Reunions Magazine Volume 31 Number 2 Virtual Edition June 2022

Page 1

2022 Reunion

Banks/Hill/Outlaw Family Reunion

Williams Family Reunion tug-of-war

Young Green Bay Packer fans line up to see Packer practice


Scamehorn Family Reunion

Veterans at Honor Flight in DC

Keener Family Reunion

Vol 31 No 2 Virtual Edition June 2022

in this special issue DEPARTMENTS FRONT WORDS – 4 BRANCH OFFICE – 5 Old School New School by Mary Patricia Voell The 1950 Census is online!

Reunion Celebrations v June 2022 Volume 31 v Number 2

ALUM & I – 7 Sullivan High School, Class of 1969, Chicago, Illinois


SCRAPBOOK – 8 Reunion School Virtual family reunion planning workshop Hospitality Answerman by Dean Miller Tips for a successful road trip to your reunion August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month Photo Reminiscence Therapy for family members FEATURES – 12 Reunion goodie bags aka welcome bags Family history activities Explore your annals of history Transportation arrangements. Family heritage tours: families: Werdel, Armstrong, Fleetwood, Dreisbach Make a reunion time capsule Cemeteries Preserve memories & history thru family photos Reunion activities A challenge for all reunion planners … Reunion ‘to do’ list, Trading time, Sing-alongs, White Elephant gift exchange Trading time, Family talent display, Reunion ‘to do’ list, Organize greetings, Sing-alongs, Family Olympics, races, The big family show, prizes and what they’re won for, contests Reunion games Classic games: Duck-Duck-Goose, Captain may I? Red light, Green light, Red Rover, Kick the Can Scavenger hunts, Famous couples, Who’s telling the truth? Golf: Contest ideas for a golf outing, Cat-eye Hike Kids activities Planning activities for kids! Kids activity table or picnic blanket ideas Moon rock treasure hunt Who doesn’t love bubbles? See pre-season football practice! Roark-Conner Family Reunion kids activities Hull Descendants Family Reunion “kids’ table” MILITARY REUNION NEWS – 46 USS John Young, DD-973 + speaker, Long Hyunh Honor Flight Network, Military touring REUNION RESOURCES – 48 A directory of reunion-friendly places, services, vendors and products ON THE COVER

Banks/Hill/Outlaw Family Reunion, Scamehorn Family Reunion, Williams Family Reunion tug-of-war, Veterans at Honor Flight in DC, Young Green Bay Packer fans line up to see Packer practice, Keener Family Reunion.


Virginia Aitken • Linda LK Armstrong Cyndi Clamp • Nikole Christensen Ted Dreisbach • Delta Hinson Hancock Huskey • Thelma Jones Cathy Martin Koufopoulos Phyllis Naumann • Sheri Williams Pannele Johanna Roark • Cynthia Russell Jennifer Sparks • Marilynn Stewart Michael Trotta • Mary Patricia Voell Joan Curtis Waters Reunions magazine, Inc. (ISSN #1046-5s235), is published 4 times per year. Email correspondence, queries, requests, submissions to or send 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 and guarantee tear sheets of reviews and reprints. Reunions magazine, Inc., is not liable for information presented as facts in any of our advertising, byline stories or materials. We reserve the right to edit and/or refuse any material submitted for publication. We take responsibility for submitted materials but unless accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE), submissions and photos will not be returned. All materials sent for publication become property of Reunions magazine, Inc. Advertising information contact Reunions magazine, Inc., PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 | 414-467-8104 | © 2022 Reunions magazine, Inc.




Be in touch!

Mail to eunion season is officially here. Reunions magazine Memorial Day is generally acknowlSo, lacking reports from reunions we’ve edged as the start of reunion season PO Box 11727 made this issue a planning guide to Reunion and now through Labor Day is officially Milwaukee WI 53211-0727 Day and hope you will find answers to some family and class reunion season while of your pressing questions. We’ve come up call 414-263-4567 military reunions proliferate right after with some new activities, games for kids and visit Labor Day through early November. games for everyone at your reunion. We know e-mail Well, at least that’s the way it went the importance of goodie/welcome bags at before the summer of 2020 so we’re most reunions so we’ve added ideas for eager to see if that’s the way it’s going to go this year. assembling those souvenirs. You’ll find suggestions for family We know many reunions have been disrupted the past two history/heritage touring which require special planning and summers so we look forward to seeing how the season will work arrangements if you hope to visit sites of past family history. out and hope so many of the reunions cancelled or postponed The scrapbook section has the usual listing of upcoming will be able to meet this year. reunion planning workshops — in person and virtual — that While the postponement of reunions has disappointed you’ll want to take advantage of. Hospitality Answerman, Dean members, imagine how disappointed hospitality industry venues Miller’s usual sage advice takes you through the site inspection and services have been. Reunions are big business in many areas that every planner should do before the big event. On a more aand while meetings were cancelled, they were sorely missed by serious note, we’ve included information about donor needs the hotels, resorts, caterers, motor coach companies, attractions and Photo Reminiscence Therapy (pRT) that improves the and so forth, who rely on reunions and meetings for their income. quality of life for dementia patients. I’m sure those of you who are having reunions this year have And there’s more. Impressive display suggestions for class found an enthusiastic welcome from all the venues and services. reunions, a totally captivating talk at a ship’s reunion by a Vietnamese refugee who was rescued at sea in 1981 and When the 2020 season was being cancelled, we did a survey to determine how reunions were being treated by those they had to some helpful suggestions for genealogy research in the Branch Office section. cancel. We were overwhelmed at how reunions were treated. Finally, you’ll want to explore the special section from Vivid-Pix Some cancelled without repercussions. Many got full refunds that suggests including a scanning party into your reunion and without question. Many reunions merely moved their dates to ways to incorporate story telling and improving your photo the next date which meant the venues would be assured the taking and much more. Regular columnist Lisa Alzo describes business one or two years later. Like so many other aspects of how she uses scanning photos to preserve memories. what we called normal life, reunions and the hospitality industry rolled with the pandemic punches. Now, we hope 2022 will be the year that we can begin to call normal for reunions and that most will happen without more drama. We hope!

THIS ISSUE As you read this issue you will notice something very different: very few actual reunion reports. The lack of reunions over the past two years has finally caught up with us and no one is sending reports or stories about reunions because reunions have simply not been happening. I realize I don’t have to tell you that but, of course, I hope that dearth will be over this year. I recently visited the site of class reunion planner Varsity Reunions and see they already have almost 30 reunions on this year’s roster. That is great good news. Military reunions are picking up according the number of upcoming reunions registered on our website (www. So, if you’ve not already done so, add your reunion now! add-upcoming-reunion/ And start now thinking about a report from your reunion or if you’ve made special or extraordinary plans, send a report now to be in line for the next issue. 4 REUNIONS v

FUTURE ISSUES If you’ve thought about contributing a report or story about your family, class, military or other reunion, this year/season is the time to do it! We eagerly await news of your reunion, its activities, programs, surprises and plans. If you have questions and wonder how to do it, contact me and I’ll answer your questions and encourage you to celebrate your reunion in the pages of Reunions magazine! Send your questions and your reports to And do not forget to include pictures and videos. Pictures and videos must be yours to use and you authorize us to use. Send high resolution pictures (250KB or higher, if digital, and 300 dpi, if scanned). Please send videos as an .mp4, .mov, or .wmv video file via (a free transfer service that allows up to 2GB to be sent). We are optimistic that 2022 will be a grand reunion season. We look forward to learning about your reunion and sharing your ideas that celebrate your reunion and inspire others to reunion success. EW


Old School. New School.

by Mary Patricia Voell


here is an interesting theory in environmental circles called the Shifting Baseline Syndrome defined as “the situation in which over time, knowledge about the state of the natural world is lost. People don’t perceive changes that are actually taking place, like climate change, or the escalating loss of fish in the ocean. In other words, due to short human life-spans and faulty memories, humans have a poor conception of how much of the natural world has been degraded by our actions, because our ‘baseline’ shifts every generation. In essence, what we see as pristine nature would be seen by our ancestors, if they were alive, as hopelessly degraded. And what we see as degraded, our children will view as ‘natural.’ Family reunions can offer a window into a better understanding of this ever-changing world. A grandparent might say, “When I was growing up …” or “You kids have it so easy today.” The mental time machine takes us back to another time, then moves us forward to a present time — comparing what was normal then with what is normal now. How previous generations gathered their research — old school — and how we do it now — new school — can be similarly applied, yet a bit more simplistically. My mother and sister were old school research technicians. They visited court houses and libraries; talked to and wrote to relatives; and received letters to add to the family narrative. They poured over census records, city directories, and historical society publications searching for names and dates. Our family archival binders are filled with this work. I am honored to have received ‘their’ work as each generation adds another multi-faceted layer showing how life and culture evolves. The Old School, New School title is meant to frame the importance and value of your research and to appreciate and understand both approaches as more and more information is available to family historians. So many jump directly to online resources before they root themselves. Learn to get rooted using old school methods. So many stories are right there within your family circle or in your own backyard. 1 Interview first. Research later. Take the time now – before it’s too late! 2 Your own family records. Who has what records? 3 Libraries, museums, historical and genealogical societies — Has your family been tied to an area for several generations? Local history books are filled with founding family stories. 4 Books, magazines, gazettes — Has someone in the past written an article or book about your family? 5 City Directories – Where did they live when? Directories also list occupations and other tenants. 6 Newspapers — For decades, local newspapers reported births, marriages, deaths, family visits, weddings, small town game nights, events, and reports from servicemen. The list is endless. In those publications are names galore, giving you a

glimpse into the who, what, when, where, why and how they lived their daily lives.

7 Be a student of local, national and world history. Never stop learning. Gathering clan events, large or small, are the ultimate treasure trove of past and present family storytellers. Adding textured profiles to your growing storyline expands your genealogical charts from mere names and dates. Learning the richness of the genealogical landscape is the joy of the journey.

NEW SCHOOL Today’s researchers locate ancestral links through the easily accessible, always open, internet. Databases abound with vital records (birth, marriage, death), family trees and historical context to name a few. And because of that, many believe anything they want is ‘online.’ Truth be told, genealogists will tell you that actually only a small percentage of ancestral information available virtually. Yet, here are just a few ‘must-go sites’ to start or continue your search provided by J. D. Biersdorfer in a 2020 The New York Times article How to Dig Up Family History Online. And always remember to return to sites because they are being updated continually. The National Archives website provides genealogists links to information on finding land records, immigration and naturalization documents, census data, military-service papers, and more. Some ancestors are harder to trace than others. For families severed by slavery or overlooked by the government, the site has an Ethnic Heritage section with tips for finding African-American ancestors, as well as for those searching for Chinese, Hispanic/Latino, Japanese or Native American forebears. FamilySearch, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, requires only a free account to search its billions of historical records. has free basic family-tree building services and a large social community that encourages members to work together. Immigration museums may also have free online databases, like the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Passenger Search. The Library of Congress Newspaper Archives, Indexes and Morgues section has links to many digitized publications, including African-American, Cherokee and MexicanAmerican newspapers. is an archive with more than 17,000 digitized publications dating from the 1700s. The Ancestor Hunt genealogy site has a section devoted to finding historical newspapers online. And the Elephind site lets you search a growing collection of digitized international newspapers.

DNA DNA is certainly a new school approach to finding long lost links. Success stories abound. But ‘Buyer Beware.’ Before you make this leap, make sure you have your baseline intact.

SUMMARY No matter whether you research on foot or with your fingers, continued on page 6


BRANCH OFFICE continued from page 5

anchor your ancestral data by building a foundation of family information so you don’t travel down unnecessary rabbit holes. Travel with pencil, pedigree chart, family group sheets (, and be ready to take written or recorded notes. Returning to the baseline theory: the intergenerational make-up of family reunions

is a good place to appreciate the vast extent of a family history — across many generations, far into the past and far into the future.

About the author Mary Patricia Voell is principle of Legacies, LLC Personal, Family & Organizational Historians, www.; Classes:

The 1950 Census is online!


y now, you probably know the 1950 Census has been released. The 1950 census encompassed the continental United States, territories of Alaska and Hawaii which had not yet become states, American Samoa, the Canal Zone, Guam, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and some smaller island territories. Americans abroad were enumerated for the first time in 1950. Provisions were made to count members of the armed forces, crews of vessels, and employees of the US government and their families living in foreign countries.


A new survey on residential finances was conducted as part of the 1950 census. Information was collected on a sample basis from owners of owner-occupied and rental properties and mortgage lenders. Several procedures were used to improve the accuracy and completeness of the 1950 census, including: improved enumerator training, providing enumerators with detailed street maps of their assigned areas, and publishing “Missed Person" forms in local newspapers. Visit to access the 1950 Census.


Zap the Grandma Gap


ullivan High School, Class of 1969, Chicago, Illinois, staged some very impressive displays from their high school years and added one from Armstrong Elementary School, Class of 1965. Displays of photos and artifacts included a letter sweater, newspaper articles, sports schedules and a nice scattering of 45 rpm records. Thanks to Varsity Reunion Services (, St Louis, Missouri.

Armstrong Elementary Class of 1965


scrapbook FAMILY REUNION INSTITUTE VIRTUAL FAMILY REUNION PLANNERS WORKSHOP October 08, 2022 • Noon Free, interactive virtual workshop with practical ideas, tools, and resources to assist family reunion planners. Reunion Planning Workshops are added regularly on the web at -seminars/. Don’t miss a workshop near you; check the list online for new offerings and changes. REUNION WORKSHOP Saturday, June 11, 2022 • Noon Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort 4021 Lakeview Drive, Stone Mountain GA Register: Contact: Penny Moore, 770-492-5018 MILITARY REUNION NETWORK FAM - IN PERSON June 20-23, 2022 Louisiana Northshore Website: #!event-list Contact: Sharon Danitschek 425-501-1430 | FREE VIRTUAL FAMILY REUNION PLANNING AND LEGACY BUILDING WORKSHOPS JULY 9, 2022 • Noon Attendees will enjoy hearing from industry experts and participate in “live” question and answer sessions. Limited virtual seats are available. To register email: MILITARY REUNION NETWORK FAM - IN PERSON July 17-20, 2022 Omaha, Nebraska Website: #!event-list Contact: Sharon Danitschek 425-501-1430 |

Website: To register, email: REUNION WORKSHOP October 15, 2022 • 10 AM-Noon Preston Ridge Community Center, 3655 Preston Ridge Road Ste 100, Alpharetta, GA Register:

Virtual family reunion planning workshop


he Family Reunion Institute’s inaugural two-hour virtual family reunion planners workshop was well attended by enthusiastic family reunion planners. Presenters were Institute’s Advisory Board members who have years of family reunion planning experience. Attendees were able to secure practical ideas, tools, and resources Bill Vargus in the areas of forming a planning committee, fundraising, and technology. Participants developed a list of planning committee positions to be filled and identified potential planning team members. Planners were able to secure a lengthy list of fundraising ideas for their next reunion. They also created a plan for a tech solution that fit their family’s skills and reunion budget. Comments from participants echoed their enthusiasm! Excellent presentation … great information … very helpful. I found today’s workshop insightful, informative, and useful. I am inspired and excited to share this with my family; thank you for this experience today. This was a fantastic presentation. The Family Reunion Institute’s next free virtual reunion planning workshop is Saturday, October 8, 2022 from noon-2 PM EST. For more information and to register email admin@family Visit:

REUNION PARKS TOUR September 10, 2022 • 10 AM-1 PM Ike Owings Community Center, Douglasville, Georgia Website: Contact: Peyton Powers | 770-947-5920 MILITARY REUNION NETWORK FAM - IN PERSON September 22-25, 2022 Washington DC Website: #!event-list Contact: Sharon Danitschek 425-501-1430 | 8 REUNIONS v

A zoom screen from the inaugural workshop. Top row: Suzanne Holloman, Bill Vargus, Sylvia Ford-George; Bottom row: Helen Wilkerson, Dr. Ione Vargus



The Site Inspection – an important part of any successful reunion

Q: A:

My sister suggested that she and I go out to look at three or four hotels nearby for our reunion next summer. I think I already know which hotel I want to use (I’m in charge of the reunion). How important is it for me to actually visit the hotel I want to use for our reunion before I sign the contract? Couldn’t I just take a look at the hotel online to get an idea of what it’s like?

Yes, you could, but you’d still be taking a chance that the hotel is going to be able to meet all your needs, as well as be a place that everyone in your reunion group will enjoy. While there will occasionally be instances where a site inspection isn’t going to be possible, we always encourage planners to conduct an in-person inspection of any hotel or hotels they are thinking of using, before signing a contract. Here are just a few of the reasons why we think an in-person visit is so important. There is much about a hotel or a catering facility that you can’t tell from a photo in a brochure or online. For starters, what is the surrounding area like? Is the hotel between a transmission repair shop and a junkyard? Is it easy to get to? Are there places to eat and shop nearby? Is parking easily available? Visiting in person will answer all of these questions; the hotel’s website may not. Photos can frequently be misleading or omit crucial details. A photo of a meeting room taken from the corner or from a doorway will typically make the room look larger than it actually is. You’ll want to walk into the meeting room(s) that the hotel is recommending for your hospitality suite, your dinner, your talent show, or any of your other functions, and make sure that the room is large enough to comfortably accommodate the number of people you expect. Walking around the hotel with a sales representative allows you to gauge the level of cleanliness and maintenance that the property receives on a regular basis. Are there tell-tale signs such as torn carpeting, scuffed-up woodwork, or trash scattered in the parking lot? These may be an indication that you need to seek another hotel. Inspect several guest rooms with the sales representative. Do the rooms smell fresh? Are the rooms clean and in good repair, or are there torn lampshades, stains on the carpeting, dirt or mold in the bathroom, or dust in the corners? All of these are warning signs. Throughout the hotel, is the staff friendly and do they seem accommodating? At the front desk, are guests checking in and out with ease, or are there long lines? In the hotel’s restaurant, do things seem to be running smoothly, or are there staffing issues, e.g., long lines at the hostess stand and uncleared tables? And finally, do the sales representative and the other staff members you meet seem genuinely friendly and interested in having your group with them, or are they just going through the motions of showing you their guest rooms and meeting space? At some point during the site inspection, sit with the sales representative and go through the major points that are important to you. Can they accommodate the special services your group needs, such as early check-ins, connecting rooms, rollaway beds, and/or cribs? What hours is the restaurant open? Which services are complimentary, and which services incur a charge? What are your banquet and/or your other meal functions likely to cost? Does the hotel offer an adequate number of rooms with

two beds? How about handicapped accessible rooms … do you have family members who will require one? Does the hotel have an adequate number of these? If you plan to have a band or a disc jockey, will noise be an issue? You may not successfully negotiate every issue in one sitting, but this will give you a good feeling about how flexible the hotel is able to be, and how eager they are to host your reunion. Putting a checklist together beforehand that lists your most important concerns is always a good idea. By asking the same questions of each hotel you visit, you’ll have an easily organized database of information to compare when you go to make your final hotel selection. I’ve always encouraged planners to take photos during their site inspections; if you’re visiting multiple hotels during a single day or over the course of a weekend, this can be very helpful to you in keeping things organized when you go back to review your notes afterwards. If transportation isn’t an issue, I recommend coming back to the hotel a few days or weeks later and touring the property unannounced. You’ll likely see things you didn’t see on your first visit. Go into the restaurant, order a cup of coffee or a soda, and sit and watch how the other guests are being served. Chat with some of the other guests and ask them how they’re enjoying their stay. And finally, if having a swimming pool available is important to your group, be sure to ask about this. More importantly, will the pool be open and available for your group’s use when your reunion will be taking place? Be aware that many hotels across the country have removed their swimming pools or are making plans to do so. If this is a “must have” item for your group, be sure that this is noted in your contract. By taking time to actually visit the property beforehand, you’ll greatly increase the likelihood of finding a property that is a good fit for you and your family, while avoiding a facility that isn’t going to work well for you. Hope you have a terrific reunion!

About the Hospitality Answerman Dean Miller, national sales director for Visit Fairfax (, the convention and visitors bureau in Fairfax County, Virginia, is a great friend of reunions. Contact him (703-790-0643; when you are planning a reunion in the Washington, DC, area. Fairfax County is nearby, affordable, and conveniently located to all the area has to offer.

???????? What is your question for Dean Miller, Hospitality Answerman? Send to



August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month


f the 106,000 people in the US who are awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant, roughly 60% are minorities. Following are three reasons why more organ donors of diverse backgrounds are needed. As part of National Minority Organ Donor Month, Mayo Clinic experts provide three reasons why getting more people from diverse backgrounds to be organ donors is vital to help save lives.


Some racial and ethnic populations are more likely to need a transplant. African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans have an increased risk for kidney disease. African Americans are nearly four times more likely to have kidney failure compared to white people according to the National Kidney Foundation. Higher rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in communities of color also can lead to organ failure.


The number of people awaiting a lifesaving transplant far exceeds willing donors in the US for people of all backgrounds. Every day, an estimated 17 people in the US die awaiting an organ transplant, according to While people of color make up most of the people awaiting an organ transplant in the US, only about 30% of donors come from communities of color.


More diversity among organ donors benefits everyone. While organs are not matched based on race and ethnicity, people will generally have a better chance of matching with someone from a similar racial or ethnic background. The reason is that compatible blood types and tissue markers used for making a match are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnic group. As a result, people of color may wait longer for a transplant. Increasing the diversity of organ donors will help improve access to transplant for people of color. One simple step people can take is to register to be an organ donor. To register to be an organ donor, visit the Donate Life America website at

Photo Reminiscence Therapy for family members


ementia Education recognizes that Photo Reminiscence Therapy (pRT) improves the quality of life for those with dementia. Many families facing a member with dementia are always looking for ways to help, even improve the loved one’s life. Families and caregivers can improve the quality of life for those living with dementia or related forms of memory impairment with the healing power of photos. Photo Reminiscence Therapy (pRT) can minimize social isolation and improve medication compliance and general cognitive performance. Videos about the study are available at

THE EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT PHOTOS The pilot group studied the effects between viewing generic stock photos, personal photos, or no photos. Photo types included family, self-portraits, pets, landmarks, newspaper articles, nature, and abstract themes. Aged or faded personal photos were edited using Vivid-Pix technology to digitally enhance and restore images, improving color, contrast, clarity, and overall quality. This allowed photos to be more recognizable and relatable. Vivid-Pix’s knowledge of how people emotionally connect and interact with photos was also essential to the research. “This study highlights the emotional, mental, and physical health benefits that looking at photos provide to the young and young-at-heart alike,” said Rick Voight, CEO of Vivid-Pix. Visit for the complete pRT study.

Looking for ways to pay for your reunion? Consider these ideas! Make a family cookbook!

Sell t-shirts! 10 REUNIONS v

Make and auction a quilt! Hold a rummage sale!


Conveniently adjacent to O’Hare Airport and several major highways. Embracing Woodfield Mall and a bevy of high value, relatively low-cost suburban hotels, the Chicago Northwest region is eager to welcome your family reunion to town. We have a great story to tell and it’s all about a safe, easy access, entertainment-rich place to get together with family - and save. Heck - we barely know how to spell “valet.”


welcome bags

Reunion goodie bags aka welcome bags


eunion goodie bags have become ubiquitous these days, but do not have to break the bank! First, goodie bags should include information about the reunion and its location if there are many out-of-town visitors. Goodie bags do not all have to be the same. Goodie bags can be one per group/family or individual bags particularly suited for children. Kids know that goodie bags are their party souvenirs and are something they look forward to. All the bags should include some small souvenir of the reunion and/or reunion location as a remembrance. The goodies will be tangible reminders and remembrances of the reunion for a long time to come. There is no rule about what to include, but these items are often found in reunion goodie bags. A reunion program or schedule of events and list of things to do when not involved in reunion program, a family or group membership list (name, address, phone and email) and name tags, if bags are packed for specific individuals or groups. In addition, favors, souvenirs, order forms for cookbooks, videos, pictures, family history books or t-shirts, feedback/evaluation forms, freebies and coupons from local businesses, information and brochures about local attractions and events, maps and emergency phone numbers. The goodie bags do not need to be fancy, just a collection that shows family and friends you’re glad they came. Best of all, you can often put the collection together at little cost since, as we get further from the pandemic, freebies will again be available. Start with area merchants and your local convention and visitor’s bureau. Several months before your reunion, write personalized (not chain) letters to local companies asking if they’ll donate promotional giveaways to your celebration. First, determine who to send your letter to, often the head of promotions or marketing. Stress your ties to the community and how long your guests will be in town, which is important, if they’ll be able to take advantage of the company’s goods or services. Don’t request specific items. State the number and ages of members and ask for what they can spare. Promise to mention their business contributions in reunion newsletters, program and at the reunion (and send copies of wherever you’ve done to keep your promise). Show your appreciation by providing them with additional advertising. Lean on family members and friends, including ones who don’t come to reunions but who do attend conferences and trade shows. Ask them to donate their give-aways to your collection: not large supplies, but little prizes. Ask reunion members to request promotion items or coupons from their own employers. Many companies have advertising pencils or key chains and maybe a baseball cap or t-shirt. Ask family members and friends to dig through their purses and junk drawers to find keychains, pencils, pens, letter openers, knickknacks and doodads. Whenever you see imprinted novelty 12 REUNIONS v

items, take note of the company and call them. It’s a sure sign they purchased many of these giveaways to drum up business. Don’t overlook national companies and their regional offices. They are more likely to donate to get their company name in front of likely customers no matter where they live. High-ticket items such as mugs and thermal cups are usually reserved for customers. Ask if they’d share one or two of these items. Then, use them as door or game prizes or for raffles or giveaways. If you do not get enough to give to each guest, put everything you get in the middle of a table and put one item in, until each bag has a token gift. Or tell members they can each pick one item to add to their goodie bags. Thank contributors profusely. Send thank you notes to your contributors and a copy of your materials that feature their name. A card, signed by many reunion members, included with the note will go a long way to making contributors willing to offer products for future reunions. The following are businesses who regularly purchase promotional items and the types of things they will likely have available. v Banks are a large purchaser of promotional items such as pens, credit card cases, calendars, wrapped hard candy, change holders, note pads, golf tees and money clips. Best of all, you probably have many banks in your area.

v Mini first aid kits and healthcare products are the choice for hospitals. They often have sewing kits, magnets and phone cards with emergency numbers.

v Insurance companies, airlines and travel agencies are a good source for pens, pencils and golf tees and airlines may have luggage tags. Car dealers give away keychains, magnets and litter bags.

v Hardware stores often imprint paint sticks and pocket-size tools. v Beverage distributors, especially regional offices of national products, may offer bottle and pop-top can openers and sometimes chip clips and plastic beverage cups.

v Real estate companies are another good place to get keychains, calendars and magnets.

v Print shops often distribute note pads, business card holders and pens.

v Bookstores have heavy-duty imprinted plastic bags and bookmarks which libraries may also have.

v Supermarkets may be a great source of leads to manufacturers who distribute samples. Ask the manager.

v Long distance service providers may be a source for pens, scratch pads and magnets.

v Beauty supply stores and hair salons often use combs to promote their businesses.

v Contact your reunion city’s convention and visitor’s bureau for souvenirs and discount coupons. And don’t forget to explore freebie websites online. If you are willing to pay for some of the goody bag fillers and prizes you need, most cities have great party supply stores or Dollar Trees. Oriental Trading Company is an online distributor of party goods and many small items perfect for goodie bags.

welcome bags


osie Davis, Mena, Arkansas, is assembling goodies to ship ahead for a reunion the family enjoyed in Hawaii for a Pearl Harbor anniversary.


tems distributed at registration and the banquet during the Willis Connection Reunion included t-shirts bearing a photo of Charles and Laura Willis, a tote bag with a photo of a black cowboy (Charlie Willis) with the lineage of Andrew and Hattie Willis, a Willis Connection calendar of birthdays, and a Willis Connection recipe book (with recipes appropriately named after family members). Also, Certificates of Achievement were given to each person attending for their participation in the Willis Connection Reunion. Reported by Franklin Willis, Spring, Texas.

Listen to a podcast about how to fill a reunion goodie bag. See Pinterest goodie bag suggestions at


illing goodie bags for the Banks/Hill/Outlaw Family Reunion. Reunion planner, Thelma Jones, says she looked year-round for items for goodie bags. What she collected were items that were on sale and she saved them for the summer reunions. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 13

welcome bags


Shirley Davis, Las Vegas, Nevada, planning the Floyd-Newson Family Reunion, asked how to compose a letter to merchants for donations for door prizes.



The letter must be very specific to your reunion (introduce your reunion briefly and explain that you are good customers and hope they’ll support you) and must list what you will do in return for their donation—for example, that you will mention them in your programs, newsletters, family reunion membership booklet, reunion registration materials, and even press releases about the reunion. If you are recognized as a long time, loyal customer, it might be wiser to just show up and ask in person. Trade for ads in your program/adbook.


oan Waters of Charlotte Hall, Maryland, says she hit some dead ends trying to get stuff but her efforts did pay off. To fill her Curtis Butler Family Reunion goodie bags, Waters declared, email was a great tool. She contacted folks via their websites and found most responded within a couple of days. Nationwide Insurance Agent K. Smith gave Joan fifty bags, balloons, pencils and rulers. The Maryland Department of Tourism gave travel guides and maps while Kelvin Boston gave copies of his Credit Smart booklets. American Legacy Magazine gave free copies while Old Country

Buffet in Waldorf, Maryland, gave meal coupons. Door prizes Joan collected included discount coupons and ten barbecue kits of grilling utensils from Hebrew National. Baltimore Harbor Cruises donated two free lunch cruise passes and Dandy Dinner Boat Cruises, who tour the Potomac River with historic DC on one side and Virginia on the other, gave discount dinner cruise coupons. There were also a couple tickets for the Bowie, Maryland Baysox baseball team.

Goodie bag roundup


rinz Leftridge II, Gilbert, Arizona, helps plan the Lawrence Family Reunion. For their reunion held in Chicago, goodie bags included items that reminded them of Chicago: packages of Wrigley gum (because they are based in Chicago), coloring books for the kids and maps of the city for visitors to go sightseeing. Carolyn R. Clark, Kingsley, Iowa, provided goodie bags containing pens personalized with “King Family Reunion.” “King Family Reunion” magnets included a brief verse, and copies of their Family Crest and the Family Tree. Cardoza and Rodrigues Family Reunion Certificates of Appreciation were given to planning committee members. Hostess Geraldine Rodrigues received a ceramic platter from Portugal and host Manuel Rodrigues received the complete 1000-page


genealogy manuscript of the Cardoza and Rodrigues families going back to the mid-1800s. Eugenia (Paine) Rapasky received a rooster wind chime for coordinating and organizing the family reunion. From an article by Bill Withers in the Huntington, West Virginia, Herald-Dispatch, we learned about gifts Rappold Family Reunion organizer Caroline Rappold collects. The Rappolds welcome about 60 members to reunions each year. According to the article, Rappold has developed an ambitious system of buying or making gifts to pass out at reunions. “Everybody signs in and we draw names to see who gets the gifts,” she said. “If you travel a long way to get someplace, it’s nice to take something home that you don’t have to buy.” Gifts include everything from aprons and pillows to recipe boxes, banners and pictures of family-owned

he welcome bag for the USS John Young, DD-973 reunion included the original invitation, area information about Galveston plus a special souvenir of a Pilsner glass with the ships crest engraved into it. They also got a Leinenkugels bottle opener, John Young stainless steel bottle opener and Paul’s Perfect Pralines as well as coffee and chocolate donated by Operation Not Alone. 14 REUNIONS v

castles in Europe. Wise buyer Rappold says, “I look for things all year. I get them when they’re on sale.” The most coveted prize each year is a white toilet bowl cover that boasts the family crest. Rappold’s husband, Charles explains the vision, “It looks like one Rappold, at least, will have a throne,” he said. In Jonathan Vatner’s Frugal Planner’s Tip of the Week, Brenda Jones, of the National Association of Social Workers, Missouri Chapter, suggests a “take one” table for goodies and gifts. Goodie bags, she says, are always fun to receive, but time-consuming to assemble. And from the attendee perspective, the contents may be hit-or-miss. Place goodies on a table near the registration desk, and tell attendees to take one of whatever they want. This way, participants will get the right-size t-shirt, diabetics won’t be given chocolate, and gender-specific items can be included in the options. Plus, giving out fewer gifts saves money. The Dixon Family Reunion Sunday evening banquet committee decorated the room in reunion colors, and provided each family member with a special printed program and goodie bags containing mini-bags of personalized M&Ms, personalized ballpoint pens, flashlight key chains and other goodies. Children aged four and under received soft, cushy and cuddly teddy bears to take home.

family history activities

Explore your annals of history


eunions are about nothing if they’re not about history. They’re about family trees that took root overseas or here in the US and have grown, flowered and, perhaps, traveled like kudzu across the country. They’re about the memories, camaraderie and solidarity particular to veterans who have a distinct place in history. They’re about old friends and classmates who weathered the chaotic 1960s or big hair and bigger shoulder pads of the 1980s. When choosing a reunion destination, consider a historic meeting site as extraordinary as your ancestors, military buddies or chums. If your reunion is held near where the family originated, schedule a trip to the old family homestead, church and cemetery. Classmates can explore the old school and some military buddies return to the

scene(s) of their service. Use this as an opportunity to share memories, stories and recollections. These nostalgia trips are a golden opportunity for elders to share family stories and create new memories. Nostalgia trips offer chances for learning and strengthening bonds. Plan ahead, sort out memories, people and places you’d like to share: hometown, school or favorite childhood destinations. Consider children’s ages when planning. Discuss trip details before to build excitement. Show old pictures — including some of elders when they were the children’s ages. Through storytelling, family stories, recipes and “secrets,” children can begin to “see” their grandparents and parents as kids from stories of them growing up. Create new memories, take pictures, shoot video, keep a journal, create a scrapbook, keep a daily record.

Walk in the footsteps of your ancestors Family history touring: Free travel guides to help develop your tours:

Transportation arrangements


erdel Family Reunion planner Virginia Aitken, Havelock, North Carolina, contracted with a reliable bus company that required no advance deposit and could be cancelled without penalty a week before the reunion. She checked seating capacity and whether buses had restrooms, microphones and air conditioning. She also asked whether the bus driver was familiar with the area and would be adaptable to changes. The itinerary was planned with approximate times, allowing flexibility for extra or less time at each stop. She wrote or called someone at each tour stop several months in advance and again about two weeks before the reunion to be sure they were prepared. It is important to contact churches to be sure doors are open and that no weddings or other functions are planned. Provide your

phone number so someone from the church can contact you about unexpected events. She also did a “dry run” the day before the reunion so they could keep the bus driver on-track. In retrospect, she says she would have done a couple things differently. First, she would have solicited more help! She says she was so busy tending to details, she didn’t have as much time to spend with family members as she would have liked. Second, the stop for lunch yielded some surprises. Everyone paid for their own lunch and management added a gratuity and beverage to

each check, although some people only drank water. This resulted in some confusion and long lines when paying for the meal. Including the price of lunch with the bus trip would have solved the problem. Overall, Virginia says she was extremely pleased with the outcome. She says she developed a great appreciation for tour guides after her brief stint as one.


family history activities

Family heritage tours


inda LK Armstrong of Farmington, Minnesota, calls history tours ‘Heritage Haunts.’ Armstrong’s Heritage Haunt consists of tours of family homes, farms, schools, neighborhoods and businesses. It includes favorite restaurants, parks, and bars, and other sites where interesting family events took place. Aside from visiting locations, family history is shared through stories, narration, re-enactments, pictures, antiques and artifacts. These “haunts” are your family’s heritage. They are where stories and memories were born. When you visit these special places, the past comes alive and is firmly linked to the present. This inexpensive tour can be a backdrop for an afternoon of stories, music, food, games, and laughter. It’s a way for the entire family to participate in a single activity as they connect with each other and their shared past.

site still exists. Is the site interesting because of its history or stories? How long will it take to travel to the site? Is the site an option for a large group? Is it accessible to family members with special needs? Once you’ve selected a site, research it. Find out who owns it; is it public or private property? If possible, research the site’s history before and after your family.

PLANNING YOUR “HERITAGE HAUNT” First, determine which family members or ancestors to focus on. Often, families have core members who are the focal point for the rest of the family. Focus on these people for your tour. Once you select several members, narrow your list to particularly lively characters or families, living or deceased, who are well known by everyone attending the reunion. Research family history and possible sites. Start by creating a family history sketch to select sites and dig up interesting stories. Search your memory first. Jot down whatever you know about these core members. Where were they from originally (country, state, city)? Where did they live? What schools did they attend? Where did they work? Did they own businesses? Where did they spend time? Where did they attend church? Where did the married couples meet? Where did children spend their time? Which neighborhoods, restaurants, bars, stores and clubs were their favorites? Create a history sketch filled with information about who these members were, what they did in life, interesting events associated with them, and locations or sites associated with the stories. Once you have some ideas, call other relatives and ask for information and stories. Narrow down and research the locations. From the history sketch, select places to visit. As you consider each site, ask if the

Seidemann farm buggy preserved. 16 REUNIONS v

Farm implements displayed at the Seidemann Family Reunion in Newburg, Wisconsin.

LOCATE RESOURCES AND PLAN THE PARTICULARS TRANSPORTATION Traveling to sites is a large part of the tour as well as an opportunity for your family to connect. If at all possible, rent a motorcoach, bus or mini-van to keep the group together. If you’re not able to do this, provide maps and a time frame for drivers. Then, caravan and car-pool to sites together.

HISTORY In addition to viewing the site, you must explain and narrate its history and put your research to use. Try a number of approaches to narrate stories on the way in the motorcoach/bus. Prepare a history booklet or outline as a memento and read together as you visit sites. Recruit kids or grandchildren to create a re-enactment. Create a script of an event and assign roles complete with period clothing and dialect. Dig up pictures of family members at this location so reunion goers can connect past and present. Note changes in the site from past to present. Add even more fun to the experience by playing music related to the sites or the time period as you travel. Display family treasures or heirlooms. Locate antiques previously owned by your family: kitchen tools, farm implements, office machines, ledgers, crochet hooks. Demonstrate the use of old farm, household or business equipment. Video tape the day’s lighter moments and play the tape later in your reunion events or at your next reunion. You’ve done your planning and research. Now it’s time for the fun. Remember to enlist the help of others for the big day. Don’t do

family history activities

it all yourself. Assign jobs and delegate responsibilities to other family members. Remember, what’s really important is the time you spend together. The stories and laughter are what you’ll remember; so don’t let the details get you down. Happy Haunting!

FLEETWOOD FAMILY REUNION The Fleetwood Family Reunion gathers descendants of Oklahomans Charles Fleetwood and Lucinda Morgan and their 14 children. The first reunion was in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Capitol of the Cherokee Nation West, where their 7th great-grandparents met at nearby Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, in 1834. Charles Fleetwood was an Army Dragoon from Bertie County, North Carolina, and Lucinda Morgan was a Cherokee/Catawba native from the hills of western North Carolina. At one reunion, planners reserved a travel coach with an intercom and visited several historic sites in Oklahoma’s Delaware District, along with places the family lived, transacted business and are buried. Presentations on the tour included charts, maps, pictures, displays, books, and genealogy material pertaining to family history. Another day they traveled north into the Delaware District and visited historic sites where policies had impacted their ancestors’ lives. They contemplated Charles’ involvement at the Battle of

Cabin Creek historic site. At the Saline Courthouse, they imagined ancestors coming to cast their votes in Cherokee Tribal elections. They visited cemeteries where Lucinda and other descendants are buried. That evening they showed Last Raid at Cabin Creek, a documentary about the Civil War. Saturday, again by coach, they traveled south, first stopping at Fort Gibson State Historic Site, where their ancestors met and married. Lucinda was 16 and Charles was 24. From there, the tour stepped out of the Cherokee Nation and 30 years into the future. They went south to the Battle of Honey Springs State Historic Site. Again, they imagined Charles’ involvement at another pivotal engagement of the Civil War in Indian Territory. He was an old man in the Union Army who, in this place, faced his sons who were Confederates. Each day the reunion coordinator called ahead and made reservations for the party. She chose moderately priced restaurants she was familiar with that served good food. Everyone was satisfied. Reported by Jennifer Sparks, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, who says in commenting about her reunion: “It was a great accomplishment to have successfully executed such a large event, and it was so worth it. I think the greatest reward was the wonderful people I came to know and love. I made so many new friends out of previously unknown relatives, and it is a satisfying feeling.”

Dreisbach Family Reunion


he Hidden History Bus Tour was a full day in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania’s “Dreisbach Country,” where in 1743, immigrant Simon Dreisbach and his sons lived, worked and worshipped. The tour also explored three groups who preceded the Dreisbachs in the area: the Lenape Indians with their peach orchard and gardens, the first European settlers (the Ulster Scots), and the Moravians and their experiment in communal living. The tour included historic sites such as Whitefield House, built in 1740-43, and its 1740 log house neighbor; the newly restored Jacksonville settlement; and an authentic, fully furnished 1756 Pennsylvania-German homestead, the Troxell-Steckel House. After lunch the tour continued to the lower reaches of the Lehigh Gap to see the path ancestors took when they moved out of the valley. The group learned about the area’s recently identified prehistoric “sacred landscape,” about cheated Indians who wailed on a mountaintop through the night,

about massacres and abductions, and about the Pennsylvania governor who had a Dreisbach mother-in-law. This tour lasted eight hours and included bus, lunch, admissions, gratuities and a “Dreisbach map” made especially for the tour. A second ten-hour bus tour experienced the Amish country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They enjoyed an insider’s look at farmlands, one-room schools, horses and buggies, the plainest of dress and life without electricity. Shared by Ted Dreisbach, Cherry Hill, New Jersey. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 17

family history activities

Make a reunion time capsule


time capsule is a historic cache or treasure trove of goods or information, usually intended as a deliberate method of communication with people in the future. The preservation of holy relics dates back millennia, but the practice of preparing and preserving a collection of everyday artifacts and messages to the future is a more recent practice. Time capsules are often created and buried during celebrations or ceremonies. Many time capsules are not buried, but rather stored in a safe, dry place for future revelation.

daily lives of the people who created them such as personal notes, pictures, videos and documents, will greatly increase the value of the time capsule to future historians.

THE CAPSULE The actual capsule can be a variety of things, but most importantly it should be something that can seal and preserve the contents from the ravages of time. There are time capsules made of stainless steel which can often cost more than a reunion is willing to invest. A trunk or plastic bin might

WHAT TO INCLUDE A class may have made a time capsule when they graduated and look forward to opening it at a designated reunion: 25 or 50 years later. The fun then will be to see what was so important all those years ago: yearbooks, pictures, event programs, reminiscence from members, and descriptions of sporting and other triumphs. Opening the capsule and revealing its contents will be of interest to all involved. A family, on the other hand, will have to decide what they want to include. It could be as simple as asking everyone to donate something of importance to them along with a brief explanation. Family time capsules can include written family stories, photos, artifacts and memories from the current reunion. For the actual capsule filling, each person can simply add their contribution or as an activity, everyone can explain what they are adding. If it is the latter, be sure to record the activity either on film or video. One interesting suggestion is that if yours is a cruise reunion, you launch a “message in a bottle,” and drop your time capsule overboard with a message included how to return it to you and see how long it takes to come back to the family.

CAUTION When choosing what to put in a time capsule, consider the issue of obsolescence of technology and the deterioration of electronic and magnetic storage media. For example, inclusion of “floppy disks” a few decades ago would be hard pressed to find a computer to display their contents in another 25 years. Items which describe the 18 REUNIONS v


work well. Seal it, label it and decide on a time to open it at another reunion - in 25 years, perhaps. It should be stored somewhere where it is never exposed to the elements or water. Perhaps most importantly, someone (or someones) must know and record where the capsule is stored/hidden/ placed to be found later. Sadly, many buried time capsules are forever lost, as interest in them fades and the exact location is forgotten so make sure the existence of your reunion time capsule and where to find it remains a part of your reunion information.

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family history activities

Honoring a Revolutionary war soldier

Plan cemetery visits


o a step further and recruit the clan to clean up ancestral cemetery plots or research the family in old church records (be sure to schedule with the pastor in advance). This is a particularly special activity when many members are attending from out-of-town.


SMALL CEMETERIES I grew up in a small town in Western Kentucky, where many small cemeteries sprinkle the region. They’re not quite family cemeteries, but small, private community cemeteries. Most hold annual gatherings. Originally, these were for family members of the deceased to come and clean the graveyard. They removed weeds and scraped the vegetation off gravesites, right down to the dirt. This kept them from becoming overgrown before the next year’s cleaning. They gather for a meal, pass a collection plate for the general fund and spend time together. The collected money pays for mowing and maintenance. My family has relatives buried at McNeely Cemetery (among others) in rural Western Kentucky in Olney, Hopkins County, near Dawson Springs. My mother and I take an active role in this meeting each year. She is the cemetery’s treasurer, and I usually send out reminder letters and requests for donations. I think it’s probably one of those dying traditions that municipal cemeteries and a more mobile society will make obsolete in 20 or 30 years. Still, I’d like to keep it going as long as possible. In these times when everyone wants so desperately to connect to their cultural roots, cemetery cleanings are a good source of heritage. Reported by Nikole Christensen, Lexington, Kentucky.

or more than 175 years, Revolutionary War veteran William Ballenger’s grave was a fieldstone with crude engravings. His descendant Margaret Currie and her husband, Randy, discovered it while searching Williamsburg (Indiana) Cemetery. She’d recently learned of her Ballenger lineage and that William Ballenger is her great-great-greatgrandfather. Family members believed Ballenger was buried in the cemetery, but they could not locate his grave. Finding it inspired a family reunion of more than 100 descendants from at least eight of his 12 known children. The family decided Ballenger deserved a more prominent marker and they requested one from the Veterans Administration. William Ballenger served from January 10, 1777 to January 10, 1780 as a sergeant in the 10th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line Army. He participated in the Battle of Stony Point July 16, 1779 which is why Ballenger’s descendants chose July 16 to gather to honor him. A Sons of the American Revolution color guard performed taps and fired muskets as part of the commemoration of a new grave marker. From a story by Rachel E. Sheeley in the Palladium-Item, Richmond, Indiana.

One foot in the grave

W “

hile attending a family reunion in Missouri, we took an excursion to visit a small family cemetery near Webb City. Aunt Esther reminisced about the folks interred there as we strolled among the gravestones. “There,” she pointed out, “is where your

Great-grandma Effie and her leg are buried.” She explained “Grandma Effie lost her leg to gangrene, and it was buried with her. Poor dear, she went around for years telling people that she already had one foot in the grave.” Reported by Hancock Huskey, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Family saves and preserves cemetery



oment of contemplation. Ron Poindexter at ancestor, Captain Thomas Poindexter’s Grave, Macedonia Church Cemetery.


he Fergus/Related Families “Gathering” place was chosen because of the cemetery at Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee. We wanted to do restorative work and call attention to the need for funds to adequately fence the cemetery and build a gravel road from the highway. John Walter, a wonderful self-taught cemetery restorationist (www., helped restore our almost extinct Ditty/ Fergus Family Cemetery on a private farm. I was searching online for help in restoring a rapidly disappearing cemetery when I found a newspaper article about John Walter and his work. John met with our group of five cousins descended from different lines of our immigrant ancestor, Francis Fergus, who is buried in the cemetery. We had not met before, but worked together for the common cause of saving the cemetery. Francis’s gravesite is marked with a DAR memorial marker placed there in 1941, the 100th anniversary of his death. We have, happily, saved the cemetery. Reported by Cynthia Russell, Traverse City, Michigan.

family history activities


napp-Napp Family Reunion members from around the country and from Germany included a visit to a family cemetery in Lancaster, Wisconsin.


ore than 325 Dague Family descendants gathered at the Marshall County Fairgrounds in Moundsville, West Virginia, to celebrate the family’s 250 years in America. On Sunday morning, families attended church the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church where ancestors had been members. A bronze plaque

was placed on Friedrich and Anna Maria’s grave in the church cemetery. They also visited the nearby Dague homestead. The circle of cousins singing Blest be the Tie that Binds is a tradition practiced at least 100 years at Dague reunions across America. Cathy Martin Koufopoulos, Lawrenceville, Georgia.


he Schürch Family Reunion visited landmarks important to descendants. Here they are at the grave of Casper Sherk, immigrated 1732, died 1770. It is said he is actually buried in the middle of a nearby road. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 21

family history activities

Cemetery access problematic


isiting cemeteries is not always easy. The McCoys (of Hatfield and McCoy fame) cemetery is on private land and not available to family. The McCoys went to court, where a temporary injunction was ordered and agreed upon by all parties. The conditions stipulated that the owners would permit access to the McCoy Cemetery on the property “at Hardy, Pike County, Kentucky, during the hours of 9 AM to 7 PM and so long as no more than five people visit said cemetery per visitation.” One further condition, not listed in the order, is that no vehicles were allowed.


Reunion organizers added their cautions that members be respectful and mindful of the owner’s property, be thankful for the access and not cause the owner any undue inconvenience. Finally, anyone who visited the cemetery was cautioned to assist in caring for the property by picking up garbage or tree limbs. Good advice for any cemetery visit.

preserve memories & history thru family photos

Turn a family reunion into a family history scanning party


y mother’s side of the family has held a reunion the first weekend in August for as long as I can remember, going back to the early 1960s. My mom’s family was fairly large with six children. My mom was the youngest of her sisters so there were always lots of aunts and uncles, older cousins and extended family to visit. The Warner Family picnic was the highlight of the summer for me growing up, with a softball game, an egg toss and high-stakes card games among the traditional activities. As with many families, the family ages, traditions change. Families move away and new generations take over leadership. But traditions continue. A few years ago, I started getting more involved in family history and genealogy. I embarked on a long process to scan my own 100,000 photos from my family, my wife’s family and family history photos and documents from both sides. Rather than send my precious family photos in the mail for scanning, I rented a home-scanning rig, which included everything needed for a scanning job. After completing my family photo library, I realized the Warner Picnic was an ideal opportunity to have a scanning party. I put the word out to bring family photos and documents to the reunion for scanning and sharing. Fortunately, the reunion is held in a park with a pavilion equipped with electrical outlets. If you are going to have a similar family reunion scanning session, here are some tips:

and then scan them to corresponding folders. Doing so helps you visually as you try to keep track of your progress, as well to ensure you are getting all photos scanned.

1 Have enough space to work. The

3 Pace yourself. If using a sheet-fed

scanners and laptop take up a considerable amount of table space. Plus, you need room for boxes of photos and photo albums and to accommodate the prints after you scan them, whether you’re putting them back in boxes or photo albums. Some people want to maintain the photo albums after scanning, so they return all the pictures to the same album pages.

scanner, resist the temptation to load up the print feed tray and walk away. This type of scanner occasionally jams, especially if you have prints of various sizes and thicknesses, and can damage photos. Also, be mindful some prints may have a sticky residue, from a photo-album page. Finally, be sure to check prints aren’t stuck together from years of sitting in boxes before feeding them into the scanner. The VIVID -PIX® Memory Station scanner overcomes these problems.

2 Have a pre-scan plan. Scanning is only a small portion of the time needed for the project. Getting pictures organized (removed from albums, organized by date, etc.) consumes a lot of prep time. Organize the photos into logical batches, 24 REUNIONS v

Lots of laughs and love were shared by all.

provide valuable information. Even more importantly, in the 1960s and 70s, photofinishers often printed the date on the back of the print, which could be very useful when organizing scanned images.

4 Get the whole story. Always scan both sides. You never know when a personal note on the back of a print will

5 Get more of the story. Ask your relatives to talk about the pictures and why they’re important. Record them on video as they talk so you get their facial expressions and voices. This can add a dimension to the photos that can’t be captured any other way. 6 Have a post-scan plan. Do you know what you’re doing with your photos, after scanning? For example, it sounds like an excellent idea to upload all your photos to the cloud, until you realize just how long uploading 1,000 scanned images will take. Have an accessory hard drive and flash drive to save the archive from the computer; you can upload it later. Also, ask family members to bring their own flash drives so they can take the scanned files home. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gary Pageau is editor of The Dead Pixel Society, a website, newsletter and community for the photo/imaging industry.

preserve memories & history thru family photos

Hold your own family reunion scanning party! Have a closet full of boxes filled with photos, documents and keepsakes? Albums filled with gems that don’t see the light of day or shared? Frames filled with your most treasured memories? It’s simple!


Give your pics and docs the V I V I D -PIX® Fix! 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 25

preserve memories & history thru family photos

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VIVID-PIX® RESTORE software for Mac and for Windows

but has evolved into much more than that. Started by business partners Randy Fredlund and Rick Voight, V I V I D -PIX® has become a leader in providing solutions for an entire range of family history products, services, education and charitable projects.

preserve memories & history thru family photos

Share, display and store your cherished memories. Prints are the foundation of family history. Not only does VIVID-PIX® provide an easy way to enhance existing prints but the company also provides a quick and easy way to print the

Pictures hang aligned and stay level.

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preserve memories & history thru family photos

Reunion Stories by Lisa A. Alzo, MFA Preserving reunion memories: scanning and sharing photographs


ecently I attended the funeral for a first cousin on my father’s side of the family. Dotted around the funeral home were poster boards filled with old photographs of my cousin as a child, young man, and as an adult, including many taken during his 23 years in the United States Navy. After the services his daughter mentioned how she hoped to plan a cousin’s get-together to sort through many other family photographs that were in his possession. This conversation prompted a question: Why do we wait until a loved passes away to start thinking about the importance of preserving and sharing family photographs and stories? It seems that the best time to do this is while people in the

photographs or those who can identify them, are still alive. My father’s side of the family has never had official family reunions and our times together have been events such as funerals, weddings, etc. My mother’s side of the family, however, has held reunions (under the acronym of the ALAFFFA Family Reunion) for over 50 years. In a Reunions magazine column, I have written about many of our adventures planning and holding reunions. Our upcoming 55th reunion (scheduled for July 2022) seems like the perfect time to implement a scanning station as an activity to help

John Alzo, 1943

preserve and share family photographs. When you think about it, reunions and scanning are a perfect pairing. Reunions serve to bring family members together to share wonderful memories and, hopefully as a result, those who attend draw closer and retain family bonds.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE A little advanced planning will help set you up for scanning success. If you are the person volunteering to take the lead on this activity, send an email to potential attendees, at least 6 months in advance announcing there will be a photo scanning station and how it will work. Ask each attendee to bring at least five of their favorite family photographs. Some may have shoeboxes or albums containing many photographs. Prepare a schedule in advance and have each person who brings photographs sign up for a 15–30-minute time slot (depending on how many people will want to participate). You can share a sign-up sheet via Google Drive or Dropbox.


A picture says a thousand words - but it’s the memories that photos invoke, the stories, and the experience(s) that make pictures come to life. 28 REUNIONS v

At the venue, have a designated station set up with a laptop and scanner available throughout the day. Check out the venue in advance to make sure there is a sturdy continued on page 30.

preserve memories & history thru family photos

Tell your family stories with Vivid-Pix free, low-cost education. PHOTO / DOCUMENT ORGANIZATION Cathi Nelson, CEO, The Photo Managers With a passion for photos and storytelling, Cathi taught hundreds of women how to create meaningful family scrapbooks. In 2009, she sensed a change coming as people reduced printing photos, so began offering her expertise as a photo organizer. Now, she creates DIY classes and supports a professional organization with close to 1,000 members around the world.

WRITTEN / ORAL STORYTELLING Laura Hedgecock, Owner, A Treasure Chest of Memories Laura is an author, storyteller, speaker and Geneablogger obsessed with family history and passionate about helping others tell their personal and family stories. Her website “A Treasure Chest of Memories” is a collection of stories that warm you and loved ones. She is President of the 1,200 member blog GeneaBloggers.

PHOTO REMINISCENCE / THERAPY Joshua Freitas, Ph.D.(c), M.Ed., BC-DEd, et al. Joshua is an award-winning memory care program developer, researcher and author. His care and training philosophies have been featured in prominent publications, on TV and more. Freitas is Vice President of Program Development at CERTUS Senior Living and Chair of the Board for the National Institute for Dementia Education.

PHOTO TAKING / IMPROVEMENT David Huffman, Owner, Huffman Photo Art David is a photographer, instructor and author whose photography passion has existed for over 40 years. His technique and style sets his portraits apart. His photography courses are self-paced for beginning, intermediate and advanced photographers. Starting with the fundamentals and continuing with more advanced techniques, they educate and inspire a new understanding and enjoyment of photography.


preserve memories & history thru family photos continued from page28.

table, electricity, and ample power outlets, The Memory Station <> is an excellent choice for scanning multiple photos quickly. This is a combination of a Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 + V I V I D -PIX® RESTORE software. In the bundle, Vivid-Pix includes FileShadow cloud archive, if desired, providing storage for 1,000 images free and additional fee for more storage. If you have a large family reunion it may be more efficient to have multiple stations. Work this out in advance with family members who have purchased a Memory Station and are willing to bring it and a laptop to the event. If your budget allows, you can purchase some personalized USB drives from CustomUSB < or> to have on site. Designate a point person or a team to oversee scanning and to troubleshoot any issues. program to show at the next reunion. If you already have a designated family genealogist/historian, a tribute to ancestors makes a nice addition to a printed family tree or photo board. You can use iMovie or Adobe Spark to add music and other effects. A family reunion is the perfect opportunity to blend the past with the present. Memories of loved ones and family milestones preserved through photographs no longer need to stay hidden in shoeboxes or stored in dusty cardboard albums. Be prepared to experience joy, laughter, tears and a range of emotions as you reminisce together over the precious photographs, and enjoy the day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ENGAGE FAMILY MEMBERS A family photo scanning activity is an excellent way to involve attendees of all ages. Set up a sharing circle to have members from the oldest generation answer questions about the photographs. This can initiate a memorable dialogue to be passed down for generations. Appoint someone to record the session with their smartphone or video camera. Using the FileShadow cloud archive makes it easy for someone to share and access the photos to add tags and other relevant information shared during conversations. Using the Vivid-Pix Mobile app and/or online, add a voice recording to your photos and share.

FOLLOW UP Once the photos are scanned and stored, they can easily be shared with others, especially with family members unable to attend the event. If you have an annual reunion, a photo scanning station can be incorporated into activities each year. Once you have your scanned photo collection, utilize the photos to create photo posters or other keepsakes to use as decorations at a future reunion. See <> for ideas. Get creative and put together a tribute slideshow using Google Slides (Free Online Slideshow Maker), Microsoft PowerPoint, or your favorite software 30 REUNIONS v

Lisa Alzo has been surrounded by family at their 50+ year running reunion and walks in her ancestor’s footsteps, literally and figuratively, as a genealogist, lecturer and writer. Author of 11 books and endless articles for newspapers and magazines, Lisa earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the highly acclaimed Creative Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She works as a writing coach and online educator through her website Research Write Connect

preserve memories & history thru family photos Upload & record memories from computer, too.

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reunion activities

A challenge for all reunion planners …


n an article about technology and manners, author Eileen Wacker declares, “We’re in a new age, folks,” and asks, “Are they being rude? Is technology changing modern day manners? We do not get to choose the norms of the next generations or their peer-to-peer etiquette. We can lament the demise of a less-wired generation. We can even set limits but we cannot halt the culture change they are driving.” Actual Reunion Day is not the place for technology. Set the technology aside … kids and adults. Put video games and smart phones away for just one day or weekend so all

your members can be present and interact with each other rather than technology. If activities are enjoyable — and that’s your challenge — they will not miss the video games. As for the use of phones, I was discussing this with a friend and reunion enthusiast who bemoaned that the phone is how most people take pictures. But, I suspect, that too can be monitored. Make a statement up front that picture taking or ordering more beer are the only reason anyone should be on their phones! And then enforce the rule! EW

Reunion ‘to do’ list

h oven e “dutc in the v a h DO es” cooked potato . fire uitar camp t one g s a le t of ea DO halov ng with plenty a . to go voices inging eal good s nned m ) la p e rly ve on ers ea DO hath olunte l per day. v e (select potluck mea selves m e and on fend for the m e . time Let th t of the the res


e have a very large family so we always do a camping week-end every other year. People use tents, travel trailers, and nearby motels and come from all over the country. We hike, fish, and ride bikes. Some find horses to rent. Some go into town to sample local restaurants. We frequently have crafts for the many children. We’ve made painted/ decorated walking sticks. One year I brought my bead bins which was a real hit for young and old because you could be calm and visit at the same time. The mix you need is 1/3 structured time with 2/3 free time. We usually do this for 3-days. At each reunion, we select which family will be responsible for planning the next reunion.

Trading time



sk teenagers to come prepared to trade school t-shirts. A It may mean buying a couple extras but you’ll be giving support to your kids’ schools. Best are shirts that include not only the name of the school but the city and state for out-of-state cousins.

his is a particularly good idea for families who love to sing and/or have musicians who can display their talents. Create a song list of traditional and family favorites, hymns and patriotic music. Plan the songs in advance and provide song sheets so everyone can sing along. Engage family musicians to accompany the songs.


I f your reunion includes members from many places, trade souvenirs. Ask everyone to bring one, then trading time should start as early as the first mixer/welcome party. Encourage people to trade and re-trade. As a final activity ask everyone to show what trade they’ve ended up with.


T he Barnett Family Reunion has a special trading tradition. Each child digs into his or her toy box for something to offer at the reunion. Toys are piled on a picnic table or blanket. Each child’s name is put in a bag and pulled one by one, to pick a ‘new’ toy from the pile.


Benrud Family Reunion choir

Reunion activities. More reunion activities. 32 REUNIONS v

reunion activities

White Elephant gift exchange

Toney Sellers displaying his Apple Pie Moonshine choice.

Photos from the White Elephant exchange at the USS Dewart reunion in Charleston, South Carolina.


ou must plan ahead for a White Elephant gift exchange, but it’s an activity that all ages can get into. Announce that you will be doing a White Elephant gift exchange and ask everyone including kids to bring a wrapped inexpensive gift from their neck of the woods for each person to exchange. Label gifts for adults or kids and display separately. If you’ve never participated in a White Elephant exchange, it’s a lot of fun and gets everyone involved.

Gift Themes. The organizer may require people to bring a gift that fits a theme. The most common one is a re-gift (i.e., an unwanted item that people have laying around the house). However, the theme could be anything – ornaments, coffee table books, candy, do-it-yourself crafts, etc. More suggestions below.

How to play. To begin, you can hand out numbers randomly or ask members to pull numbers from a hat to determine the order of selecting gifts. Everyone should be sitting or standing where they can see the gifts to be selected. Dina Miller opening her White Elephant choice.

Change rules mid game! Instead of following the same set of rules each turn, players follow instructions given to them mid game. Tells players to pass their gift left or right until the end, when they get to keep whatever item they’re holding. WHAT MAKES THE BEST WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT? There are lots of different approaches to choosing a White Elephant Gift. As long as you’re following the price suggestion (typically around $20) and any “special” instructions by the organizer, you can’t really go wrong. That said, here are some characteristics to look for when looking for a gift to bring to your White Elephant Gift Exchange party.

Funny. Funny gifts make the biggest splash, but aren’t always the most desirable items for swapping. Weird. Weird artwork and gadgets are also popular and are often highly sought after.

Nice. There’s nothing wrong with buying a genuinely nice gift, especially since it has the potential to fuel a lot of competition during the game. In short, there’s a place for all sorts of different items in a gift exchange, but if there’s one quality that all gifts should have, it’s that they should be interesting. As each gift is selected, it must be opened and displayed for everyone to see. Then, the person with the next number can either select a wrapped gift or “steal” a gift that has already been opened.

Consider some limits to keep things moving along. A gift can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back. After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. Anyone whose gift is stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). There is no right or wrong way to play. Consider some of these ideas to keep the game moving. Announce these before the game starts and if you plan to change rules during the game, announce that ahead too. Here are some tweaks to consider. Three swaps and you’re out. If you get stolen from three times during the game, you can no longer be stolen from.

Three swaps and the gift is out. If a present gets stolen three times, it’s out of the game and the person who holds it gets to walk away with it.

Dave Houghton, Reggie Brown and Melissa Justesen examining her choice. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 33

reunion activities

Family Olympics


his is a particularly good idea if your family is into sports where you choose everyone’s favorite games and let the competition begin. But you can also create competition from simpler games

such as relay races, table tennis, tug-of-war, checkers, dominoes, badminton, volleyball or many others. Be prepared to award medals to the winners whether handmade or purchased ahead of time.

Williams Family Reunion tug-of-war.

Potter Family Reunion volleyball game.


More photos of the annual Siedeman Family Reunion at

Family talent display


his year will be our 20th reunion. Each reunion has been at least three days and all have been camping events. Our most popular activity is always the Friday night talent show. Everyone takes part and some of the acts display true talent. Others display a lot of “good sport” fun. We expect our 20th to be great. I hope yours is too.

Sack races generate lots of laughs at the Seidemann Family Reunion.


ave races for all ages from small kiddos through the elders who are willing and able to participate. Races can be formal with prizes or informal for bragging rights. Running races can be for speed or simply for a goal of finishing. Sack races, wheel barrow races, races on bicycles or scooters, running or walking. Can be done individually or in pairs. Teams of two participants each insert a leg into a shared sack or pillowcase. The winning team crosses the finish line first.


Talent performances at Seidemann Family Reunion.

reunion activities

The big family show

Prizes and what they’re won for

nnounce a big family show ahead of the reunion and ask everyone to bring slides to share. Suggest a theme or themes appropriate for the family. For example, pictures of family life, at home or in your town. Pictures of kids in their activities and daily lives. Pictures of activities the whole family engages in. Pictures of kids at their sports activities and triumphs. Ask all members of each family to do some narration and/or explanation. Set a certain limit of photos (or slides) for each family to send in for the show or bring videos. Hang a big sheet outside, if a screen is not available. Then, have lots of popcorn, movie candy and sodas for the occasion.

he Chambersburg Public Opinion in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, included a report about local reunions. Moirae Furry and Larry Heck won a guessing game during the 29th annual Hammond Family Reunion. With 101 people in attendance, other prizes included: youngest, oldest man, oldest woman, traveled farthest, most recently married, newest home, most recently lost a tooth, closest birthdays, those with a son or daughter living the farthest away, and having the most keys. Fifty-eight people attended the Harvey Leedy Family Reunion where Harry Leedy, 74, was awarded prizes for most gray hair and for being the oldest at the reunion. Other novel prizes were having the newest vehicle, closest birthday, having the most pocket change and most keys, wearing most jewelry, most recently lost tooth. Awarding prizes is a special event at the Green Family Reunion. It’s also a time for many to be involved.



x First family to reply to the reunion invitation x A Salute to Graduates x Best wishes for newlyweds x Sports champions x Business awards x I’m Every Woman Award x 1,000 miles award x 40 & Fabulous/50 & Foxy/60 & Sensational/80 & Glowing x Silver Anniversaries

Organize greetings


rganize greetings for members who are not able to attend the reunion. Have family members make and sign greeting cards for those who could not attend. Alternately, you can include remote visitors by Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or conference calls.

Do we know about your upcoming reunion?

Add it on:

Contests S

et a timer for five minutes and give each person at the reunion S a paper and pencil. Each person must write a five-minute history of themselves or their family or a write a family update. Compile these in a book for everyone.


Guess person, time or place of a historical photo.


uess the Baby Picture – Can you match the baby picture to the G relative? With the striking resemblances in most families, this can be a tricky game. To make it even harder, convert all the photographs to black and white and add a grainy filter. That way, people can’t easily guess based on the age of the photo.

ave guessing games to identify antique items. If you don’t have H real items use photos, such as fire bellows, lanterns, manual typewriters, suspenders and spinning wheels.

COOKING CONTESTS Pie eating @ Seidemann Family Reunion, Newburg, Wisconsin. 36 REUNIONS v

This is always a family favorite, whether you challenge family with a chili cook-off or an old-fashioned pie (or pudding) eating contest.

reunion games

Lots of reunion Classic games classic children’s games, but encourage adults to join in recalling their childhood play. games! Don’t fail to pass these games on to the next generation. Consider


reat, well-organized games help break the ice and craft wonderful reunion memories. What kinds of games will you assemble to involve everyone and guarantee that everyone will enjoy participating? Maintaining interest is essential for a successful reunion game.

These will get members out in the fresh air and are a great substitute for the typical video games which today’s children are so attached to. Expect groans and eye-rolling at the suggestion at first, but soon everyone will be laughing and having fun! Ultimately, the number one rule for successfully planning a terrific reunion game is to be creative. Just make sure everyone grows a little closer through these games and in the end that everyone has a great time. These games help bring a general sense of nostalgia and fun to a reunion, but as every reunion is a celebration of the past, it is important to keep the idea of the present in mind as well. Reunions should always be more than just having a good time; you should take it as an opportunity to grow closer to your family.


Duck, Duck, Goose also known as Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.


uck, Duck, Goose requires at least 5 players. Players, except the person who is IT, all sit in a circle. IT walks around the circle, tapping each player on the head, saying “duck” each time until s/he decides to tap someone and say “goose.” That person becomes the goose and runs after IT, trying to tag him/her before IT can take his seat. If

IT successfully reaches the goose’s seat without being tagged, the goose is the new IT. If the goose tags IT, then the goose keeps his spot in the circle and IT must either continue to be IT for another turn or sit in the middle of the circle until another IT is tagged. The objective of Duck, Duck, Goose is, of course, to have fun and make sure everyone gets a turn at being a goose and being IT.

Reunion games: the big list Games reunions play:


reunion games

Captain may I?

Red light Green light


Red Light, Green Light is also known as Statues.

ne player plays the captain. The other players are crew mates. To begin the game, the captain stands at one end of a yard or room and faces away, while crew mates line up at the other end. Crew mates take turns asking “Captain, may I ____?” and make a movement suggestion. For example, one might ask, “Captain, may I take five steps forward?” The Captain replies either “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not, but you may _____ instead” and inserts his/ her own suggestion. The players usually move closer to the captain but are sometimes led farther away. Even if the captain makes an unfavorable suggestion, the crew mate must still perform it. The first of the crew mates to reach the captain wins the game. That crew mate then becomes the captain, the original captain becomes a crew mate, and a new round begins.



REQUEST SUGGESTIONS Take (#) steps forward Take (#) giant steps forward (a small number, due to large step size) Hop forward like a frog, (#) times Run forward for (#) seconds Crab walk forward for (#) seconds or (#) steps Take (#) Cinderella steps — twirl forward with index finger touching the top of the head Open-and-shut the book (#) times — jump forward with feet apart, then again bringing feet together

VARIATIONS If crew mates are reaching the captain too quickly, the captain may reject crew mate’s suggestion by replacing it with “No, you may not do that, but you may do ____ instead.” For example, reducing five giant steps to three giant steps, or make a different suggestion, such as:


person starts out as the curator (IT) and stands at one end of a field while everyone else stands at the far end. The object of the game is for a player to tag the curator, thereby becoming the curator and resetting the game. The curator turns his/her back to the field and players attempt to race across and tag the curator. When the curator turns around, players must freeze in position and hold that for as long as the curator looks at them. The curator may even be allowed to walk around players, examining them. However, the curator needs to be careful – whenever the curator’s back is turned, players are allowed to move. Players caught moving are either sent back to the starting line to begin again or are eliminated.

Red Rover TO PLAY


ed Rover is played between two lines of players (called the “North” and “South” teams). They are positioned approximately thirty feet apart with hands or arms linked. The game starts when one team, determined by a coin toss, calls for a player from the opposing team, by saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let [name of from the opposite team] come over!” The immediate goal for the chosen one is to run to the opposite team’s line and break the chain formed by the players’ hands. If the chosen one successfully breaks the chain, they may take either of the two “links” broken by the successful run, to join their team. If the selected runner fails, they join the opposite team. The second team then calls out for a person on the first team, and the play continues. When only one player is left on a team, they must try to break through a link. If the player does not succeed, then the opposing team wins. Otherwise, the player gets to take a player back for their team.

Take (#) steps backward Run backward for (#) seconds Walk backward until I (captain) say “stop.” Or in rare cases, return to the starting line. A common alternative is for the captain (who can be facing the crew mate) to begin each crew mate’s turn by issuing the instruction to be carried out. The crew mate must reply, “Captain, may I?” before carrying out the order, to which Captain consents. However, if the crew mate forgets to ask permission, s/he is required to go back to the start. Crew mates who have advanced a long way to the goal are thus brought to ruin; instructions to go backwards must also be asked for. The art to being a good captain is to bring everyone forward as equally as possible. 38 REUNIONS v

Kick the Can TO PLAY


ick the Can you’ll need at least 5 people (though many more people make it more fun), an empty can and open space. Kick the Can is a cross of hide-and-go-seek, tag, and capture the flag: avoid being captured at all costs while you attempt to free your captured teammates by kicking the can in the center of the field. One person (or a team of people, if the group is large) is designated IT and an empty can is placed in the open playing field. With eyes closed, IT counts to an agreed upon number and the other players run and hide. IT then tries to find and tag each of the players, always keeping a watchful eye on the can. Any player who is tagged is sent to “jail,” usually in plain sight of the can. Free players attempt to kick the can before being tagged out. If they can kick the can without being caught, they set all the captured players free.

reunion games

Scavenger hunts


ists for scavenger hunts can be items everyone (or a team) must find. Or make a scavenger hunt for information. If you are going to use teams, have everyone number off so the team is a mix of branches and generations.

SAMPLE SCAVENGER HUNT LIST OF ITEMS 1 point for finding each item. Item can only be used once. ____

Ticket stub

4 ____


____ Condiment packet (ketchup/mustard) ____

4 4 ____ 4 ____ ____

Sunglasses case Store loyalty card Picture of a family member Smooth stone









Penny from the 1950s


Nickel form 1960s


Dime from 1970s


Quarter from 1980s


Dollar bill from 1990s





Business card


Toilet paper square





Postage stamp


Something round


Something blue


Something yellow

4 4 ____ ____

Plastic utensil Rubber band

Kindred: This family is above par in love, laughter


ost families show up at reunions with salads and desserts. The Wuethrichs bring 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 the 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. 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. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 39

reunion games

Famous couples


ome up with names of famous couples, such as Sonny and Cher and Antony and Cleopatra or things like spaghetti and meatballs or hugs and kisses. Also include a few “famous” family couples. Write each name on a separate index card, making sure you have enough cards and pairs for every player. Begin the game by taping a random index card to each person’s forehead, making sure s/he doesn’t see the name written on it. After each person has an index card, explain the goal and tell everyone to start mingling.

THE GOAL Players need to figure out the name on their own cards by asking other players “Yes” or “No” questions. Once a player discovers the name written on their card, s/he then seeks the partner. The first couple to correctly find each other wins the game. Keep playing until everyone has found their match.

Hugs and kisses Sonny and Cher Antony and Cleopatra Spaghetti and meatballs

Cream and sugar

Cake and ice cream

Heaven and earth

Milk and cookies

Sugar and spice

Peanut butter and jelly

Bacon and eggs

Raggedy Ann and Andy

Paper and pencil

Cat and mouse

Salt and pepper

Night and day

Superman and Lois Lane

Cheese and crackers

Snow White and the 7 dwarfs

Batman and Robin

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

Chips and dip Hansel and Gretel Romeo and Juliet Bread and butter Jack and Jill Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Beauty and the Beast Macaroni and cheese

Who’s telling the truth?


his is a fun game that brings out new truths or things about members you may have never known before. At first members may be a bit timid about what they reveal but the more they play, the more clever and funny they get.

TO PLAY Give everyone an index card and have them write their name on the top. Then have them write something about themselves that nobody in the room knows about them. It can be totally random. It can be something present or past. It can be something that no one would ever guess about you. For example: I’m deathly afraid of horses. I skipped school a couple times and nobody ever knew. I’m the one who hid my sister’s teddy. I could live without golf. 40 REUNIONS v

Gather the cards. Then explain the game. Tell them you will ask three people to come to the front of the room. One of the three will be the person on the card. You will show all three people the card and give them a minute to read it and a couple of minutes to think about it. Then read the statement on the card aloud to everyone else. All three people will come up with a quick story about what it says on the card. The three take turns trying to convince everyone, using the facts on the card but totally different stories, that it is their story. Then, everyone votes for who they think is telling the truth. Then the correct person will step forward. Scoring: Everyone gets one point for each correct guess.

reunion games

Contest ideas for a golf outing Cat-eye Hike


ne of the most requested activities at the Stewart Family Reunion is a Cat-eye Hike. It’s a perfect activity for a “camping” reunion because it’s done when it’s very dark. It’s a fun activity but takes some time and thoughtful strategy to set up.

HOW TO ORGANIZE A CAT-EYE HIKE Cut cat’s-eye shapes (squares work fine) from reflective tape. Another product to consider is “Trail Tacks,” thumb tacks with a reflective paint on the top visible for up to 200 yards available in the store. You may want to use a combination of tape and tacks. Be considerate when you set up the hike: don’t shine flashlights into people’s windows or cause damage with tape or tacks. It is best to set up the night before guiding groups on the hike. Put cat eyes on markers or on index cards, then use cards to mark the trail.


Beckley Family Reunion golf outing.

SINGLE PUTT Participants try to make one long-shot putt of at least 50 feet, the golf equivalent of the half-court basketball shot.

UNCONVENTIONAL PUTT 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.

When making the trail, place the eyes in such a way that you can see only the next set of cat’s eyes from the location of one set. Hikers will shine their flashlights on the first set of eyes and then run to the second set where they will shine their flashlights around the area until they locate the next set of eyes. They will continue searching for eyes and following their path until they arrive back at the starting point. If you have a large group, instead of a mass start, send groups of ten or so at a time. Group hikers as children, teenagers and seniors. Every participant will need a flashlight. Remind members to bring flashlights on your reunion invitation. If camping, have S’mores for hikers when they complete the hike.

“ALTERNATE SHOTS” Two players take turns hitting the same ball at alternating holes.

“BEST BALL” All members play their own balls at each hole. At the completion of the hole, the lowest number of swings becomes the score.

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.

SHORTEST DRIVE The shortest drive measures the shortest distance the ball travels down the fairway.

CLOSEST TO THE PIN The objective 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 Belgian chocolates shaped like golf balls. From “19 Ways to Nail a Golf Outing” in Successful Meetings 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 41

Photo Photo Solutions Solutions for for Family Family Reunions Reunions

Maureen Taylor Author Author •• Keynote Keynote Speaker Speaker •• Podcaster Podcaster

“Nation’s “Nation’s Foremost Foremost Historical Historical Photo Photo Detective” Detective” —WSJ —WSJ

Identify, and Photos Identify, Preserve, and Share Share Your Photos CousinPreserve, Connections: PlanYour a Virtual Family Reunion

On-Demand Classes: On-Demand Maureen Taylor’sClasses: 3-Part webinar

series has you covered whether it’s a small/large family gathering or a virtual family reunion. From how to recruit volunteers, to fun reunion activities, this class covers it all. Plus Edith Wagner, Editor of Reunions Magazine weighs in on what makes a reunion successful.

kids activities

Planning activities for kids!


f your reunion is at a hotel, the swimming pool for all kids and the arcade for teens are important to keep them occupied and engaged.

Caution: Many hotels are reclaiming their pool space for other uses so if your hotel has a pool when you do an inspection, be sure to ask if the pool will be available when you arrive for your reunion. There is so much more you can plan to keep kids from being bored, while enhancing their education and bringing them back to nature. Consider these worthy reunion activities.

h Fly a kite h Go fishing or kayaking h Go on a bike ride h Play tennis, soccer, kickball, football, baseball, basketball h Play in the water: in the sprinkler or kiddie pool, or with water guns h Take a nature walk. Bring cameras, identify everything you photographed, and create a nature book

h Take an “Alphabet Tour.” Bring camera(s). Begin with letter “a” (apple), “b” (bridge), “c” (column), “d” (Dairy Queen), “e” (eatery), etc.

h h h h

Check out free days at museums Go on a scavenger hunt Visit a fire department Tour a factory

Kids activity table or picnic blanket ideas

& Design a kite - Bring blank kites for kids to decorate with red, white, and blue markers. When the wind kicks up, fly ’em!

& Sand box - Create a beach at the picnic with a couple of bags of sand on a large blanket with pails, shovels, and sand toys. Or have a “construction site” with trucks, sand, gravel and lumber for roads.

& C rafts - Keep kids busy on a craft blanket, with craft supplies and kits from the Dollar store.

& Outdoor games - Bring favorite outdoor games and sports equipment: Frisbee, soccer ball, baseball and bat, basketball. & Other activities - Plan organized games for the kids and don’t forget to have small prizes.

& A story-teller adds the benefit of rest in the shade.

& Big Wheels and bike riding, water pistol and water balloon fights.

Scamehorn Family Reunion kids enjoy kayaking at Point Defiance’s. Owen Beach Park in Tacoma, Washington.

Podcast: Do kids look forward to your reunion? Pinterest: Things kids do at reunions: 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 43

kids activities

Moon rock treasure hunt

Who doesn’t love bubbles?

arilynn Steward of shared this activity for her “Our family is Out of the World” reunion. Kids love treasure hunts and it’s a pretty easy activity for a family reunion. First gather supplies. Use plastic Easter eggs for your space rock treasure hunt. Plastic eggs or boxes can be found on Amazon or at Oriental Trading Company. Fill with space-themed mini size candy such as Milky Way, Mars bars and Starbursts. Then, wrap eggs with scrunched up tin foil to make them look like a “moon rock.” Then hide eggs around your reunion site which can be inside or outside. Family tweens love being in charge of something so ask them to be in charge of filling eggs, wrapping them and hiding the rocks. As “payment” for their help, give them a full-size version of your space themed candy bars.

hether you hire a company to produce the bubbles like these from Bubble Parties Texas (, make your own or supply bubbles to the kids to make their own, bubbles are happy entertainment. Here the Lurie and Veronica Keener Family Reunion enjoy bubbles at the Eldridge Park Pavilion in Sugarland, Texas. Make your own and get everyone involved!



HOMEMADE BUBBLE SOLUTION! 1/2 cup original formula Dawn dishwashing detergent 5 cups water 2 tablespoons glycerin

See pre-season football practice!


ven a casual pro-football fan can get a thrill by visiting the home of the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin to see free Packers pre-season practice. Young Packers fans — from about four years old through junior high school age — line up outside the locker rooms with their bicycles, skate boards and scooters, hoping a player will pick their “vehicle” to ride to practice while the kids run alongside carrying players’ helmets. Take kids and their “rides” 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 The 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. Watch the ride!


kids activities

Roark-Conner Family Reunion


he Roark-Conner Family Reunion plans swimming, games, scavenger hunts, crafts, and playground time at their events. During Covid when the reunion was virtual, they had activities that would interest children including a Kids Room on the website and a Reunion Coloring Book with riddles and a family treasure hunt. Also included were projects to introduce kids to family history. Make a family time capsule Conduct a family history interview

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Create a family history display for a future reunion epurpose old fabric or other items into new family heirlooms. Tell your family’s story R through creative writing, podcast, or zoom


isit the National Archive’s Kids page ( V for downloadable family tree charts and more

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Visit the Roark-Conner website for family history information Visit the Roark-Conner Association Facebook page

Google family tree or genealogy books for children to interest kids in family history Visit the Virtual Reunion Heirloom Display Room and the Roark-Conner Heritage Trail with your kids Visit the worship service which has songs such as: This Little Light of Mine sung by Dan Roark

Hull Descendants Family Reunion

The children always have a great time at the Hull Descendants Family Reunion “Kids’ Table.” At their Guthrie, Oklahoma, reunion the table was loaded with fun family fact teaching activities, including coloring pages, word search puzzles and cousin bonding games like checkers and card games.

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e military reunion news

USS John Young, DD-973


SS John Young, DD-973 reunion planner Michael Trotta shares several things at each reunion. He has a map marked where past reunions were held and lapel pins or patches as souvenirs at each reunion which can be attached to the map. The ship was stationed in the South China Sea in the late 1970s where part of their mission was to rescue adrift boat people. Some of the sailors have kept up with refugees who are invited to attend reunions. At a recent reunion, Long Hyunh, Elk Grove, California, a Vietnamese refugee, was a very compelling guest speaker recalling his amazing rescue at sea in April of 1981. His recollections are as fresh as though they’d just happened and are inspiring to hear and learn of their appreciation of the ships mission.

Long Hyunh, speaker at USS John Young, DD-973 reunion.

USS John Young map 46 REUNIONS v

military reunion news e

Honor Flight Network


he Honor Flight Network was formed in 2005 with a mission of honoring our nation’s veterans by bringing them to Washington, DC, to visit the memorials and monuments dedicated to their service and sacrifice. The Honor Flight Network is currently comprised of over 130 hubs throughout the country dedicated to carrying out the Honor Flight mission. In addition to World War II veterans, the organization transports those who served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, intermediary operations, and in special cases of terminal illness or injury, veterans from more recent service eras. Participation in an Honor Flight trip allows veterans to experience the monuments built in their honor alongside their comrades and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Each year, with the help of volunteers and generous partners, Honor Flight Network coordinates the travel of approximately 25,000 veterans from around the country to the memorials and

Group of Wisconsin veterans at an Honor Flight. Michael Kelley, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, upper left, Vietnam Army veteran, said “It was the trip of a lifetime … so beautiful!”

monuments in Washington, D.C. All honored veterans travel at no cost to them. There is a waiting list of approximately 50,000 veterans eager to visit the memorials. Generous private donations and corporate

support can help Honor Flight Network give veterans the exhilarating experience of visiting our nation’s war memorials that the 250,000 before them had. Visit for more information.

Military touring


e found this compendium of military forts and museums that might interest reunion planners whose events may be nearby as places to visit. These would be places that would interest not only the veterans in the group but anyone interested in history and often the children who are able to experience history first hand. From the frontier forts of our westward expansion to the modern Air Force bases of the Cold War, military museums chronicle our past while honoring the men and women who fought for our freedom.

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is one of the museums featured where the legendary U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army known as Buffalo Soldiers originated in 1866. 2022 REUNION CELEBRATIONS! v REUNIONS 47

e military reunion news 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.

FLORIDA GREATER MIAMI CVB 701 Brickell Ave, Suite 2700, Miami FL 33131 305.539.3000 | 800.933.8448 Whether family, class, alumni or military, Miami is perfect for your reunion any time of the year. Let us help you create the best reunion that people will be talking about for years to come. Play in the sun and sand, visit historic heritage churches and other locations, find fun parks and recreation areas or specialized venues to hold your family reunion or other get together. With diverse multicultural jewels and robust outdoor activities, Miami lets you find your roots and reunite with the past. Reconnect today in Greater Miami and the Beaches. Visit to see our special Plan Your Reunion page.


REUNION RESOURCES PANAMA CITY BEACH CVB VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER 17001 Panama City Beach Pkwy Panama City Beach, FL 32413 Phone: 850-233-5070 | Toll Free: 1-800-722-3224

With our true Midwestern hospitality, the Chicago Southland feels like family. We offer complimentary services to ensure your reunion’s success. Visit or call 888-895-3211.


LAKE COUNTY CVB Plan an unforgettable reunion in Lake County, Illinois – We’ll work together to help you plan a family experience that lets you explore all of 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. 5465 West Grand Avenue Suite 100 Gurnee, IL 60031 | 847-662-2700

ALPHARETTA CVB Want to plan an AWESOME reunion in metro Atlanta? Don’t know where to begin? Worry no more and gather your group in Alpharetta! Attend our free workshop for a collection of insider tips from our reunion planning specialist. Contact Alpharetta CVB at 800-294-0923 or visit


MEET CHICAGO NORTHWEST 1933 N. Meacham Rd. Suite 210 Schaumburg IL 60173 1-800-847-4849 | The Chicago Northwest region is conventionally located on the edge of O’Hare Airport and Chicago. Outstanding attractions for all ages to gather together for fun and memories. Our team is ready to assist in finding your reunion the perfect spot to rest, eat, and play while building stories that will last a lifetime. Connect with us today and take advantage of our free services! SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 11. CHICAGO SOUTHLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU Reunions of all kinds, including family and military, can find superior facilities located conveniently to anywhere in the Midwest – and across the country.

LOUISIANA NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM Make your family or military reunion a unique and memorable occasion at The National WWII Museum! Ranked the #1 attraction in New Orleans, this remarkable venue is an incomparable experience for all generations. Customize your reunion with a guided group tour, live BB’s Stage Door Canteen lunch or dinner show, and more! The National WWII Museum 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70130 877-813-3329 x222

e military reunion news MISSOURI EXPLORE BRANSON in Southwest Missouri, surrounded by the beauty of the Ozark Mountains. For helpful information call the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau to assist you in securing the perfect lodging for your next reunion in this ideal destination at the center of America's heartland! Faith, Family and Flag are honored every day in Branson! Plus the breathtaking scenery, worldclass entertainment and exciting attractions for all ages are served up with a generous side of authentic southern hospitality that will create memories worth re-living! Whether your reunion is family, military, or graduating class, request our Complimentary Welcome Bags and/or our comprehensive Branson Reunion Planner Kit: Lenni Neimeyer, CTIS, CSTP | 417-243-2105 or Visit: CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO on I-55 between St. Louis & Memphis. Perched on the Western banks of the Mississippi River, Cape Girardeau is a small city with a big heart and something for everyone, from families to history buffs, outdoor adventurer and everyone in between. Consider us the prime location for your reunion. Call VisitCape at 1.800.777.0068 or visit us online at


EXPLORE HOCKING HILLS 13178 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH 43138 The Hocking Hills are Ohio’s natural crown jewels and the perfect location for reunions. World class hiking, eco-adventure tours and more than 50 ziplines. Luxury lodges provide private resort amenities for groups of two to two hundred. Located just 50 miles southeast of Columbus. Have your reunion in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Contact Karen Raymore, 740-385-2750 | fax 740-385-1146 EXPERIENCE COLUMBUS Columbus is full of unforgettable experiences, distinct neighborhoods and one-of-a-kind tours. As a leader in experiential tourism, Columbus knows that getting groups in the middle of the action and behind the scenes is important. We put your well being first with the Live Forward Safety Pledge. Whether you’re planning a group activity or giving individuals time to explore on their own, Columbus’ neighborhoods welcome groups in their own special way. Contact the Tourism Sales team at 1-800-354-2657


HILTON GREENVILLE 45 West Orchard Park Drive, Greenville, SC 29615 d: +1-864-248-1942 t: +1-864-232-4747 f: +1-864-235-6248 Reunite, Relax, Reconnect Ideal location for your Reunion headquarters. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, only 8 miles from Greenville-Spartanburg Airport and easily accessible to interstate 385/85 located between Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA.


PIGEON FORGE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE -- We’re a gold mine for reunions. Need attractions? Try Dollywood, Titanic Pigeon Forge, mountain coasters 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: 1-800-251-9100 or visit


PEARLAND CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU 11200 Broadway Street #1390, Pearland TX 77584 Contact Teri Mazhar, 281-997-5970 Rebekah Burns, Marketing Manager Pearland Convention & Visitors Bureau City of Pearland | 11200 Broadway Street, Suite 1390 | Pearland, TX 77584 Phone: 281.997.5971 | Mobile: 832.492.3161


FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA 10560 Arrowhead Drive Suite 350 Fairfax, VA 22030 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, Fairfax County is the ideal location for your military or family reunion. The spectacular new National Museum of the United States Army is now open and welcoming visitors. Call Visit Fairfax at 703-752-9509, and Dean Miller, our reunion specialist, will go to work for you! | SEE OUR DISPLAY AD ON PAGE 6. FREDERICKSBURG TOURISM VISIT FRED The Fredericksburg Region is known for its Colonial and Civil War History, arts community and year-round group-friendly offerings. Just 50 miles south of WDC, the Fredericksburg Region boasts an award winning distillery, wineries and breweries, outdoor adventures, parks and more. Make memories with your family, classmates, and military buddies in the Fredericksburg Region. To book your reunion, contact Victoria Matthews: (540)372-1216 | 1-800-260-3646 Video: NEWPORT NEWS – Get closer to ships, history and the great outdoors with one central destination: Newport News, Virginia. 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 Cheryl Morales at 757-926-1428 or e-mail her at to book your reunion today!


TRAVEL TACOMA-MT RAINIER TOURISM & SPORTS 1516 Commerce St. Tacoma WA 98402 Our region serves up an array of activities and meeting spaces for your guests. The area can accommodate meetings and budgets of all sizes with more than 5,700 hotel rooms including boutique, limited and full-service hotels and plenty of meeting + exhibit space. When in downtown Tacoma, stroll across the Bridge of Glass displaying artist Dale Chihuly’s work. Visit world-class history and art museums, take a glass blowing class at a local hot shop and see collector vehicles at the largest automotive museum in North America: LeMay—America’s Car Museum. In the evenings, check out the self-guided craft beer crawl or stroll along Tacoma’s waterfront, enjoying regional cuisine. 253-830-6606 |


DUDE RANCHERS' ASSOCIATION 1122 12th Street, Cody WY 82414 Helping people find quality Dude and Guest Ranch vacations since 1926. Let us help you find the perfect all-inclusive location for your next reunion! Call 307-587-2339 |

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