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Family Reunion Forum

Re: "Out of the Clique"
In Response To: "Out of the Clique" ()

The clique problem is a big one for our reunion. Number one, it's a large reunion (usually 500 or so), and we're divided geographically. We have three main factions: Bahamian, Miami-area and Key West Allens. I noticed that they all tend to sit together at the reunions and hardly anyone crossed that "great divide." Bahamians sat together and talked with each other, and the same for the other groups.

In my opening comments on the first night of the 2002 reunion, I asked everyone to look around and notice how we were all in one room, but divided. It was very obvious, and everyone had to agree that it was a problem. When I mentioned that the goal is to bring the family together, people started loosening up a bit. Our ice breaker involved each person getting up, walking over to someone they didn't know, introducing themselves, and providing enough personal details so that their new friend could introduce them to the rest of the crowd (and vice versa). Everyone was given five or ten minutes to chat. It worked like a charm - largely because people love talking about themselves. Of course, we only had enough time to have about 10 people take the microphone for introductions, but they didn't know who I'd be calling on next, so everyone was prepared.

I think that pointing out the divide and clearly communicating the reunion goal helped inspire family members to participate in the ice breaker. Everyone realizes the goal of a reunion is to bring the family closer together, and they were eager to do their part. So much so that several people got carried away and started introducing members of their own family along with their new acquaintance! ;-)

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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