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Family Reunion Forum

2007 Atlas Family Reunion - Mission Accomplished! :)

Hi you all!

I am in the recovering stages now that my reunion is over. It was the first one I've ever planned, so I was a little sad that I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with family members. Nonetheless, I have received wonderful feedback from family members regarding their experiences.

Turnout: We had over 100 people over the course of the four day event.

Crashers?: Yes, but the paid their money. :)

Learnings:
Hospitality Night/Registration - Be sure to have someone who is very organized to run the registration as our bags got quite mixed up because there were multiple people handling them. We're still trying to recoup t-shirts that were mistakenly given to people who did not pay for them and they kept them anyway. Also, if you are having your event catered, make sure to tell the person to arrive at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours befor the event so they are on time. Our caterer showed up 2 hours late. I used the ice breaker that I posted here and it was a hit!

BBQ - Be sure to have someone who is organized to plan this as well. Our BBQ went way over budget and the surplus of money that we had to pass onto the next reunion now does not exist. **I'm still mad about this, but Jesus be a rock!!!** LOL :) This event had the most attendees. There were a set of sisters who hadn't seen each other in 25 years who attended. Overall, it was hot, but everyone had a good time and did a lot of meeting new people.

Excursion - I heard this went very well although I didn't go. Really no learnings from this, but I would advise putting someone in charge of this who is organized and has a great plan like my cousin did.

Banquet - This turned out very well. The food was great and people had quite a bit to do. 2009 reunion will be in Chicago and 2011 reunion is tenatively scheduled for Baton Rouge.

Other -
I spent hours putting together posterboards for our hospitality night and banquet that were full of our family history and historical documents such as draft cards, census records, death certificates, etc. It took a long time, but it was well worth it. There were seven posterboards. This was probably one of the biggest highlights of the reunion. I had found death certificates for siblings that family members were never able to meet because they died before they were born. People were taking pictures of the posterboards and they were a big conversation piece for the duration of the reunion.

The second biggest highlight was the souvenir book that I put together with the family history. It was about 115 pages, double sided. I have received multiple phone calls about how well it was put together and that I should expect to get more requests/orders for the books. We sold out at the reunion and are definitely ordering more as a fundraiser for the next reunion.

The third biggest highlight was the banquet presentation I did. I was able to put together a video that went into the basics about our family history (including census images, draft cards, marriage certs., etc.)and it talked about the research trips that I've taken. I was also able to put in a excerpt of an interview that I did with two of my cousins who were involved in the Freedom Rides (with documents from the MS State Sovereignty Commission). I also put together a self running video/powerpoint of the births, deaths, marriages and graduates since the last reunion.

Total, we made an extra $200 at the end of the banquet on DVD, souvenir book and 2005 and 2007 DVD sales.

Suggestions:
- Obtain a memory card USB reader so you can download the digital pictures of your reunion attendees to add to the family archive. I was able to get about four sets of reunion pictures by the end of the reunion so I have a great choice of pictures for our DVD photo slideshow. (Here is the one I have - http://www.sandisk.com/Products/ProductInfo.aspx?ID=1220 It keeps you from having to use your battery power and a USB cord to transfer pictures from your camera to your computer and it only costs $20!)

- Don't always use what the hotel offers out of ease: We saved about $350 by not using the hotels audio/visual equipment. Poll your family members and friends to see who has an LCD screen, microphone, etc.

- Meet with your committee as early as you can so people have more than enough time to put their best effort forth towards making your reunion successful.

- Reach out to family members who have never come and follow up with them during off reunion years to ensure they attend the next reunion.

That's it for now. The link to the pictures that I already have is below. :)


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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