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Paying- Mementos & Souvenirs - Buttons, Badges, Banners

Reunion mementos and souvenirs can be cherished items and can also help defray some reunion expenses. These are some examples. What have you done that was a great success … or not … that you are willing to share with other reunion organizers?
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Button Basics

By Rob Fish
Buttons are an inexpensive way to make your next reunion more fun and enjoyable.

Why use buttons at your reunion?
There are bunches of reasons for using buttons. They are fun, inexpensive, show you're part of the group, can be used as name tags or awards and make long lasting mementos.

Reunion buttons normally fall into one of three categories: group, name tag, or award. With a "group" button, everyone wears identical buttons. The button might say "Family Reunion 1998" and include the location, slogan or reunion theme.

Ever talk with someone at a reunion, wondered who the heck they were, and later discover you'd been talking with the spouse? With color-coded name tag buttons, you can always know who is a member and who is a visitor or spouse.

Award buttons add fun and good-natured laughter to a reunion. "Longest Trip," "Most Grandkids," "Most Time in the Service," and "Old Uniform Still Fits!" buttons can all be worn throughout the reunion. At our next family reunion, I'll be wearing the "Lost Most Hair Since Last Time" button.

Regardless of the way they're used at a reunion, buttons make a long lasting memento. Long after the reunion, buttons provide a tangible reminder of good times, camaraderie and fellowship. Buttons can be pinned to a scarf, hat, or piece of clothing. They can be a attached to a bulletin board, displayed on a stand, or put on your refrigerator by using a magnet.

Buying buttons
Before ordering buttons, decide which categories and quantities will best meet your needs. Buttons are inexpensive, but your choices will affect the total price of your order. An order for a quantity of name tag buttons (printed with individual names) will cost more than an order for the same quantity of identical buttons. With some companies, design charges and set-up fees add up quickly.

Once you have an idea of your requirements, contact your button maker. Ask about turnaround time, quantity discounts, design charges, set-up fees, freight costs, taxes, procedures for ensuring all names are spelled correctly, and computer equipment compatibility (if you're going to create your artwork or a list of names).

Most button makers will create artwork based on your description or sketch. Insist upon seeing a proof copy of the artwork before giving approval to assemble the buttons. Also be sure to see a proof copy of all names that will be put on buttons. If your rich Uncle Buck's name is spelled wrong, you want to catch and correct the error before he sees it and writes you out of his will.

If you're ordering name tag buttons, order several without names. At your reunion, have an indelible pen and these extra buttons for anyone who didn't get a pre-printed button.

Distributing buttons
Distributing the buttons can be part of the fun. You can mail them to allow members to wear the buttons as they travel (order extra blank buttons – because some members will forget to bring their buttons). If you're part of a large group, it can be pretty exciting to land at an airport with others who are going to the same reunion.

Consider pulling name tag buttons randomly from a box as people arrive and pinning them on people's back. Members would have to find the person who belongs to the button by asking other people "yes/no" questions. For example "Is my person male?" "Did my person date Tommy Smith?" "Was my person involved in putting the Mayor's car in the city pool?"

Have a group guessing game with the name tag buttons. Pull a button out of the box and give clues describing the individual until the correct name is guessed. As a variation, divide into teams and play Charades, guessing names on the buttons.

Button bottom line
Your next reunion will be more fun and enjoyable if you use buttons. Look at the examples, let your imagination run wild, and have fun. After all, that's what reunions and reunion buttons are all about!

About the author
Rob Fish, Customized Creations, is a small business marketing specialist. When not designing and making either buttons or decorative magnets, Rob is involved with web page design, desktop marketing, database marketing, and desktop publishing. He can be contacted at 614-889-5222;

See more sourvenirs and mementos in Reunion Resources

Button news ...
and button letters from reunions

Badge-a-Minit has a monthly email newsletter that's a great collection of ideas from users. It's a place for button enthusiasts to share ideas and get new ones. Editor Michael Roebuck encourages ideas and questions at – same place where you sign up for the newsletter. We asked their readers to share how buttons were used at their reunions. Their answers follow.

Juanita Searcy reported that she made name tags in four colors for her family's first ever reunion in Tallahassee, Florida. She scanned an old photo of her mother and father, Lawrence and Myrtle Hughes, and used it in the center of the button. She also made "prize" button key rings for the oldest member, the youngest and the member who traveled the greatest distance. Also a first time reunion organizer, Pam Wodzicki budgeted extra money just in case something came up and decided to use it for a surprise at the Coombe Family Reunion. She looked at t-shirts but wasn't sure of sizes and did not think "older" folks would want to wear them. She made buttons using the family name, date and individual names on each. Her choice of buttons, she felt, combined easy recognition and is something everyone could take home and keep with photos and memories. Judy Lorensen made buttons for a family reunion camp.

Diane Kramm made a reunion badge for her father's "Battle of Iwo Jima" reunion. He attends the gathering of veterans each year and is always looking for a "treat" to give his "shipmates." Her father witnessed the memorable symbol of the famous battle, the flag raising. That bit of history is near and dear to him so he wore the button proudly. She made enough for his shipmates, and the badges were a real hit. Bob Monasmith made buttons for his Army Veterans group reunion.

Joyce A. Bay used senior year pictures for her 30-year class reunion in Cincinnati, Ohio, as did Maureen Palmer and Rachel M. Ninen at their 20-year reunions and Jim Ward for his grade school 50-year reunion. Palmer attached ribbons to the button's in school colors with names printed on the ribbons. If spouses went to the same school, they too had class pictures on their buttons. Ninen used her school colors for name tags with red paper and black/white photos. Mike Kerr also used pictures and attached green and gold ribbons. The night of the reunion, each classmate was given someone else's button, and had to find that person. Kerr says, "There was a "no helping" policy, it was hilarious! A great ice-breaker." Dennis Schroeder reported that his dad's 50th class reunion used class pictures on name buttons and when everyone commented how little he'd changed, Dennis's dad said, "So in high school I looked like a 68-year-old man?"

Laurel VanLeer is member of the Cook/CAES Alumni Association (one of the undergraduate colleges at Rutgers University, New Jersey). They made buttons for their annual reunion called "Ag Field Day" (for Agricultural – Cook is a School of Agriculture and Environmental Science.) They give buttons to anyone who fills out an alumni survey and to their children. The kids really want the buttons so mom or dad take time to do the paperwork. People see buttons on their friends around campus and seek out the alumni association to get one for themselves.

They have several button styles:

1. Class Year – Traditional: "Class of XX", association name, phone number and college logo.
2. Class Year – Sticker: "Class of XX" with a large blank area for people to personalize the button with a sticker; stickers include ag, environmental and science themes – Holstein cows and the Earth are most popular.
3. Kids, Spouses, Friends: They have a number of button blanks that say "My Mommy/Daddy Graduated from Cook College" and "I'm a Cook Aggie." By popular request, they're considering adding "My Wife/Husband/Aunt/Uncle/Grandmother/Grandfather Graduated from Cook College."

Button, button care to share your buttons?
If you used some clever button ideas for your reunion, please share them. A sample will help us understand. Send to Reunions magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211-0727.

Some autumn thoughts for a special kind of reunion
As you prepare your garden for winter and divide bulbs or tubers, share them with family. Then, as your contributions pop up perennially, your family can recall your generosity. If all the gardeners in your family do the same, you can recall your family tree in blooms and plants ... tulips from your mother, herbs from grandma, raspberries from your aunt. If your irises are prize winners, cellophane wrap some bulbs for the reunion auction and tie with ribbon the color of the flowers.

More fundraising ideas for class reunions in charitable reunions.



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