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Family Reunion Forum

Re: Need a shoulder...
In Response To: Need a shoulder... ()

Hi Lorine,
If you don't mind me asking, what is the home state? Will this be the first professionally-planned reunion in the family? Have past reunions had the type of structure that you and your committee have set up?

Believe it or not, many folk are still "stuck in a box". Change scares them. Back in 2000, it was suggested that we move our reunion outside of the North Mississippi/Memphis, TN area. Although a majority of the family lived in this area, some people wanted a change. Some expressed interest in moving the reunion to different cities. However, many of the folk did not like the idea. They figured that since a majority of the family lived in that area, the reunion should always be in that area. When several Chicago family members enthusiastically agreed to plan the 2002 reunion for their city, I personally heard a relative say, "Many folk probably won't go."

Luckily, we proved her wrong! Sure enough, a number of the folk in our "comfort" area did not attend, but many other family members from across the country attended, and that 2002 reunion was more attended than the 2000 reunion! Word got back to those naysayers about how great the 2002 reunion was (and it was AWESOME!), and I am sure some of them were disappointed that they didn't have the interest to get themselves "out of the box" and go to this reunion.

Also, let me share this with you. Sometimes, when a family is used to doing a certain thing or paying a certain amount, it's a task to get them to do something differently. Once sector of my family had been having annual reunions since the 1980's, only including their immediate branch (the offspring of my great-uncle, which totals over 200). However, their annual reunions were dying because of inner family issues. Well, needless to say, I invited that family to finally take part in the "big" reunion, which include all branches of the family. They were excited about going beyond their more immediate family and meeting other family members they've never met. However, the "tihs" (excuse me) hit the fan when they realize what our reunions cost per person. They had been used to paying $15 per person for the entire weekend, with the family members doing all the cooking, etc., with no more than just the family gathering to eat in a church fellowship hall and having a picnic on Sat.

Well, sure enough, only a handful of them from that branch participated. But those handful went back and told their family members who had complained about the price that "it is well worth it". Slowly but surely, more and more from that branch are coming aboard because the "big" reunion is more than just an eating gathering.

I shared this to show that our family do not always act how we desire them to act, especially when it comes to paying money. Also, they do not respond in a way we desire them to respond. Back in 1998, I thought hardly anyone was coming to the reunion, based on the lack of fee submissions before the deadline. But, the reunion ended up being well-attended. Money poured in AFTER the deadline. Even had a family to Fed-Ex me their fees the morning of the reunion with a note saying, "we all are on our way". Mind you now, they had not even informed anyone that they were attending.

A lot of people simply do not understand that money is needed in advance to plan the reunion. People think that just because they're dealing with family, that they can do whatever they want. But it doesn't work like that. Even these same people will have the audacity to complain when things don't go as planned. I think if many more people had a hand at reunion planning, they'll understand how important it is that deadlines are met.

Hang in there! Reunions are rewarding and vital, but no one said that reunion planning was easy and stress-free.

Much Success To You All,

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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