by Mister Spiffy
Copyright © 1999-2004
All rights reserved
I bet you all were wondering where Mister
Spiffy’s newsletter of reunion ideas had gone. Have no fear,
it was just a brief (2 year) absence. Mister Spiffy had some big
commitments that pulled him away from this newsletter, but now he has
some help to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Look
for this newsletter and Family-Reunion.com to both get better than
ever (and *still* remain FREE).
But even while we were away, we continued
to receive great ideas from our faithful readers, and we really love
and appreciate the ideas you have shared with us. We are going
to jump right back into it with a bunch of great suggestions to help
you make this year’s reunion the best ever.
And as always, if you have a reunion idea
you would like to share with our readers, visit us at:
and let us know.
Kid’s Kash (submitted by C.M.)
For our family reunion we had "Kid's Kash" printed in
$1, $5, and $10's. Upon arrival each child 15 years and under received
$5. They were able to earn more Kash by participating in activities
which help them get to know the other kids. I also asked them
questions about the family throughout the day which earned more Kash.
At the end of the day we held a Kid's Auction with items each family
donated. Some were new and some were recycled from items their child
had outgrown. This was the highlight of the day for the kids.
We put together 2 bags of clothes, women's lingerie, men’s
underwear, gloves, hats, anything. Then we asked everyone to get
into a circle and we played music and passed the bags going in
different directions, when the music stopped whoever was holding the
bag had to reach in and pull out a piece of clothing and put it on.
This went on until the bags were empty. Then we took photos of
the hilarious people in their clothes. Everyone enjoyed this.
If you have a genealogy
software program capable of automatically printing large wall
charts of your family (descendants of the main person), print a large
chart of your family to hang up at the reunion.
You can keep the chart
simple, and have a marker available for corrections and updates to the
chart for next year’s reunion (you know, marriages, babies and all).
A great program for creating wall charts that you can customize
is called RootsMagic. You can find more information about
Disclaimer: This is the
big commitment that kept Mister Spiffy from doing this newsletter the
last couple of years <g>.
Reunion Theme “Honor Our Family
Soldiers” (Submitted by Jim M.)
I really enjoy reading
your newsletters and have learned a lot from the ideas and suggestions
that were provided by your readers. With that in mind I would like to
share with your readers our reunion theme. I have chaired our reunion
for the last four years and we have some type of theme every year.
Last year we announced at the reunion that we would like to honor our
family soldiers at this years reunion. To accomplish this I started by
asking family members to search for photos of our family soldiers in
their military uniform. This family reunion includes the descendants
of my grandparents. My grandparents currently have 104 descendants, 92
of which are living. In this family there were 28 soldiers which also
included in-laws that had married descendants of our grandparents. It
was a big effort to collect the pictures in uniform. I collected
pictures of 25 of the 28 family soldiers and all but three were in
their uniform. Some family members sent me more than one picture and I
used them all. The oldest picture was my grandfather in his
Spanish-American War uniform taken in 1898.
This theme turned out
to be a big task but it was worth the effort. Once I received the
pictures I scanned them so that I could print them the same size for
framing and placing in the table display. Some of the pictures had to
be refurbished and this was time consuming. I purchased 5 x 7 frames
from the local Dollar Store for the photo display. I started
collecting these photos about ten months before the reunion. The last
one collected was thirty days before the reunion. When all the photos
were collected, scanned and framed we had about 35 pictures. When I
received a photo I immediately processed it, as I did not want to wait
to start. I did not know how many pictures I would receive or when I
would receive them!
We enhanced the display
by placing small American and military flags on the tables along with
war posters from all the wars. The 5x7 posters were printed from the
Internet and interspersed with the photos on the display table. The
display tables was also decorated with red, white and blue
tablecloths. I also collected large military posters from the local
Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force recruiting offices. We decorated the
walls with about 20 of these posters. Attendees took the entire set of
posters home. We additionally enhanced the theme by selling T-shirts
and Caps with Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force emblems. These were
purchased at a local Flea Market and sold as a fund-raiser. They were
all sold as descendants wanted to wear a shirt or cap representing the
branch of service that their parent or relative served in.
During the program I
read the names of all the soldiers, their branch of military, medals,
awards, where they served and any other information that we collected.
Soldiers in attendance were introduced and recognized as well. We also
presented a short history of our family soldier’s back to the
American Revolutionary War. Most of this information was collected
from family member’s genealogy records, military records on the
Internet and the public library. I also found military history
information at local War Museums.
The photo display of our family soldiers was very impressive.
The attendees really enjoyed seeing pictures of these soldiers,
especially at an early age when they served in the military. Our
theme to honor our family soldiers was well received and judging from
the comments of attendees it was a rewarding family history learning
experience. Too often our soldiers are not recognized for the
their sacrifices and contributions to the freedom of our country.
Since the reunion I have taken the entire set of military photos and
placed them in a photo album that will be displayed at all subsequent
reunions. Attendees that did not have the opportunity to see the
pictures of our family soldiers may do so at future reunions. And,
most importantly we “Will always remember them”.
Reunion Games (submitted by BLPKY)
Our Jones Family Reunion has always been a (1) show up, (2) eat, (3)
leave, type reunion. That is until last year when I took over.
We played three games that not only kept the men off the horseshoe
pit, the teens off the volleyball net, and the kids off the swings,
but it kept those people that tend to 'eat and run' around until the
end of the day.
First, we always have the reunion on Labor Day Weekend. That
gives everyone time to travel to and from without having to miss work
(so much for that excuse). But it was the games that kept
everyone around. First we had a reunion trivia game. I
asked questions about the family that people could talk over and
answer, like "name as many kids under the age of 12 here
today." Or "name as many home states represented here as you
can." Or "name the kids in college".
"Or name all the Grandmas here." At the beginning of
the reunion, I encouraged everyone to learn as much about everyone
else at the reunion as they could. But I didn't tell them why.
This made for great early conversation between the families and lots
of fun interaction during the game.
Then we had a homemade crafts auction to raise money for the next
reunion. My mother (whom I'm very proud of) made most of
the crafts. (Where do you think I got MY talent?) But once
everyone got the idea, many people promised to bring their own crafts
for the auction this year. (By the way, we netted more than $200
towards this year's reunion.)
Last - but certainly NOT the least - we had our own 'FAMILY FEUD'.
(I was Mrs. Richard Dawson) I watched hours and hours of the TV game
show and wrote down the questions I liked best, then made up a bunch
more of my own. I even made sure to have questions geared toward
the younger children (cartoons, animals, Disney, today's teen idols)
in order that no one would have to be left out. Each team had to
introduce themselves and tell something about themselves, just like
the game show. We had four team originally, and then challenged
the two winning teams. Believe it or not, the team that won was
a family that was usually the FIRST TO LEAVE and seldom ever spoke to
anyone else not sitting at their table.
We laughed until we cried, and everyone had such a wonderful time,
several people have requested I bring the game back again this year.
However, now I've been getting requests for teams to CHALLENGE last
But the best part of all is that nearly
everyone I've spoken to since the reunion says that they're planning
on bringing more family members this year. And I do believe
we'll be seeing some people who have never come before.
Word spreads fast when you're having fun.
It can only get bigger and better.
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