Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Location

Location! Now that you’ve made a decision to have a family reunion, the question becomes, where do we meet?  Perhaps you have a large house with a couple of bathrooms and a big backyard.  That could be the perfect place to start.  My sister hosted our first family reunion using her home as a gathering place.  The swimming pool was an added plus and certainly helped keep everyone occupied!  Offer your home for the festivities as one choice if you can, especially for the first year.

It will be easier for all involved to make a decision on the location of the reunion if you do a little footwork before polling them.  List your own home as a location if that is an option, and then provide information about other choices.  Think carefully about travel distances and what the potential guests’ likes and dislikes might include.  That will help narrow down your suggestions.

For example, if your family members are outdoorsy types, meeting at a campground would work well.  One year my family met at a campground on a lake.  Some family members chose to camp in their tents, and others rented small trailers in the campground.  There was lots of space for the kids to run about and play, as well as areas for less active adults to rest in the shade and visit.

A resort area makes an excellent choice for a reunion.  I’m originally from Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Dells is a beautiful place with lots of activities to choose from.  There is sure to be a similar location in your own state that people will look forward to exploring and that will be central for most to attend.

If your family is spread out over the whole country (or world) give several choices of places to meet.  Resorts near a train station or an airport will make attendance for the greatest numbers of people much easier.  How about the Grand Canyon?  Disneyworld?  Or a trip to New York City complete with Broadway plays? 

Another good choice, particularly if family members no longer live in their original hometown, IS your hometown.  They may be interested in driving through the old neighborhood, passing the places they used to hangout, and trying favorite restaurants or the new ones now occupying that space.  Nostalgia will appeal both to the older family members and to the children who will enjoy hearing Grandma and Grandpa’s stories.  And seeing where their parents lived will impart a sense of family history.

Include your suggested locations in your questionnaire and ask respondents to order them from their number one choice down to their last choice for location.  You can tabulate these and make the final decision with their input.  Send out invitations well in advance so everyone can mark their calendars and ask for annual leave from work.

At the reunion, do not hesitate to plan for the next one by having all present decide on the next location.  Someone is sure to volunteer to be the location scout after your fine example!

Happy planning!

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