is a podcast with more ideas to help reunion members mix and be enjoying themselves in no time.
by Edith Wagner
A goal for reunion organizers who expect extended
family is to have people talking and enjoying themselves as quickly
as possible because there "is so little time to do it."
Even some adults find it hard to strike up a conversation. Reunion
committee members should circulate, say hello and instigate conversations.
In no time, everyones talking and having a good time.
some members may be uncomfortable or feel they dont fit
in. Give them a job. Ask someone to help hand out awards
any job that helps them feel involved.
person who facilitates ice breakers and introductions at your
reunion must be enthusiastic and able to sell everyone on the
fun to follow.
family asked the oldest generation to introduce themselves, their
families and share special events that occurred since the last
reunion. Then, letters are read and pictures shared from members
who could not attend.
Robertson, California, BROLRA Family Reunion, suggests an icebreaker
where each person writes little known facts about themselves.
The facts are listed on a paper and the object is to find the
person who matches the fact and get their signature. People get
acquainted and learn interesting information about each other.
Or distribute a list of questions as members arrive.
To get answers, they must circulate and talk to people. Suggest
questions specific to your family. Include one question about
each branch of the family so everyone can feel like an expert.
This forces people to seek out distant relatives. These questions
could cover current information like, "Who just got engaged
in the Radtke branch of the family?" or "Who is retiring
and moving to Arizona?" Include questions about family history.
People will need to ask older relatives for answers or check the
genealogy display. If some family members still speak in the familys
native language write a line or two tobe translated. Those who
don't speak the language must find those who do. Post photos of
ancestors and ask members to identify them.
J. Moen, Eugene, Oregon, sent her family's list of kudos. The
Morefield Family Reunion salutes those who come the farthest;
the eldest in attendance, who's from a foreign country, one with
the most children, one with the largest family.
Snyders Kauffman Family Reunion soon had strangers laughing
together with their version of Whoppers. Each member in groups
of five or six wrote four alleged facts about themselves
three true but hard to believe and one false but believable. Others
in the group tried to identify Whoppers as lists were read. Points
were awarded for people fooled or for every fact correctly guessed.
Discussion of real and bogus facts continued throughout the reunion.
ice breakers collected at the Share the Secrets Conference at
YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park, Colorado, are great ways to break
down the "long-time-no-see barriers."
||Mark Birdseye, formerly of the program staff at YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch, teaching a "minute to win it" icebreaker at Family Reunion University.
a roll of toilet paper and ask everyone to take some squares.
After everyone has them, ask them to tell as many things about
themselves as theyve taken squares. If Auntie Erika took
seven squares, youll learn seven things about her. Set
the example yourself and start the telling.
to stand in a circle facing in. Tell members each person is
to say his/her name and pantomime a favorite activity or hobby. "My name is Patty." Everyone says, "Hello Patty."
Then she acts out her hobby; piano playing, cooking, biking,
golf. Everyone guesses until they guess Pattys hobby,
when her turn is over. When the game is finished, everyone's
name and a hobby are known.
Get everyone onto their feet and moving to form groups based
on things you suggest. Everyone with blue or brown eyes. Once
the group is formed, make another suggestion. Everyone who likes
baseball or chess or Nintendo. Everyone whose favorite movie
is Star Wars. Everyone who loves lasagna. Everyone who loves
to camp or fish or hike. Before long lots of people know lots
about lots of others!
Phillips, Indianapolis, Indiana, says the Phillips-White-Wilson
Family Reunion gave their over 100 members each a get-acquainted
list of thirty questions. Find someone who sings in the shower.
Find someone whos left-handed. Find someone whos a
Crazy Hat Judge (they wore ribbons on their name tags).
asked every family group for This Is Our Life photos showing their
home, yard, activities, sports, hobbies and pets. Her son made
a display for everyone to get to know one another!
display, lots of family photos and special remembrances quickly
get, members of the Guidon/Yandeau Family Reunion "mingling."
tried a humorous twist on the "Identify the Picture"
contest often done with baby pictures or portraits of ancestors.
They took a series of torso shots of men holding beer cans next
to their navels, to be posted the next year. Identification was
not easy since some of the men lost or gained weight.
Naedlers Cousins Connection, everyone taped baby pictures
to a huge poster labeled Beautiful Babies. The fun was trying
to guess who was who and marveling at family resemblances. A sister-in-law
spent hours making a word-find puzzle using all the cousins
names. It was a tremendous hit. They also filled a fishbowl with
peanuts for everyone to guess the numbers. The prize was a live
"family tree" to be re-planted.
Florence Krueger, Mina, South Dakota, shared these successful
Polt Family Reunion icebreakers.
Search. Takes 15 minutes and requires three volunteer judges
and parent/child teams. Each team receives a list of ancestors
and has fifteen minutes to collect signatures from ancestors descendants. Winners gather the most correct signatures.
ten or under. Each girl gives her name, her mothers and
grandmothers names. Each boy gives his name, his fathers
and grandfathers names. Dont forget rewards for
Ask everyone to face the person to the right and give him/her
Gregory Bonner, Lexington, Kentucky, shared ideas about his familys
Reunion Trivia game which involves everyone from six-years old
to eighty-years young. New questions are written for each reunion
because they should teach and entertain.
to thirty questions are just about right. Start with serious questions
to inform. How many living generations are there in our family?
Who is the eldest living family member? Ask the person to stand,
be recognized, given flowers and accolades. Who is the youngest
member present? Ask the parents to show off the child. Which couple
has been married longest? Shortest? Again, ask them to stand and
be recognized. How many sets of twins were born in the family?
Then, more on to lighter, less serious questions. What was a grandmothers
middle name? How many children did the family founders have? Name
them. Introduce anything about your family you think is unique,
such as: What was Uncle Jims job in the Army? Answer: Uncle
Jim was a bugler in the Cavalry.
silly questions, too. What is Uncle Bubbas real name? What
relationship was Aunt Kirsten to us and how? Many times we call
someone aunt/uncle/cousin when theyre not really relatives.
Younger members dont know why. What were Uncle Eds
two cats names?
the bragging questions. The purpose of these is to recognize people
who are doing something special or outstanding. Emphasize whats
extraordinary and worth recognition. Whos attending college
this year? Each college student should stand, tell the name of
the college and their major. Who bought a house since our last
reunion? Who had a baby this year?
start thinking questions come easily. Questions are limited only
by your imagination. You dont have ask all of them at once.
Remember your objectives are to entertain, educate, recall and
get everyone involved.
and speeches to a minimum. Never ask a question for which you
have no answer. A slight dose of foolishness is fun, but dont
get too silly. People will lose interest. Be creative. Avoid negatives,
such as: How many husbands did Aunt Trudy have? Or why did Uncle
Lee go to jail on Christmas Eve?
understanding and versed in crowd control. Dont play favorites,
people will yell and scream from every direction if you always
call on your sister for answers.