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Memoir Musings, Issue #103--June issue--Can Family Reunions Be Fun - Even for Teenagers?
June 17, 2008
Welcome to Memoir Musings
Making It Fun - Family Reunion Activities"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves." (Gail Lumet Buckley)
If you’ve attended a family reunion in the past, the wisdom of this statement may resonate with you. Who hasn’t heard the line, “you look just like your…” from some distant family member And who hasn’t come away from a reunion with a greater appreciation of some truth about a family personality trait, habit or saying. It’s part of the joy for many, and likely a major cause of eye-rolling amongst the teens and “tweens.”
According to the Travel Industry Association, 34% of us have attended a family reunion in the past three years, and 22% attended one in the past year. A survey sponsored by Reunions Magazine and Elon University revealed some interesting trends:
To ensure that family reunions continue to connect the generations in the years ahead, it makes sense to get all generations engaged. If you are hosting a reunion, some ideas for adding meaning, structure and enjoyment include:
The key is to encourage interaction, fun and activity. Create an environment where family similarities and differences are a source of joy, rather than frustration.
Family Corner:Getting Kids Excited about ReunionsIf you asked your children what they don’t like about family reunions, I’ll bet you hear versions of these reasons:
And there is likely truth in each of those statements. Take it as a challenge, and see if you can engage the kids before you ever leave home. Here are some ideas to get the kids involved in knowing more about their extended family.
Young school-age children may enjoy a day-by-day scrapbook for the trip. Make a simple book, with a page or two for each day. Include a map for the route you are travelling. Encourage them to write or draw about a favorite activity each day.
To help the children get to know their relatives, help them make a photo directory of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. You can either make a booklet, or just have photos printed off. In either case, add the person’s name, relationship to your children, and perhaps their birth date. Add a category or two to have the kids fill out once they meet…favorite singer, favorite place, where they live, or something that might interest your own child.
To engage the kids in the whole process, have them make a list of their own interests (i.e., music, sci-fi movies, soccer). Give them the “assignment” to find at least one other person who shares each interest.
Another story idea is to have them “find the dirt” on you! Challenge them to interview your parents/brothers/sisters to find out some interesting tales about you growing up. You might give them a head start with a teaser topic.
One of the best ways to engage teens is to put them in charge of the younger ones for some planned activities. Let them select the prizes for the games too.
One last suggestion; before any conflict arises, set the ground rules for using cell phones, iPods and video games. It is easy for tweens and teens to never “be” at the reunion, even if they are physically present. Settle this beforehand to avoid major problems at the reunion itself.
What's New at ExtraordinaryLives.com?Visit www.ExtraordinaryLives.com and check out our News Room, with links to press releases and an event calendar.
Monthly Memory Prompt - Family Reunion RevelationsYou’ve attended a few (or many) reunions…what memories and stories have reunions provided to you?
How-To-Tip: Create a Family YearbookCapture the essence of one year in one stylish, high-quality and affordable family yearbook. Each family member contributes digital or scanned photos and stories to a special website. Once all contributions are added, the book and cover are automatically designed and printed, and in two weeks, mailed to you. It’s easy, fun, and quick.
To create a DIY yearbook, you need:
Here are the basic steps:
The possibilities are endless: You can set up a chapter for each month, each big event, each family member…you choose!
Imagine the fun of looking at your family yearbook as the years go on. Can you think of a more meaningful gift for a grandparent than such a book from each branch of her family tree?
To check out our Do-It-Yourself book design, printing and binding service, click here: DIY Memoir Design, Layout and Printing
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