enter from one of the online places listed above or email or mail your reunion name, mailing address and choice of box(es) to or Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211. Family History Box

Back to Nature Box

How winners will be selected. We will randomly choose each winner the day after the deadline date and immediately post winners’ names on our facebook page and in the following month’s newsletters. A full list of winners will appear in the winter issue. Odds of winning will depend upon the number of entries. *You can sign up for the e-newsletter on our home page. Simply click on this button.

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Bringing hope and healing


ercy Ships is an international charity that was founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens. Mercy Ships currently operates the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world, the Africa Mercy, providing free health care, community development projects, community health education, mental health programs, agriculture projects, and palliative care for terminally ill patients. The ship is staffed by an all-volunteer crew from over 40 nations. Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the forgotten poor by mobilizing people and resources worldwide. They serve all people without regard for race, gender, or religion. Through free, basic, health-care and transformative surgeries, Mercy Ships becomes the face of love in action. The hospital ship Africa Mercy provides first-rate medical professionals, state-ofthe-art medical and surgical facilities, and health-care training to communities in West Africa that lack those critical services. A ship is the most efficient platform from which to deliver a state-of-the-art hospital to those port cities. It is a controlled, safe and clean environment ideally suited for serving patients and crew. Volunteers and patients thrive onboard the Africa Mercy, where their basic needs are met.

After planning for a year, Mercy Ships (www. hosted its first-ever Alumni Reunion Cruise. A group of 99 Mercy Shippers – from Canada, Belgium, South Africa, Holland, the UK and the US – set sail from Galveston, Texas, onboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas to the beautiful western Caribbean. Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica offered wonderful shore excursions, and the ship provided amazing entertainment and activities that included a rock climbing wall, ice skating, and miniature golf. It was a wonderful time for reuniting with old friends, making new friends … and enjoying a total disconnect from everyday life.

Alumni getting an organizational update from Mercy Ships President and Founder, Don Stephens.

Events like the Mercy Ships Trivia Night, above, were very well attended, and participation was lively!

Mercy Ships transcends borders to transform lives. For more than 30 years, the poorest of the poor have experienced hope and healing through the work of Mercy Ships and its many volunteers and partners. These are some of the free services provided through Africa Mercy. They have delivered free services valued at more than $1 billion. That includes 61,000 surgeries and 539,000 patients treated. In 2011, for example, Mercy Ships returned to Sierra Leone for its fifth visit in 20 years. During the port visit, the crew performed: 3,300 life-changing general surgeries, more than 2,600 eye surgeries, more than 34,700 dental treatments, and 10,000 medical consultations. In addition, the crew trained more than 450 local health-care professionals in anesthesiology, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery, midwifery and eye surgery. Many lives have been saved and changed. The reunion

I went on an exploratory cruise last year to see if a cruise-based reunion was even possible, I created the week-long schedule of events and activities to coincide and complement, rather than compete, with the ship’s schedule of entertainment. Port days were intentionally left open so people could enjoy the beautiful islands. 16 Reunions v

Combing through all my back issues of Reunions for all the advice and hints I could find, I did a lot of homework on the islands and contacted all three tourist boards and asked for maps and giveaways. I collected enough information and hand-outs to warrant goodie bags. I bulk-ordered tote bags though a vendor and got them screen-printed as a very usable memento of the cruise. The bags were a huge hit! I kept spotting them around the ship, as attendees instantly used them as beach and pool bags. I also procured lime green lanyards printed with the Mercy Ships website address, combined them with transparent pouches, and gave them to the attendees at registration. I used the key cards/charge cards everyone was issued by the ship as nametags. Not only was it a conversation starter with non-attendees, but it also made it easy for me to spot my group in a crowd. Having your reunion onboard a cruise ship makes so much sense. You don’t have to worry about accommodations, endless menus (and endless food preferences), venues/meeting rooms, etc. Royal Caribbean provided me with an onboard group coordinator who helped me take care of all the details … free of charge. We had the conference center to ourselves the whole week long, and the group coordinator went out of her way to help! Apart from the planned activities, we had assigned seating for dinner and sat together as a group. This became a highlight every day, and some even table-hopped within our group to eat with various companions. For those who did not want to be with the group the whole day, the ship provided excellent entertainment. I had nothing but good reports about the reunion and would highly recommend it! We are already planning our next reunion cruise – Alaska 2014! Reported by Marius Prinsloo, Mercy Ships Communities Relations Director Alumni Relations/Civic Partnerships/Speakers Network

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Hospitality Answerman by Dean Miller


Our family reunion is next summer and our immediate family is hosting. For the past two months, I’ve spent Saturday mornings going around looking at hotels. I started with a list of twelve hotels our convention bureau gave me; I’m now down to four I really like. Is there anything I should keep in mind as I make my final decision? There doesn’t appear to be much difference between the four that I can see.


There is no single easy answer to this question. The Speaking of the hotel restaurant, consider whether your ultimate selection of a hotel to host your reunion will attendees will likely want to dine there, at least for breakfast. You depend (as it should) on the needs, wants, tastes, and may have negotiated a great guest room rate but will your folks be expectations of your family members. You’ll know better than comfortable paying the restaurant’s menu prices? A true story: A hotel staff ever will exactly what your family members are looking hotel where I recently stayed charged $21.00 (plus tax and tip) for, what will delight them, and what will cause complaints. for a continental breakfast (coffee, juice, and pastries) and $22.00 Like Goldilocks, you have to pick the hotel that is “just right!” for a hamburger. Would your family members be comfortable Pick a hotel that is “too fancy” and you’ll hear complaints, just as spending that much? you will if the hotel “isn’t fancy enough!” They’ll be different You mentioned you’d personally inspected all the hotels you’re complaints, of course! thinking of using. This is great, but you may want to return a Start by answering these basic second time with another family questions. member and get his/her 
Dean Miller’s smart negotiation advice! v Can most of my attendees impressions, as well. Different arrow your hotel choices to a list of three afford the hotel’s nightly rate? people view things differently. Men “finalist” properties, assuming all three are v Are any “extras” included in and women can view the same hotel close to equal in location, facilities, rates, the rate that my attendees will very differently. The men in your amenities, etc. appreciate? Three big ones are family may like a hotel because it 
This is when you want to work through your parking, breakfast, and health club has eight sports channels on the CVB representative (which you always want to do!). and pool usage. guest room television and lots of big He or she can let the three finalists know they’ve v Is it a hotel where most screen monitors in the bar. The made it to the final round, and let each know who everyone will feel comfortable? women may be more interested in the other two finalists are. v If a number of your family the cleanliness of guest rooms, the 
Ask all three finalists to submit their “best and members will be coming to your size of bathroom counters, and final” offer to you by a set date, noting the one or reunion with teenagers, young amenities such as irons, good two items of particular importance to your group. children and/or infants, is the hotel lighting, and make-up mirrors. The Tell them you’ll be making a final decision within a “family friendly?” Is there a pool? A kids, of course, will want to know week afterwards. game room? A playground? Does the about the pool. So you really do You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the “best and hotel’s restaurant offer a children’s need to look at possible options final” offers that come back. Then make your menu? Are reasonably priced family from everyone’s point of view. decision by the date you’ve promised. restaurants nearby? More than anything, calling and Do not forget to notify the hotels that didn’t v Is the hotel close to things talking with planners of other make the cut so they can release any rooms and/or we’ll want to see and do during the groups who have met in the hotel function space they are holding for you. reunion? will give you a good sense of how v Is the hotel staff well the hotel can meet your accommodating? family’s needs. If a hotel is unable v Has the hotel hosted similar groups in the past? Are they – or unwilling – to provide “references” of groups like yours able to provide the names and contact information for reunion they’ve accommodated in the recent past, you may be wellplanners they’ve worked with? advised to select another property. Likewise, a glowing review – Next, you’ll want to identify any unique needs your group may or two – about a property from a group similar to yours should have, and note how well the hotel is equipped to handle them. factor heavily when you make your final selection. Let’s say your reunion features a talent show or dance that Hope that you have a great reunion! includes a band and/or a singing group. Can the hotel offer a About the Hospitality Answerman room where you can make lots of noise and not annoy other guests Dean Miller is national sales director for Visit or groups in the hotel? In this instance, two hotels may have Fairfax, in Fairfax County, Virginia, and a great offered you similar meeting rooms, but if one is off in a separate friend of reunions. He hosts a reunion-planning wing, while the other has guest rooms located directly above you, workshop each February. He can be reached at you may want to go with the first hotel, so your Saturday night 703-752-9509 or talent show won’t cause anyone a sleepless night! Note: We have established a place on our website Consider the senior members of your family who’ll be for all of Dean’s columns so you can read all of his advice in one attending. Do any have mobility or other limitations you’ll need to place: consider? Ask to look at the hotel’s “accessible” rooms. Are the rooms – and bathrooms – truly accessible? What about the ballroom and the restaurant?


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The Cure for Family-Trip Drama Tools and Tips for Getting to Your Next Reunion by Jake Redman


ere are a few travel preparation tips that could keep money in your pocket and stress at bay. Consolidate your itinerary. It’s painful to watch a fellow traveler fumble through stacks of paper to find his reservation details. “But I booked two double beds, not a king! Here, I have my confirmation number ... wait, it’s here somewhere …” TripIt (tripit. com) is my tool-of-choice for putting everything in one place. All you do is forward confirmation emails from your air, car, and hotel reservations to a special email, and all the information is nicely ingested and organized into one. All your travel plans are in order and available for quick reference on Tripit’s website or apps for your smartphone or tablet. Don’t wait on a good deal. Even if you’re the family travel pro, don’t sleep on good airfares. Confusing advice about the perfect day and time to book your trip dominates the web, but if your chosen destination is on sale on Friday afternoon, it may not be on Tuesday. Lists like those at help you keep tabs on fares. You can keep an eye on what a normal fare looks like until it drops … then book the tickets to your reunion. Subscribe to their Twitter feed (@airfarewatchdog) to act on fares as they pop up. Book hotels with points. Those credit card points you don’t know what to do with? Don’t use them to fly. Instead, use them to stay. You’ll usually find better value in hotel point redemption than you will trading in airline miles for seats. Beware of the add-on. Add-ons are quickly becoming the travel industry’s bread and butter. Be careful to choose only what you need, whether it’s being able to board the plane early or hotel meal packages. While it’s convenient to get the whole family on board the plane first or have lunch planned ahead of time, it can add up quickly, as many fees are assessed per-person, not per-family. Use everything you’re paying for. Don’t overpack. Baggage fees can spiral out-of-control if you don’t keep your family’s packing in check. Weed out what you don’t need before it’s in the suitcase. Don’t pack a hairdryer; there’s one in the hotel room. Assess what your family really needs. Bring just one set of travel-size products for starters, then, pick up what you need once you arrive. Many hotels will deliver amenities right to your room if you “forgot” to bring something. Arming yourself with the right tools and information is easier than ever, thanks to the web and the ever-growing roster of smartphone apps. While this is all great, don’t overload your head with too many “tricks,” or your phone’s memory with a zillion travel widgets. Find what works best for you and use a balanced mix of tips and technology to ensure that traveling to your reunion is stress-free.

About the author

Jake Redman is the founder of, where he has leveraged his personal travel experiences to help others get the most out of their travel experience. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 21


Five BFFs celebrate 40 years


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he texting term “BFF” was unheard of 40 years ago, but last summer, five “best friends forever” met for a 40th birthday reunion in Dover, Ohio, on the cul-de-sac where they all were raised. Friends and families of the five spent the day reminiscing and sharing photos and memories of BFFs are (left to right) Kera Schaar Ackerman, Domenico their special little street Spinelli, Heather Swinehart Lecce and Tom Ackerman. where everyone pitched in Not shown is Jonathan Stucky. to help raise their children. The five who grew up together – Heather Swinehart Lecce, Domenico Spinelli, Jonathan Stucky, Tom Ackerman and Kera Scharr – all moved to the area when they were about two years old. Reminiscing about their years together, all agreed that Dover, and particularly their street, was a wonderful place to grow up. They recalled kickball games, hayrides, camping out in the street and neighborhood parties. “It was safe here,” Tom said, “a Norman Rockwell atmosphere.” “We had so much parenting,” Spinelli commented, and Kera added that it really was a village raising children. “We were in and out of each other’s houses as if they were our own,” she said. “There were 18 children in these five houses, and even some of the neighbors without children saw to it that we were doing the right things. Kathy Sanders was one of those, and she later became our teacher.” No one could think of a downside to having been part of the neighborhood. Normally, the group’s relay team would have been running the Akron Marathon at this time, but they decided to celebrate their birthdays with Lecce instead. The following day, they traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to support her by participating in the Heart Walk, sponsored by the Adults With Congenital Heart Defects Association and The Children’s Heart Fund. Born with Double Inlet Left Ventricle (three chambers instead of four), Lecee was taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus when she was one day old. She has undergone five open-heart surgeries and has a pacemaker. At 19, she was given the life-saving Fontan procedure, and was in the hospital for four months. “My friends were there for me the whole time,” she said. Heart problems did not deter Lecce from being an active member of the group while growing up. All five attended the same elementary, middle and high schools, where everyone but Lecee played in the band. All graduated from college. While some people consider reaching 40 a part of the downhill slide to old age, none of this group agreed. All said they are happier now than at any time in their lives, and count their upbringing as the reason. “ I thank God every day for bringing me this far,” Lecee said, “I never thought I would see 40, and here I am with my very best friends.” Kera added, “We are reliving our wonderful childhood with our children, trying to give them the same experiences we had.” The friends have scattered in many directions. Still, the apple falls not far from the tree. Spinelli’s parents still live on the cul-desac, and his sister now lives two doors down. Kera’s sister bought Stucky’s mother’s house, and her mother still resides in their family home. A new generation is growing up there now. The five BFFs hope they will be there to see them in ten years when they celebrate their 50th birthdays. Reported by Lee Elliott, Dover, Ohio.


Hull Descendants Reunion

Hull Family Reunion


he Descendants of James Riley Hull braved a brutal August Oklahoma heat wave to meet for the 75th annual Hull Family Reunion. The Hulls met in historic Guthrie, Oklahoma, also home of a family patriarch’s gravesite. The children always have a great time at the “Kids’ Table,” loaded with fun family fact teaching activities, including coloring pages and word search puzzles and cousin bonding games like checkers and card games. Adults enjoyed browsing displays of family artifacts, genealogy charts, photos and journals. In celebration of a chosen ancestor birthday jubilee, bookmarks with their picture and a brief biography were given out, along with special commemorative custom-printed pencils. In addition to lots of adult visiting time, everyone enjoyed a great potluck lunch. The afternoon festivities continued with “Highlights of the Year,” when we paused to remember historical family dates from the past. A real highlight was the new “Family Bingo,” a bingo card template downloaded from the internet. It had numbers (representing birth, death and other dates, and trivia) inserted along with youthful pictures of ancestors. It was an easy creation that reaped great rewards. Young and old alike had a great time guessing or remembering the correct

Hull kids love to color.

answers when the bingo caller announced the clues. Those who got “bingo” won simple prizes. The annual “Show and Tell” is a longtime tradition. Everyone gets a brief

chance to tell their family events from the past year. We learn about weddings, births, deaths, job changes, moves, special vacations and more. These reports, in the Hull Family Reunion Newsletter, help keep those who could not attend up to date. To round out the day, the annual auction raises funds to pay for reunion expenses. A barbeque gift basket, an artist-signed china doll, a silver charm bracelet and a collection of other items – including things kids could bid on – made the auction successful and entertaining. The day wrapped up with much more visiting and return trips to the dessert table. Reported by Jeff Hull, McKinney, Texas.

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Popp goes the reunion!


The gunny sack race was huge hit!

The matriarch of the family, Monica (Popp) Houdek (age 85) looking at family artifacts.

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or several years, family members asked about or suggested a family reunion (our family totals 359+), but something was always going on – births, weddings, funerals, graduations, planned vacations – in each branch of the family tree. There was never a “good time” to hold a reunion. In 2011, a few family members decided to go ahead, pick dates and start planning. Several people volunteered to serve on a reunion planning committee. Knowing that a cousin worked for Reunions magazine, we read the online magazine, which was quite helpful in planning our event. Several of us met in October for a face-to-face planning session. A budget and ideas about how to pay for the reunion were discussed. Dates and locations were chosen for meals and activities, and a program was tentatively decided upon. Conference calling kept the reunion planning committee connected when emails became too lengthy or involved, or when voice communication was preferred. At the same time we were updating relatives’ contact information so that we could send “save the date” cards, invitations, hotel information and reminder letters. Emails and “save the date” cards generated widespread interest. Another relative suggested collecting family recipes to make a cookbook, which turned into a reunion gift for everyone. Another suggested a game she thought would be fun. Others volunteered to help by scanning old Great-great Uncle Dick and Cayton Thompson (age 8) breaking photos for a digital photo frame and the ice with a game of People Bingo. slide show, making a poster depicting the number in the family, donating bingo prizes or baking cookies. The tech-savvy couple on the planning committee created unique name tags, generated maps showing where all the relatives lived, made family books in e-reader formats, and later uploaded reunion photos to a domain everyone could use. The website will continue to be a repository for all electronic reunion information. A heritage trail list and map of historic family-related sites were created and distributed for people to explore on their own time. We had a wonderful, fun-filled two days of reunion festivities. Our reunion was truly multi-generational. Some families had three or four generations present, and

Grandma Popp was well known for her fabulous baking and cooking. Everyone received a cookbook of recipes and anecdotes as a memento. We were even able to include copies of original recipes in Grandma’s handwriting.

ages ranged from infancy to 84 years. Nine of the ten family branches were represented; 166 members from 24 states attended either one or both days of the reunion. Saturday’s event was at a member’s home in Watertown, Wisconsin, where a turkey dinner was served. Upon arrival, attendees were given name tags which depicted their generation in the family and any memorabilia they had purchased. Young children could play in the house with toys or in the sandbox outside. All ages played an original Popp Family Bingo game. Relatives visited inside or in the yard and worked Nationwide Popp-ulation map showing where the 4 generations of 10 families reside. word searches for each branch of the family tree. Popp artifacts newest descendants born in 2012, and oldest were on display and a slide show of old family living descendant. “Old-fashioned” games – photos played. Youth and adults played corn such as a potato sack race, peanut on a spoon hole or skateboarded. A group photo of 143 race and the like – were provided for the descendants present was taken outside. youngsters, with members of the older Sunday’s event began with a Mass officiated generation showing them how to play. There by a second-generation descendant who is an were a few guessing games, as well as a “place ordained priest. The day continued in a park in the second generation cousins in birth order” Brookfield, Wisconsin. Prior to lunch, we played game. Children enjoyed the playground, ran “people bingo” with relatives walking around to and rolled down a hill in the park and cooled get someone to sign corresponding squares on off in a sprinkler. their bingo card. A catered cold lunch was Everyone had a wonderful time and provided. After a prayer and lunch, there was a contributed to a fantastically successful reunion. Pledge of Allegiance and then a roll call of We sent follow-up letters soliciting feedback relatives currently or previously in the military, about whether attendees would like another medical or teaching professions. We recognized family reunion, and if so, at what time interval. those who traveled farthest, have the most Reported by Mary McLees-Lane, family members, had the most members Wilson, North Carolina. present, live in the original couple’s hometown,

4 generations of nametags were worn on lanyards or adhesive labels by the littlest ones. The numbers indicate birth order within each of the 10 families.

Popp Family Reunion, Watertown & Brookfield, Wisconsin, July 2012.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 25



Jenkins Family Reunion

The Secrets of Happy Families


he Secrets of Happy Families by New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, declares family reunions one of the secrets. Yup! Family reunions. But you already knew that. And, oh yes, he cites families who have been featured in Reunions magazine! Secrets is a compendium of ideas from many experts and problem solvers who shared their best practices with Feiler – who, in turn, experimented with some of them himself. He honestly reports what worked and what did not work for his family, even though it worked for others. His view of reunions of closeknit families is that they are built by smart games, innovative competition and creative exercises that promote cooperation. He says that whatever makes you happy, doing it with your family will make your family happier. All happy families, according to Feiler, adapt all the time, talk (a lot), and play. The Secrets of Happy Families is an easy, common-sense read that will make you smile and nod in agreement. EW The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler, William Morrow Nonfiction, hardcover, 261 pages plus appendices, $25.99; also an ebook. We will be giving away The Secrets of Happy Families to four winners. Deadline June 20, 2013. To enter, send an email – with “Secrets of Happy Families” as the subject line – to In the body of your message, provide your name and mailing address and name of your reunion. You can also enter from reunionsmag. com contests and sweepstakes page. We will draw the lucky winners at random. Good luck!

It is the year of the Water Snake!


lacksnake at the Family Reunion by Vermont poet David Huddle is a collection of people poems, centering mostly on family and childhood, a journey into the past. The title poem, illustrated by a teenage girl holding a snake, sets a tone of anxiety but is soon followed by investigation of familiarity, relationships and early childhood’s impact on adulthood. There is sadness – as in “What the Stone Says” – but more often humor about family. My favorite character is Aunt Constance, which my own family would easily understand! There are, in fact, poems some might find just right for quoting or reading at a reunion. EW Blacksnake at the Family Reunion by David Huddle, Louisiana State University Press, 72 pages. $17.95. A copy of Black Snake at the Family Reunion will be in one of our summer giveaway boxes. 26 Reunions v


co-worker of our reunion chairperson, Cynthia Spencer, knew that we were planning a reunion and were having challenges finding the perfect spot. Our committee looks for destinations that are family-friendly, with lots of things to do onsite. The co-worker’s family had been to the Avi Resort in Laughlin, Nevada, and really enjoyed it. So Cynthia, my twin daughters (10 years old at the time) and I took the four-hour drive from Long Beach, California, to check it out. We don’t have relatives in Laughlin, but once we toured the Avi, we knew we had found the right spot. The resort offers something for everyone, in a beautiful, relaxing setting. For those who golf, there is an 18-hole golf course and for those who like to fish, fishing licenses can be purchased onsite. For fitness buffs, there are an onsite gym and hiking and running paths that border the river. For movie lovers, an 8-screen theater shows current

movies. For those who like to gamble, a casino offers over 700 slots, at least 20 table games, a sports book, a keno lounge and bingo hall. A free shuttle takes shopaholics to the outlet mall and gamblers to casino row in Laughlin. The young adults really enjoyed the onsite fireworks store and night club. My twins were “blown away” by Kids Quest – the indoor child entertainment center. Kids Quest is safe, clean, secure, supervised, and provides so much for kids to do. As a mother of young children, I had reservations about going to a reunion at a casino, but three main things sold me on the Avi: the beautiful outdoor pool area, the private beach, and availability of guest rooms that don’t require you to go through the casino to access amenities. In addition, there are fast food places my kids enjoy (Subway and Sbarro Pizza). The main thing was that “the price was right”! What a bargain. The rooms were very affordable! We worked with the tourism office to get area maps and other things to put in goodie bags we gave family members when they checked in. All the onsite amenities allowed us to plan the perfect four-day reunion, which included a Family Fun Night on Thursday, a Classic California Beach Party on Friday, the Jenkins Legends Ball on Saturday evening, and a Worship Service on Sunday morning. During free time (there was plenty!), family members enjoyed all the fun things to do at, in, and around the resort. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of all the hotel, catering and water sports rental staffs. The only downside for me and others was the 114 degree temperature, but it didn’t stop us from having one of the most memorable family reunions ever. Reported by Gay Givens, Long Beach, California.

A Time to Remember

A “

Time to Remember” was the theme for the 50th family reunion of the descendants of Jeff and Mary Lue Willis Ford. Over 120 members reunited to celebrate this half-century milestone event at the homestead and other locations throughout Talbot County, Georgia. Reunion-goers began the weekend at a Friday night Meet & Greet with good food and lots of fun. Refreshments were served while family members and friends mingled. We modified the traditional BINGO game, using the names of Jeff and Mary Lue and their children – as well as pivotal ancestral locations – instead of numbers on Bingo-like cards.

Game winners shouted “I’m a Ford!” instead of “bingo” much to everyone’s delight.

On Saturday, members toured Ford ancestral sites and Talbot County historical landmarks. This self-guided driving tour featured the homestead/museum, family church and cemetery, several locations on the national historic registry, and other notable attractions throughout the local

area. To guide sightseers to destinations, the reunion planning committee designed a tour booklet and CD containing driving directions to each location, as well as historical facts, pictures. The Saturday evening banquet was the reunion’s pinnacle. A local high school cafeteria was transformed into a classic banquet hall adorned in gold, for the reunion’s golden anniversary, and red, the reunion committee’s favorite color. Materials for a self-guided driving tour featured the homestead/museum, Dinner was served “cafeteria” family church, cemetery and other notable local attractions. style while a slideshow of family photos scrolled in the background. During hand to capture new family photos and a dessert, the family celebrated with gospel commemorative group photo. songs, prayers and praise dancing. The A family history keepsake booklet keynote speaker provided an inspirational included the family’s history based on oral message followed by tributes and testimony and official records, pictures of memorials to deceased family members, the ancestors, and the family tree, which acknowledgements of family traced our roots back to 1864. accomplishments and milestones, and The 50th Ford Family Reunion greetings from local, state, and national culminated on Sunday afternoon with a elected officials. family picnic. Traditional picnic foods Large glass vases filled with blank were on the menu: hot dogs, hamburgers, 12''x12'' family tree sheets, old family chili, chips, and réchauffé* from Saturday photos, and copies of redacted family night’s feast. records (patriarch’s and matriarch’s 1902 Since the very first reunion in July marriage certificate, their death certificates 1963, the Ford family has gathered and 1900-1940 Federal Census records) annually to celebrate. Jeff and Mary Lue were tabletop centerpieces. Guests were died years before this custom of reuniting encouraged to keep the centerpiece contents the family began, but as a lasting legacy to as souvenirs and complete the family tree them, 13 of the 15 children who survived sheets to remind them of their rich to adulthood and their children’s children heritage. Other banquet activities included and so on and on, still maintain the a silent auction of precious old photos and tradition and look forward to upholding the photo collages of prior years’ reunions tradition for years to come. dating back to 1964. Proceeds were * Réchauffé are leftovers. donated to next year’s reunion planning Reported by Susie Green, fund. A professional photographer was on Fayetteville, Georgia.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 27


Family reunions are for teens too by Miranda Hammer amily reunions are sometimes dreaded by teenagers. Keeping that in mind, here are some great ways to bring the whole family together in a teen-approved way. Friends are extremely important to teens. Inviting your son or daughter’s friends to attend a family reunion can be special. Then the family can see a social side of the teenager. I’m 16 and I know that family events are much more exciting if I’m allowed to bring someone to introduce and hang out with. It feels great when my family brings someone I enjoy being with into our home or event and makes them feel like a part of the family. Another thing all teens love is music. So keep the reunion upbeat by turning up some tunes! Fast music will make everyone more active and keep things interesting. There should be a place where teens can socialize. At our family events we use the playroom as a teen room. In the teen room, we set up a table with snacks and sodas. We leave a pile of movies and CDs which eventually become the background noise. This is ideal because it gives a place for teens to go, where they can socialize as peers of the same age group and where conversations are age-appropriate. No listening to Mom talk politics! Arrange a family game because people of all ages love games. If everyone is included, everyone will have fun. Many teens enjoy activities like swimming, ping-pong, foosball, basketball and other games. This is why family reunions should be held in unique locations. Maybe a gym, a rec center, or a community center nearby would work. Give cameras to teens. Social media being the way it is today, teens are great at documenting events and most will see it as a fun activity. Just expect some silly pictures! And to extend the fun, ask teenagers to make an album from the pictures they took. It’s not every day you can get teenagers to participate in family activities willingly, but if the family reunion is planned right, you’ll get a lot less whining and many more fun memories with your teenager.


yummy sandwiches and snacks all day, and the teens all brought friends along to hang out. I brought my boyfriend, Dylan, and we took one of the kayaks out on the water, almost to Fox Island, across the little bay from Arletta. Having a lot of relatives and friends my age there to talk with and enjoy the party made it one of the best days of the summer. And knowing that my opinions about what we should do and what foods we should eat was important made me feel like I was respected by the other relatives. And most of all, it was fun to watch everyone have such a great time – even all of us “hard-toplease teens!” Miranda with her friend Dylan.

of the family drives from all over Washington State to meet at the beach at either Point Defiance’s Owen Beach Park in Tacoma, Washington, or at a house Marylou owns in Arletta, Washington. This year we went to the Arletta beach house and spent the day playing along the rocky shores on the Puget Sound. I helped to plan meals and entertainment, which included mini-soccer games on the lawn and several kayaks so everyone could play in the water. We had tons of finger food and

About the author

Miranda Hammer, 16, lives in Tacoma, Washington, where she is a member of her high school student senate and a leader on school and community projects related to anti-bullying issues. She enjoys writing, traveling, friends and family. She fills the rest of her time working as a caretaker to her elderly great-grandmother as well as taking classes at a local college as part of their early entrance program. She hopes to apply those credits toward a university where she will study pre-med.

Our reunion

The annual Scamehorn Family Reunion is a gathering of relatives on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. My great-aunt Marylou Weaver and her family drive from northern California and the rest 28 Reunions v

Kayaks, with Fox Island in the distance.

Lots of families

Is there anything better than bubbles?


ccording to James Warren, Tyler, Texas, the Warren Family Reunion kids are given the opportunity to volunteer for activities such as emceeing, performing in talent shows, working the sign-in booth, making names tags and helping set up. Rose Hoene, Duluth, Minnesota, writes that lots of the Hoene Family Reunion activities center on the kids. They are always asked what they want to do, and generally seem to enjoy just being with their cousins, aunts and uncles. “At this point we have a bunch of new babies and we have a lot of


Strong family strong men take tug-o-war seriously! Pun intended.

responsible for coming up with activities and games. Tasha La Touche of Mount Holly, North Carolina, reports that her daughter designed the t-shirt for the children who participated in the program at the banquet. The Ben and Mable Ford Reunion shows a PowerPoint review of past reunions. A children’s store is set up where children can buy items with “reunion money.” There is a family bingo game for children and adults. Teens are given cameras to catch special pictures; they turn cameras Strong Family Reunion kids prepare to whack the piñata. in at the end of the day. “At our summer reunion this year our 20- to 35-year-olds who are becoming entertainment will be us – the family,” more involved.” Hoene’s personal goal is writes Trudy Barch, Homewood, Illinois, for the younger generation to continue the about her Miriam Cousins Club Reunion. tradition, and “many of this young group She asked the young children to are our best ‘helpers’!” participate with juggling, magic, rap, etc. Kids at the Gant Family Reunion help Alejandra Cardenas reports that the with decorations and offer ideas about what kids can do at the reunion (kids know McFadden/Gavender Family Reunion includes kids in cooking and baking. best). They also have responsibilities, like Younger children can measure and count praying; they pick a grandchild each year ingredients. They talk to older children to say the food blessing or pray, according about the science of cooking. Make to Mahalia Simmons, Huger, South learning fun, and create something Carolina. Their reunion kickoff every year is a family picnic where they play games to delicious together! Gale Pinkston, Lakeland, Florida, determine who will be family of the year! reports that everyone in the Strong Family At the Greenwood Family Reunion, kids – including children – is encouraged to age 6 and up are official photographers. make planning suggestions to committee Some also help with cooking and serving members. Children are the center of food. Some teens/preteens watch younger attention all day Saturday, as most events kids so adults can relax, according to center around them. The kids help set up, Jelayne Underwood, Monroe, Wisconsin. participate, and clean up. La Touche Family Reunion kids are

hether homemade or a staged party, bubbles make everyone happy! Bubble Parties Texas (www.bubbleparties provides entertainment for parties and events. Their bubble parties, appropriate for young kids (ages 3-6) include music, dancing, games and lots and lots of bubbles. They can adapt a program for any theme or age group, according to Mike Mireles, president and kids entertainer. Here they were at the Lurie & Veronica Keener Family Reunion at the Eldridge Park Pavilion in Sugarland, Texas. Homemade bubble solution!

1/2 cup original formula Dawn dishwashing detergent 5 cups water 2 tablespoons glycerin

Keener Family Reunion enjoys bubbles!

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 29


Teen descendant writes about his reunion


escendants from across the US and Canada enjoyed a reunion picnic at Dundurn Park, across the road from Hamilton Cemetery where Thomas Holland (the grandson of John and Polly Howard) and his wife are buried in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Thomas John Holland arrived in Hamilton at age 15 after a dangerous escape through the Underground Railroad that involved swimming across the Niagara River to Canada and freedom. Thomas John Holland’s great-great-great grandson, Jackson Holland, born in Hamilton, is 15 years old, the same age his ancestor was when he escaped. The Toronto Star asked Jackson to write about his reunion experience. These are some of Jackson’s thoughts. My extended family of 250 came to Hamilton to honour Thomas John’s courage, his selflessness and his memory, and to learn about the place he called home. The three-day reunion began with a boat cruise in my city’s harbour, followed by dancing and a picnic. The youngest member of the family was four months old, the oldest a 95-year-old man. President Obama sent greetings. It was so exciting to read

A teen’s love for family history

President Obama’s message, greeting our entire family and wishing us a wonderful reunion. There were so many people, so accomplished in almost every conceivable area: arts, music, business, education and intercultural relations. So many relatives are working to make a better world. I was inspired by the stories of achievement, and awed by the numbers of people I can call my family. It was astonishing to learn so much about my ancestors and what they accomplished. To be among so many high-achievers motivates me. Knowing I’m the next chapter of this story of history, courage and success in my family reassure me that I’m here to do great things, because it’s in me ­– strength is in my soul and it’s in my blood. Editor’s note: Thomas John’s last name was “Howard” before he changed it to “Holland” to evade bounty hunters and transition to Canada. Fifteen-year-old Jackson Holland is an International Baccalaureate student at Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton. From a story by Jackson Holland and Toronto Star story by Bruce DeMar.

Reunion honors son


aylor Jackson’s mission was to put the Redding family history puzzle together for the family’s reunion. Taylor (15) says that kind of research “chills me to my core.” Some of the pieces are blank, others missing, carelessly discarded over the years. Taylor, a high school sophomore, recalls the first time he attended a reunion of the family of his grandmother, Stephanie Wheeler, when he was four. Taylor looked around and asked, “These are all my cousins?” Since then he has had an interest in learning about his family. He has met family members he did not know and made many friends. Taylor’s efforts resulted in the Redding family’s 247-page history book, Miles Apart, Yet Close in Heart. Several members of the reunion committee contributed, but many agreed Taylor did most of the research. One cousin, who has boxes of information about the family in her basement, said Taylor spent hours researching. He was persistent. Some of his friends wondered why he was interested in genealogy, Taylor said. “But most thought it was cool and some even asked for help to find out about their families. He utilized, and Taylor’s Redding family has been hosting reunions since 1929. From a story by May Lee Johnson in the South Bend Tribune, South Bend, Indiana. 30 Reunions v

Pool games are a highlight at the John Francis Lawler IV Family Reunion.


elissa Lawler, Ball Ground, Georgia, very generously pays for her family reunion, the John Francis Lawler IV Family Reunion. The reunion is named after Lawler’s son, who was lost in a tragic accident in 1999. The reunion is always held at Lawler’s house, where there is a pool and large rooms for food, gifts, and crafts. It is a very long day – from 8 AM until after midnight most years, always the week after the fourth of July. Prayer, good food (with a theme most times), raffle, guest book, balloons going heavenward at the end of the day, Survivor, and pool games for the kids. The reunion includes about 30 children. The kids are having a blast. They do crafts, and the older ones make crafts with the younger ones. Some of the kids do the decorating. They enjoy karaoke, a raffle, best shirt, hat, contest or a contest where they have to decorate something, such as a sombreros last year.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 31


Are we there yet?


avid Boesch, author of the memoir Pins on a Map: A Family’s Yearlong Journey Around the World, suggests that you make a spontaneous rule that could break up the road trip at any moment. Vow to stop at every go-kart track, driving range, batting cage or whatever interests your family in order to break up a boring drive. Spontaneous stops give kids something to look forward to. Know thyself. Pay attention to kids’ body language. If kids are bored, do activities to tire them out. If they are tired, slow down. Don’t be afraid to split up. Boys go one way, girls go another. It is good for family karma and allows both groups to do what they want. Michael DiLorenzo, author of Family Time, Unplugged & Outdoors, Memories are Made on Vacation and Tips for the Road, offers these helpful tips for the road: v Games, games, games! Yes, there is ample entertainment for drivers and riders in cars. The goal is to bond with the family. So consider a fun DiLorenzo – albeit off-color – game like “Road Kill RoundUp.” Give points: two for the first to spot a poor critter, three for correctly identifying the species, two subtracted for a false road-kill call, three subtracted for misidentifying the species. v Beware of dairy drinks and smelly snacks. A spill in the backseat can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip. Take along plenty of healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and to avoid the sugar and salt in junk food. v Consider the busiest traffic periods in metropolitan areas. Avoid big-city rush hours and gridlock misery. v Tech helps. Apps and websites can help find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. On one of your devices, create a music mix that appeals to the entire family. v Schedule pit stops. Consider local culture. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes. “The greatest family memories are created in shared adventure,” DiLorenzo says. “Outdoor recreation is filled with memories just looking for a family to bring them home.”  opies of DiLorenzo’s book, Adventures C with Jonny, will be in children’s giveaway boxes. Are we there yet? is the title of a Reunions magazine Pinterest board with dozens of suggestions to make the trip to your reunion more enjoyable for kids.


he National Center for Missing and Exploited Children advises that children carry some form of identification and family/ emergency contact while visiting an amusement or water park or other crowded place. SafetyTat is a temporary tattoo that helps keep kids safe and connected to their parents. The tattoos read, “If Lost, Please Call” and lists your mobile phone number. They are easy to apply and perfect at water parks, theme parks or other crowded surroundings. S afetyTats will be in children’s giveaway boxes. Visit 32 Reunions v

Here’s a reunion thrill!

Green Bay Packers love kids by Edith Wagner


t seems that men and boys from the locker room to would view Green Bay as the practice field several a great reunion destination city blocks away. Young where they could worship at Packer fans – from about the altar of the Packers four years old through ( The junior high school age – Greater Green Bay Packers are not just a line up outside the locker Convention & Visitors Bureau rooms with their bicycles, football team (Go, Pack!), 920-405-1176 but an institution. They are skate boards and the only non-profit, scooters, hoping a player community-owned major will pick their “vehicle” league professional sports team in the US. to ride while the kids run alongside They are revered like no other football carrying players’ helmets. Take your kids’ team and it is well worth soaking up a little of that admiration, no matter how you feel about football. Lambeau Field will be your destination and a well-guided tour is the place to start. You’ll not have access to the field or the underbelly of the stadium except on a tour. It starts in the shadow of Packer legends Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi, names and histories quite familiar to even casual football fans. Also in Lambeau Field are the Packer Hall of Fame – where 90 years of history come to life, and the Packer Pro Shop – where you, too, can join the saturation of people wearing Packer gear. Kids line up hoping a A very special Packer-only tradition player will pick their bike that you must include if you’re there to ride to practice. during pre-season … watching players go

Tim Masthay (8) chooses one lucky little boy’s bike to ride to practice.

bikes and have them line up for the glory! Packers practice is free and open to the public. Arrive early and join the railbirds to see Packers in action. That may be your best and only chance to see the team up close, because all games are sold out with a waiting list of almost 100,000 for season tickets and a wait of 956 years, according to Wikipedia.

About the author

Edith Wagner is editor of Reunions magazine and, yes, a Packer fan.

Nick Perry (53) leads a parade of players on the way to practice.

Note: There is a board at called Things kids do at reunions. Over 300 more ideas! MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 33


Lots of reunion games! Changing a game tradition

Traditional family activities

ory Gillenkirk, Monroe, Michigan, wrote that she is trying to change the “Gillenkirk family game,” which is usually Euchre. Now they have games for kids while adults play in the Euchre tournament. “I’m switching the game to UNO because it’s a family reunion, so the whole family should be able to play.” They also have a candy guessing jar. Whoever gets the number right or is lower without going over, gets the candy.

We have a reunion every four years with about 55 descendants of my parents, on the family farm, the first weekend in August. We had our own Olympics with a plastic boomerang throw, an egg toss, a bubble gum blowing contest, a water balloon toss, and driving a garden tractor pulling a garden trailer through a maze – blindfolded! Persons in the trailer verbally direct the driver. We also drew silhouettes and had everyone try to guess who they were. One year we had our own Wheel of Fortune. It was complete with the host and hostess dressed up. Puzzles pertained to our family, of course. There were even a couple of commercials. – Kathy M.


Wimbush Family Feud

The Wimbush Family Reunion was sparked by a surprise game of Family Feud according to Ronnie Wimbush, Martinsville, Virginia. The game was a huge success. It had contestants jumping and dancing just like the ones on TV. Prizes were games and videos whose contains focused on family. You need someone to control the remote, a person to act as scorekeeper, and a referee to make sure the game goes smoothly. Remember, it is Family Feud – but remind contestants it is just a game. Bridgeman games

Troy Bridgeman, Guelph Mercury, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, describes games at his family reunion. After everyone has eaten, there are games and races. I was quite good at the three-legged race but I never stood a chance against my brothers and cousins during the normal running race. Among the most entertaining events for all ages is the shoe kick. The object is to fling your footwear farthest. It is harder to aim than you might think. There is always at least one unlaced projectile that strays off course and sends spectators scrambling in all directions.

Family Reunion Olympics

Another kid’s “Olympic style” games included a sack race, apple bobbing, hula hoop contest, 3-legged races, bubble blowing, Mello Yello chug-a-lug contest and water balloon toss. Ribbons were made of red-white-blue ribbon with homemade medallions with family name printed on it. All participants received a ribbon. In the evening, we had “adult” games. Two relay teams walked with half-dollars between each player’s knees and deposited the coin in a coffee can, then tagged the next contestant. Prizes were suckers, candy bars, etc. Older members play bingo. And just a few more games

Find jigsaw puzzles that represent family interests or family histories, or have last year’s family reunion photo made into a puzzle. Games can include basketball free throw, pie-eating, danceoff, tug-of-war, dodgeball, obstacle course, volleyball, home run derby, hula hoop, singing and soccer.

Why not a golf tournament?


ur surveys show about 20% of reunion members want to play golf. Thus, whether you play golf or not, it might be wise to plan for golf or provide information about where your members can play. For some, just the fact that they played golf will make them love your reunion! Consider establishing a reunion golf tournament! These can be some of the contests!

Contest ideas for a golf outing Single Putt

Two players take turns hitting the same ball at alternating holes.

34 Reunions v

Fewest putts

Players strive to have the lowest number of putts for the round. If there is a tie, putting contests can determine the winner. The shortest drive measures the shortest distance the ball travels down the fairway. Closest to the pin

The object on a par-three hole is to hit the ball as close to the hole as possible. Have a measuring tape handy in case two shots are very close. Prizes! Great options include traditional trophy cups, crystal awards, personalized golf balls or gloves, and/or Belgian chocolates shaped like golf balls. From “19 Ways to Nail a Golf Outing” on Close to 300 more games on our Games Reunions Play Pinterest board.

Novice golfers have a chance to win this contest on the course. Players use hockey sticks or other unexpected pieces of equipment while putting. The player who makes the longest putt wins. “Alternate shots”

All members play their own balls at each hole. At the completion of the hole, the lowest becomes the score.

Shortest Drive

Participants try to make one long-shot putt of at least 50 feet (golf equivalent of the half-court basketball shot). Unconventional Putt

“Best Ball”

Customized Amazing Race

ur creative younger generation customized an Amazing Race competition, somewhat like the TV show. Teams of five or six had to assemble a puzzle to get their initial instructions. Then, they had to go to local attractions and family historical spots around town and report back at various points. Tasks celebrated family history by asking trivia questions about common Gathering assignments for the Amazing Race. ancestors, the late George and Frances (Keller) Malsam. The couple owned the local telephone company, whose old switchboard is displayed in the WaKeeney History Museum. Teams were required to find the old switchboard and take a trivia test from family members about where George and Frances were born, the church they attended, their middle names, their hobbies, etc. Other tasks included taking a picture of a terracing machine (invented and patented by George and Frances’s son), making a rub-off picture from a Veteran’s Memorial plaque in the cemetery, and snapping a picture of an old fighter airplane on display. Each team was given money to buy food at a local snack shop and deliver it to the food bank at the police department. The teams also had to visit the fair grounds to find out about contest winners.

One of their more odious tasks was eating sardines. One of our grandkids likes sardines and proudly helped his team surge ahead by eating all the sardines.

About the author

Margaret Malsam, Denver, Colorado, is the author of two books and many magazine articles. She loves connecting with friends and family at reunions and has written about several Malsam reunions for Reunions magazine. Photo credit Mike Malsam


Making a rubbing on copies of plaques at the Veterans’ Cemetery in Wakeeney, Kansas.

No “bored” games (NAPSI) – Stevanne Auerbach, PhD. (aka Dr. Toy), recommends board games as “an antidote to tech overload.” “These are times children remember best,” Auerbach said. “Games help children learn to follow instructions, plan strategy and handle playful competition.” Heartland Consumer Products’s new game combines both card and dice games. Square Shooters is a matching game. Flip a card that assigns a playingcard hand, then you have three rolls of the dice to try to match the hand. Players can use the game to create a dice version of almost any card game, including Rummy, Poker and 21. Visit What is your Improv•Ability?

Improv•Ability is an exciting card game, encouraging two or several players to take on characters and dive into designated plots. It is family fun or creative team building for ages 7 to 107! Improv encourages assertiveness and creativity, and increases players’ speaking ability, poise and confidence. The game changes as players do. Each deck includes 52 cards: 50 plots involving four characters each, plus one card each of rules and prop ideas for game play. Visit Square Shooters and Improv•Ability are in Games Giveaway Boxes.

Kindred: This family is above par


ost families show up at reunions with salads and desserts. The Wuethrich (pronounced WEET-rick) family brings their 9-irons for an annual best-ball outing of over 40 years. The Wuethrich Open started as a welcome-home from Vietnam celebration in 1972 and has become a staple for one Saturday each June. A celebration follows at a Wuethrich family home near the fourth hole at Kaufman Park in Bloomington, Illinois. One son reserves the dates at the golf course and Sportsman’s Club and sets up four-player teams. The winning team earns a traveling trophy. All tournament scorecards (except for the first year) are preserved in a large album. There are no repeat champs. No one plays with the same people two years in a row. Spouses don’t play together, except for newlyweds. The Wuethrich Open is a feel-good event. Not once has Mother Nature not cooperated. Never in 40 years has rain washed it out. It wouldn’t dare. From a story by Randy Kindred in the Bloomington Pantagraph (blog), Bloomington, Illinois. MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 35

e military reunion news

USS Sellers DDG-11 Reunion


SS Sellers held its reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, beginning with a Thursday afternoon reception. Sea stories were plentiful. Almost all the attendees had arrived so the room was full of chatter about today’s and yesterday’s Navy. It was a time to get reacquainted with old and to meet new shipmates. Former shipmates from commissioning (1961) to decommissioning (1989) were in attendance. On Friday we toured historic St. Augustine, Florida. This tour proved to be one of the best we’ve ever had. (People who had been on previous St. Augustine tours said this was even better.) Our tour guide was professional and knowledgeable. He took us to places we were not expecting, and we had plenty of “me” time for lunch and shopping. On Saturday we toured a modern US Navy destroyer, USS Roosevelt DDG-80, in Mayport, Florida. Since this destroyer is a modern Aegis class ship, we had the opportunity to compare our USS Sellers to one of today’s most powerful warships. The Roosevelt’s crew was delighted to show our group all over the ship. It was amazing to see the amount of technology. It brought back many memories of being at sea on the Sellers as we walked

Touring historic St. Augustine.

around the deck of USS Roosevelt. The ship was very clean and the crew polite and professional. In our group picture beside the ship’s main gun, we’re sporting our new Sellers polo shirts. We are very proud of today’s Sailors. Saturday evening after our business meeting, we attended a Gala Event sponsored by the Jacksonville Historical Naval Ship Association. This is an annual fundraiser to bring the last Adams Class Destroyer, USS Charles F. Adams, to Jacksonville as a museum. Ours was the largest group present, with almost 60 attendees. Sunday morning we had our traditional breakfast with a memorial service to honor shipmates who had passed on to the ultimate duty station since the last reunion. Our next reunion will be in San Antonio, Texas, in October 2014. Many attendees said this was the best reunion. Those who were attending for the first time said they are already planning to attend again in 2014. Our goal is to keep the Sellers legacy alive by getting more and more former shipmates involved and attending reunions. Visit www. Reported by Delta Hinson, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USS Sellers DDG-11 reunion attendees on the deck of USS Roosevelt DDG-80 in Jacksonville, Florida. Past President,USS Sellers Association.

Military reunion planner forum


olunteer Military Reunion Planners (VMRP) is a web forum for sharing experiences from past reunions and ideas for making future reunions better. Membership is voluntary, free and available to any/all interested VMRP. To join the group, go to VMRP/ and click on “JOIN THIS GROUP.”

Send your reunion story and pictures to 36 Reunions v

Vietnam stories (NAPSI) – The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has a campaign to highlight Vietnam veterans’ stories in a series of “Experiencing War” website features, titled “Vietnam War: Looking Back.” The features highlight remarkable and intriguing wartime stories of veterans who served during the Vietnam War era. Each story is digitized and accessible on VHP’s website, vets/. The mission of the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. In addition to recorded interviews, VHP also depends on volunteers to donate veterans’ original photographs, letters, military documents, diaries, journals, two-dimensional artwork and unpublished memoirs. To learn more or participate, visit

Fairfax County is where it’s at … Especially if you’re a brat! by Dean Miller


ormally, being called a “brat” is not something you’d want to hear. But for the sons and daughters of tens of thousands of American military personnel and foreign service officers stationed overseas, being a military brat or a foreign service brat is a badge of honor. It means you grew up living in different countries, probably moving regularly with your family, getting used to making new friends quickly and easily, learning new languages and absorbing new cultures. You’re proud to be a Brat! Many Brats attended high schools located around the world that were (and are) run by the US government for children of American service members and civilians stationed there. In fact, there are now so many ASA (American School Abroad) alumni groups around the country that they have their own umbrella organization to assist them in organizing and holding reunions: The Overseas Brats, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas (www. Three Brat alumni groups elected to get together in Fairfax County, Virginia, recently. Fairfax County’s proximity to Washington, DC (right across

Kubasaki Brats at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Berlin Brats Reunion

the Potomac River), makes it a natural location for Brat reunions. Many reunion attendees were stationed (at least for a while) in the Washington metropolitan area while growing up, making getting together here a true homecoming. And the area’s wide variety of attractions, museums, and activities ensures that any group will find lots to see and do. Graduates of Kubasaki High School, on the Japanese island of Okinawa, met at the Sheraton Reston hotel for three days of fun, festivities, and reminiscing. Attendees spanned a wide range of class years, but the weekend was highlighted by the 50-year reunion of members from the Class of 1962. A total of 154 Kubasaki Dragons and their spouses enjoyed seeing the Washington, DC, monuments by moonlight, as well as touring the White House. The group’s hospitality suite was decorated with a large torii, a ceremonial Japanese gate found at the entrance to Shinto temples. The group’s banquet event included Okinawan dancers and musicians playing the sanshin, a three-stringed banjo unique to Okinawa. Reunion chair Sunny Schwentner

noted, “This was the BEST reunion we have ever had. We never thought we’d be able to find authentic Japanese musicians here in Fairfax County, but we did, and this really made the reunion special!” Meanwhile, at the Marriott Fairview Park, Brats from Berlin American High School and Karlsruhe High School celebrated their common high school heritage with a weekend full of German food, a “volksmarch” (a ten kilometer hike through nearby woods), and July 4th fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Attendees recalled how Berlin High School was featured on The Ed Sullivan Show at the height of the Berlin Crisis in the early 1960s. The Berlin Bears and the Karlsruhe Knights joined together for a trip to the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon, where a fellow Berlin Brat, Lt. Col. Kip Taylor, had perished. According to Berlin Brat Association President Jeri Glass, the highlight of Saturday evening’s banquet was the promotion ceremony of US Army Lt. Col. Michelle Estes, overseen by US Air Force Major General Frederick (“Rick”) Martin. Both Lt. Col. Estes and Major General Martin are Berlin Brats. Lt. Col. Estes, on active duty in Afghanistan, flew to Fairfax County while on leave for her promotion ceremony. Over 400 graduates of the two schools attended the reunion.

About the author

Dean Miller is the National Sales Director of Visit Fairfax and worked with the planners of these reunions. He’s eager to help you plan your reunion in Fairfax County, Virginia, too. He can be reached at 703-790-0643; MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 37


Welcome to Reunion Resources! 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.


2200 Ninth Ave. North, Birmingham AL 35203 Birmingham is becoming one of the most celebrated reunion cities in the southeast. There are lots of details to see to – good planning is hard work. The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is here to help. For more information regarding reunion services, please contact the Convention Bureau at 205-458-8000 or 800-458-8085 | fax 205-458-8086 |



4875 N Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92106 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 hospitality 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. 619-224-3621 800-650-6660 | fax 619-224-1787 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 8



Make your search for the perfect family reunion destination easier! FREE FAMILY REUNION DESTINATION LOCATION SERVICE: and click on “EMAIL US your Request for Group Accommodations.” We will then send your requirements to Cabins, Vacation Homes, Lodges, Motels, Condo’s, B&B’s, and Campgrounds that can accommodate your desires; each one will email you directly with additional information. OR download our free Colorado Vacation Directory to compare reunion locations, which includes Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do.

WESTERN RIVIERA LAKESIDE LODGING & EVENTS 419 Garfield Street, Grand Lake CO 80477 970-627-3580 |


2939 N County Road 31D, Loveland, Colorado 80538-9763. Western reunions year ‘round! Authentic Colorado horse & cattle ranch, family owned since 1946. 3200 acres in the Rocky Mountain foothills, one hour from Denver airport. Providing exceptional cowboy adventures: cattle drives, overnight pack-trips, Western entertainment, fishing, hayrides, rock-climbing, rafting. River-side accommodations, wholesome meals and activities for all ages...ideal for Family Reunions! Toll Free: 877-667-3999 or e-mail 38 Reunions v

The Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort The only property in the Vail Valley located on 20 spacious acres of Colorado beauty. Our 1-3 bdrm condos and townhomes provide all the comforts of home, that’s why families & groups choose to make the VRC their reunion destination. Activities for all ages: hiking, tennis, swimming, cycling or good old childhood exploring. Have a BBQ in our beautiful park area. We are a Colorado tradition of family, fun and friends. The Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort: 4695 Vail Racquet Club Drive, Vail CO 81657 800-428-4840 |



All-suite, 2013 Gold Award Winner, 100% smoke free hotel offering free deluxe breakfast buffet, located 2 miles from downtown Disney, minutes from shops and restaurants. All suites sleep up to six, feature two queen beds, fully equipped kitchenettes, sleeper sofa, two flat screen TV’s, free Wi-Fi. Some popular amenities include an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, business center, board room, meeting rooms, fitness center, jogging trail and guest services. 8200 Palm Parkway, Orlando FL 32836 Group reservations 800-370-9894 ext 501 |


Our condos are clustered in a campus style layout making it easy for us to group your rooms close together. The condos have 1,2,3, 4 bedrooms, so couples, families extended families can find the right fit. We have a meeting room (100 pp max), catering kitchen an outside deck with grill. Our team works closely with the group leader to honor special requests. In town location close to hiking, biking, rafting more. 800-824-8438. Visit: For Group Info visit:

A family reunion can be a truly memorable experience. At our goal is to be your one stop source for a stress-free reunion. From the planning stages to the actual event, we will set up itineraries, find accommodations, set up meals, suggest free time activities and venues, order t-shirts and arrange photographs. We are located on the memorable Emerald Coast of Florida, home to Florida’s most beautiful beaches, and yet still convenient from most of the Southeast. Contact us today @ 817-680-8831 to get started. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 23



275 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach FL 33931 888-965-7221 | fax 239-463-8653 | Located along 1/4 mile of pristine, white sands Pink Shell offers all beachfront studio and condo style accommodations along with a variety of activities for everyone. Enjoy rejuvenating spa treatments, 3 pools, on-site marina & watersport rentals, plus fun and adventure at Kidd’s Kampp®. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 21

111 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta GA 30346 Find sanctuary in 121 deluxe guest rooms and 154 fantastic suites complete with the W Signature Bed, Bliss™ Sinkside Six amenities and balconies in all rooms. Suites feature a full kitchen. Free shuttle service within a 3-mile radius, which includes Perimeter Mall and MARTA stations. Banquet spaces with full catering available. For reservations, call 770-396-6800 | fax 770-394-4805 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1


CROWNE PLAZA HOLLYWOOD BEACH 4000 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood FL 33019 954-454-4334 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 15

STAR ISLAND RESORT & CLUB 5000 Avenue of the Stars, Kissimmee FL 34746 Located just 4 miles to Walt Disney Theme Parks, our Mediterranean styled Resort & Spa offers spacious mini suites, 1 & 3 bedroom Villas with kitchenette, full kitchens with all the comforts of home. Enjoy tennis, basketball, pools & putting green, Jet Ski & paddleboat rentals, children’s activities, BBQ grills, indoor & outdoor function space available to rent. Group rates for 8 or more units. For group reservations call 800-789-0715 and mention Reunions Magazine when calling. We look forward to hosting your reunion.

COCO KEY HOTEL & WATER RESORT – ORLANDO 7400 International Drive, Orlando FL 32819 Family-friendly resort features a 54,000 sq. ft. canopy-covered and outdoor water park. With 14 water slides, 4 pools, and a 6,500 sq. ft. Arcade there is something for everyone. Located on International Drive, this AAA 3 diamond property is near all of Orlando’s major attractions. Newly renovated rooms feature modern dÄcor furniture, mini-refrigerator, digital safe and a variety of amenities. Connecting rooms are also available for larger families. On-site dining includes TradeWinds restaurant, Callaloo Grill, and Pizza Hut Express. For groups of 10 or more, special reunion menus are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ask about our special discounted weekday rates! For more information, please call 407-351-2626, email or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 31



4355 Ashford Dunwoody Rd, Atlanta, GA 30346 Located in Central Perimeter area nestled on a 45 acre park, with waterfalls, terraced gardens, facilities for gatherings of 10 to 1,000. 495 guestrooms, 33 spacious suites. Featuring a three story greenhouse atrium lobby, fitness center, indoor pool with sundeck. Across from the Perimeter Mall. Free shuttle to area restaurants, parks and MARTA station for downtown attractions. Visit | call 770-395-7700. Mention this listing for 10 % off reunion banquet pricing. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1


1030 Crown Pointe Pkwy, Atlanta GA 30338 770-394-5454. All suite, upscale, renovated hotel located in beautiful Dunwoody, just steps away from Perimeter Mall, Perimeter Shoppes and more than 30 area restaurants/dining facilities. Hotel features complimentary amenities such as: cooked-to-order breakfast, Manager’s Reception, area shuttle, parking deck, indoor pool/sun deck, Precor fitness center and business center. Hotel offers an onsite restaurant with Starbucks cafe, meeting space and wireless internet throughout. Flat screen TV’s in all suites. Easy access to down- town via MARTA. Hilton Family Hotels. Book us at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1


246 Perimeter Center Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA 30346 The Hotel is located adjacent to Perimeter Mall and the Dunwoody MARTA station offering easy access to all city attractions. Amenities include onsite restaurant and lounge, room service, indoor/outdoor swimming pool, meeting and banquet space for up to 350 people and complimentary hotel shuttle within a 2 mile radius. Ask about our special reunions packages. Call 770 394-6500 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1


4601 Ridgeview Road, Atlanta-Dunwoody GA 30338 Staybridge Suites is an All-Suite Hotel and offers a premier location in the Dunwoody — Perimeter Area within walking distance to some of the best Restaurants and Shops Atlanta has to offer. Minutes away from attractions like Stone Mountain, Six Flags, Zoo Atlanta, Hartsfield Airport and the Georgia Dome. Fantastic amenities like Free Full Breakfast, Free Shuttle within a 3-Mile Radius, Free Internet, Free On-Site Fitness Center and Guest Laundry! 678-320-0111 | Fax: 678-320-0250 Reservations: SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1


With a great location near Atlanta and over 1,800 hotel rooms why not choose Douglasville, Georgia! For details on complimentary services, including welcome bags and name badges, contact the Douglasville CVB today and let us help plan your next reunion. For more information call us at 1-800-661-0013 email us at


Just 10 minutes outside Atlanta in DeKalb County, Dunwoody is the best location for your next reunion. Minutes away from Stone Mountain Park, Georgia Aquarium, the MLK Center and more! Home to five excellent hotels with tons of meeting space and all within walking distance to Perimeter Mall and shuttle services to MARTA! Call today to plan your reunion: 678-244-9800 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 1 Let the Macon-Bibb County CVB help plan your reunion! Call us first to help you find facilities, accommodations and create itineraries for your event. We can arrange guided and self-guided tours of our attractions and offer complimentary services, such as registration assistance, information specialists, coordination of bus rentals, and a downloadable Visitor’s Guide that includes area maps. Go to | or call 800.768.3401 today, and learn how we can make your next reunion a success! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 22


Plan an unforgettable reunion in Lake County, Illinois — We’ll work together to help you plan an

event that lets you explore all the excitement of Lake County. From entertaining attractions like Six Flags to our convenient, centralized location close to Chicago, there are so many reasons to choose Lake County for family friendly fun. For free Reunion Planning Assistance call or email us with your reunion planning questions. 800-LAKE-NOW | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 2



500 Jefferson Street, Waterloo, IA 50701. Visit John Deere Tractor Assembly Plant, Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum, Galleria De Paco, and Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo. Plus, enjoy family attractions like Lost Island Water Park, Phelps Youth Pavilion, and Bluedorn Science Imaginarium. Info: 800-728-8431 |



55 Ariadne Road. Dedham MA 02026 Centrally located between Rte 3 (to Cape Cod) and the MA Turnpike and situated right off of I95/128, our Full Service Hotel provides COMP WIFI, parking, shuttle options, and indoor pool with outside

courtyard. 199 guest rooms, 8000sqft of function space, and 2 onsite restaurants to handle all of your event needs. Also across the street is Legacy Place featuring shopping, dining, LUX Level Movie Theatre, and bowling. We look forward to your reunion! 781-329-1000 | fax 81-407-2285



3425 W. Hwy 76, Branson MO 65616 800-422-0076 | Fax: 417-337-8400 | Info@ |

Route 132 & Bearses Way, 1225 Iyanough Road, Hyannis MA 02601 888-255-4471 | fax 508-771-6564. Full service resort, 257 rooms & fireplace/whirlpool suites; 2 restaurants; tennis; playground; INDOOR WAVE POOL with 2’ waves, 80’ waterslides, Jacuzzi, fitness center plus Rainbow Falls Heated Outdoor Pool open year-round. Beautiful facilities for groups from 10-400. Expert consultants to help you plan. Manicured grounds with clambake pit/beach area. Full-service Spa. Entertainment. Gift Shop.


CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RESORT Reunions are a Crystal Mountain specialty because there is something to do for every age, and ample room to house everyone. Our event team can assist with planning activities that will entertain, such as a golf outing, paintball, laser tag or a float trip down the river... just to name a few. Whether for 50 guests or 225, we promise you a memorable event. 12500 Crystal Mountain Drive, Thompsonville MI 49683-9742 800.968.7686 ext. 6605 | fax: 231.378.4879


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:

MINNEAPOLIS SAINT PAUL is the perfect location for your next reunion. Meet Minneapolis represents the entire MSP metro area with over 17,000 hotel rooms. Use our FREE service and hotels will compete against each other for your business. We also provide your group with FREE guides, maps, and coupons along with tour ideas, group friendly restaurants, and sample itineraries. Let us help you plan your next reunion to Minneapolis Saint Paul. 612-767-8106 |


THE BRANSON/LAKES AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Located in America’s heartland, Branson, Missouri is the perfect destination for your next reunion because we offer so many choices of live music shows and family entertainment, lodging, attractions, dining and more. Remember, in Branson, our value is unrivaled, our scenery breathtaking and our authentic Ozarks hospitality inviting. Call us toll-free at 800-214-366 417-243-2117 or visit our website at ExploreBranson. com and request a Reunion Planner Sales kit. SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE INSIDE FRONT COVER



645 Missouri 165, Branson, MO 65615 877-21-CHINA | Fax 417-336-9754 | Info@ |


BRANSON ZIPLINE CANOPY TOURS AT WOLFE CREEK PRESERVE 7 miles North of Branson on Hwy 65 2339 US 65, Walnut Shade MO 65771 800-717-0998 | Fax: 417-561-0704 | Info@ |


4080 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson MO 65616 800-764-9324 | Fax 417-332-2412 |


3440 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, MO 65616 800-677-8533 | Fax: 417-335-2643 |


1835 W 76 Country Blvd Branson MO 65616417544-9075 |


7 miles North of Branson on Hwy 65 2339 US 65, Walnut Shade MO 65771 800-717-0998 | Fax: 417-561-0704 | Info@ |



is located just minutes west of the Las Vegas Strip, directly across from The Rio and The Palms. This friendly resort personifies all that is best about Las Vegas and features 712 rooms and suites, 30,000 square feet of conference space, full-service casino, Bingo Parlor, six restaurants, showroom/lounge, 70-lane bowling center, race/sports book, a poolside fitness center, and shuttle service to the heart of The Strip. 4000 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 702-251-3560 | 800-331-5334 x 400


3800 S Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89502 Atlantis is Reno’s Newest Hot Spot for Reunions! Atlantis boasts 50,000 SF of flexible meeting space. Stay in Reno’s newest resort rooms, featuring pillow-top mattresses and 42” HDTV’s. Dine in eight distinct award-winning restaurants. The Atlantis Steakhouse proudly serves Allen Brothers USDA Prime steaks. Network at the ten captivating bars and lounges. Escape to Spa Atlantis winner of Spa Finder “Readers’ Choice” award! Sales Department 800.994.5900 |



“Where Racing Lives!” — Shift Your Reunion Into High Gear! Full-throttle fun waits at Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR race team headquarters and continues inside the largest indoor waterpark in the Carolinas—Great Wolf Lodge! Slow the pace at Embassy Suites Charlotte/Concord Spa Botanica and Rocky Rover Golf Club. 10099 Weddington Rd., Ste. 102, Concord, NC 28027 Contact Carrie Hendrickson 704-456-7969 | MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 39



QUALITY INN & SUITES 3710 Hillsborough Road, Durham NC 27705 919-382-3388 | fax 919-382-9298 |


EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS 800-354-2657 Columbus is ranked one of the top value destinations in the country. With four downtown entertainment districts, annual festivals, the #1 rated Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and an array of outdoor parks to choose from, you won’t want to have your family reunion anywhere else. Planning a reunion in Columbus is easy. And we’re here to help. Plus, all of our services are free. We will assist you with finding hotels, local attractions and more. And when the time comes, we’ll provide you with Visitors Guides, Visitor Maps, plastic bags and pens. Contact Kari Kauffman 614-222-6136 | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 5


VALLEY FORGE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 1000 First Avenue, Suite 101, King of Prussia PA 19406. Still the best place to meet – Valley Forge. Washington’s famous encampment site is just 18 miles from Philadelphia and offers more than 60 hotels, 11 conference centers and reunion-friendly hotels with complimentary hospitality rooms and free parking. Destination features world-class shopping at the nation’s largest shopping mall, King of Prussia, as well as premium dining and entertainment on its many quaint Main Streets. Contact Courtney Pozo, Convention Sales Manager: 610-834-7971 or 800-441-3549 | Fax: 610-834-0202 | visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON THE BACK COVER


Reconnecting with family, friends and colleagues creates some of the most memorable moments of your lifetime. Only in Newport, Rhode Island can you achieve this while racing on an America’s Cup 12-meter yacht, over a traditional New England clambake, or at a legendary mansion. Let our Destination Experts be your complimentary concierges and help you find accommodations, event venues and everything you need to make your reunion one for the ages. Contact Susan Pratt 401-845-9115 | 1-800-326-6030 x115 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 11

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 ON THE INSIDE BACK COVER


CHATTANOOGA AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU We are ready to host your next family or military reunion. Our Staff works closely with the hotels, attractions, tour companies and you to provide exactly what you need to have a great reunion. Contact Christina Petro at 800-964-8600 ext. 3017 or by e-mail at for free help planning your next reunion!

PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE We’re a gold mine for reunions. Need attractions? Try Dollywood, Titanic Pigeon Forge, Zorb and the action-packed Parkway. Want nature? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is next-door. Want entertainment? More than a dozen theaters await you. Hungry? We’ll feed you well. Details: 1-800-285-7557 or visit SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 17

SEE PIGEON FORGE RECEPTIVE SERVICE 119 Music Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868 866-492-6972 | Turn planning into a pleasure when you allow See Pigeon Forge Receptive Service to take care of all the arrangements for your reunion trip to Pigeon Forge. Lodging, dining, attractions, shows, shopping, catering and tours; let us put the entire package together for you! We’ll do all the work while you get all the credit for a wonderful time in Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas! Call one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 17


PARK CITY LODGING, INC. represents over 150 vacation rentals throughout Park City’s three world-class resort areas: Park City, Deer Valley and Canyons. Choose from a large variety of accommodations, ideally suited for your reunion, wedding or special event. Our knowledgeable staff is here to assist you in creating a memorable family experience in the mountains of Park City, Utah. Call 855-263-7793 Let our knowledgeable staff assist you in creating a memorable mountain experience.



PO Box 335428 North Las Vegas NV 89033 800-654-2776 • 40 Reunions v

860 Greenbrier Circle, Suite 101 Chesapeake VA 23320. Can you hear it? That voice inside, beckoning you to get together. Reconnect with friends, families and memories. The refuge, the waterways, the beach — so close you can enjoy them all. For more information on planning a family or military reunion in Chesapeake, VA, call 888.889.5551

Please patronize our advertisers.

VISIT FAIRFAX / FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA Enjoy everything that Northern Virginia has to offer. From the monuments and memorials of nearby Washington, DC to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, Fairfax County is an ideal location for your military or family reunion. Call us at 703-790-0643 visit our website today at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 32

NEWPORT NEWS Get closer to ships, history and the great outdoors with one central destination: Newport News. Get all this, plus Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, too! Whether getting together with old classmates, shipmates or relatives, Newport News provides the perfect location and services to make your reunion a success. We offer the best value and plenty to see and do! Let Newport News make your next reunion a memorable one. Call Barb Kleiss at (757) 926-1442 or email her at: to book your reunion.

VisitNorfolk 232 East Main Street, Norfolk VA 23510. Norfolk’s beautifully revitalized waterfront, rich military heritage, walkable downtown and Coastal Virginia location make it the ideal destination for your next reunion. Home to such attractions as the Battleship Wisconsin, MacArthur Memorial, Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the world’s largest naval base. See why American Heritage named Norfolk “A Great American Place.” Offering over 5,000 committable hotel rooms in various price ranges. Call 800-368-3097 SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 31


CANAAN VALLEY RESORT Davis, West Virginia Four season resort state park featuring 150 comfortable lodge rooms, 23 secluded cabins/ cottages and 34 campground sites. Seasonal activities include indoor/outdoor pools, golf, skiing, scenic chairlift rides, hiking/biking trails, and more. Meeting rooms and banquet services available for your reunion needs. Karen Rhodes 304-866-4121 x 2681 |

LAKEVIEW GOLF RESORT & SPA One Lakeview Drive, Morgantown WV 26508 304-594-1111 | Nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia,10 miles south of the Pennsylvania border, one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier golf destinations with two championship golf courses. You’ll experience the finest in West Virginia hospitality and service. We offer 187 guestrooms, 52 condos, over 30,000+ sq ft of meeting space, two distinct restaurants to satisfy any appetite – from a fine steak dinner to a casual lunch overlooking Lakeview’s 18th green. Stay active while visiting our 40,000 sq ft Fitness & Sports Complex or relax and rejuvenate at Spa Roma. Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa offers easy access to all travelers and is a place like no other!

T-SHIRTS Customink

Create amazing reunion shirts online in our fun & easy Design Lab! Choose from name-brand apparel and 40,000 + images, or upload your own art. No hidden charges or set-up fees. Guaranteed delivery dates. FREE shipping and FREE design help 7 days/ week. Save $10 on 6 or more shirts with voucher code: reunion (expires 3/31/14). Call us toll-free at 877-803-5887. We love to talk tees! Or visit us online at SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 15

CATALOG OF REUNION RESOURCES PRODUCTS & SERVICES All of these products can be purchased through Reunions magazine. Please call 414-263-4567.

BOOKS 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. THE FAMILY REUNION SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Avoid Problems With Your Family Without Avoiding Your Family by Laurence A. Basirico. (2003, Identity Publishing, $11.95). A book about relationships at family reunions and how to enjoy them. Based on original research. 2106 Coy St., Burlington, NC. (336) 584-1442. 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. 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. 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.

FOOD PREPARATION How Many?! How Much!?, A Step-by-Step guide to cooking for a large group, by Jennifer Cole. This book will help you with menu planning, recipe costing, recruiting helpers, budgeting. Spiral bound, 73 pp.$19.95 plus $4.95 s/h.

MAGAZINE Subscribe to Reunions magazine Ensure a full year of reunion planning advice plus workbook. Subscribe now. Send $9.99/yr or $17.99/2 yrs to Reunions Magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727. To charge to credit card call 414-263-4567.

MUSIC 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.


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 + s/h – you fill in the date and reunion name; or Custom printed cards – $45 p/100 postcards or 50¢ each + s/h. Send info to be printed: for Save the date! (name, date, & place of reunion, contact info). For Time is running out (name & date of reunion & RSVP date) + fax number or email address to get your approval before we print. Send to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727; credit card charges call 414-263-4567.

MAY/JUNE/JULY 2013 v Reunions 41

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

Reunions Magazine Volume 23, Number 4. May/June/July 2013  
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