Low Participation

by Jaylynn
(Bedford,VA)


Please give me any suggestions to get my family to participate in our reunion. The date,time and place have been changed frequently to try to accommodate many of our members. I change the games and activities each year except for a few favorites. I use to order t-shirts and sell them to interested family. We have had our reunion annually since 2000 and each year the numbers are less. To be honest, I am getting discouraged and ready to hand it over to someone else but no one seems to want to do the organizing. Please HELP or we may not have a reunion next year!! The younger adults are the ones not coming. "NOT INTERESTED in hanging out with the OLD FOGIES" We have a lot of the older ones that are passing on and I would like for the younger cousins to meet each other. My generation grew up knowing most of our cousins but now the new generation haven't even met each other except online! What fun is that? Thank you for any suggestions.

Comments for Low Participation

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Jul 30, 2014
Some ideas for getting people to come
by: Anonymous

My mother's family reunion is every year and my father's side is every 2 yrs. If it is cost make it every other yr that way people can save and you start collecting deposits 6mths in advance for food and they can save for hotel expenses and extras. If it is every yr. Send facebook blasts, create a family page on fb. Get the younger generation involved by asking what they would like to do. If they are into video games, have an video game challenge there. Make it a family pot luck dinner if you think it may be a small turn out. Ours is 3-4 days and we usually have about 150 and we change locations each time. So we have had it in DC, Va, Ga, Mi, and a cruise. So maybe if you start in a central place and then move it around. If its transportation look into charter buses and add it into the cost. A lot of our family members are older and don't want to make that drive to our next one so we are having a charter bus pick them up within an hour of their homes.

Mar 04, 2014
Same Here
by: Anonymous

Same problems in our family - older generation finally told next generation that this was the last reunion we were planning and coordinating, and we were passing the responsibility to the next generation. Thus far we have not heard of any plans, but someone may still step forward and surprise us. If not, it will be the end of our extended family reunions, and actually, I'm okay with that because it is very clear that a majority of the extended family do not consider it a high priority, and many are attending only because they feel guilty if they don't. Perhaps some day they will regret that but I seriously doubt it. Their life is full enough with plenty of family relationships within their smaller nuclear family units, which now are made up of 4 generations in some cases. I think they don't have any need to extend their affections or interest beyond that widening circle and the bonds between the first generation siblings are no longer strong enough to keep pulling everyone together.

Apr 24, 2011
Delegating to Younger Generation
by: Anonymous

My family has been hosting family reunions since the 1970s. Initially, when the reunions began the oldest sibling always planned the reunion. In an effort to engage the other 7 siblings, my family developed a rotational system that was based on the year of birth starting the oldest sibling to the youngest. The system was automatic and each year each sibling knew when it was their year to host the reunion.

This system has worked well for about 3 decades, however, the siblings are now senior citizens in ages 60s to 80s, therefore, they want to pass the reunion on to their children and grandchildren but still keeping the same rotational system based on the year of birth of the siblings (first generation that started the reunions). But, with the age of Facebook, the younger generation has less time and less interest in traditional reunions. To add, younger people just don't have the time to plan a major special event like a reunion. The young folks only want to use text message for communication but that mode of communications eliminates the older folks. Traditional mailings must be used along with internet.

Don't give up. Be thankful if only 18 people attend. If only 2 people show-up it is still a family reunion.

Jul 20, 2010
Don't give up!
by: Anonymous

I don't know what to tell you other than Don't Give Up! My asmily reunion is old. This year, 2010, is our 60th consecutive year of meeting. We used to have as many as 100 people attending, but the last two years we only had 18. This year I've sent invitations, contacted the media, and have done everything I can think of to spark some interest. We'll see what happens.

Jun 27, 2010
Comments for Low participation
by: Anonymous

Getting teens and young adults interested in participating in the family reunion can be tricky.

As the previous poster Don't Give Up suggested, the important part is getting the word out about an upcoming family reunion. A lot of times information is sent out to the parents with the expectation that the parents will get the information to their adult children. I know that with these type of events, people are trying to save on postage by not sending out so many invitations. But if the adult child has moved away and has his own residence, he should receive his own invitation.

Ask the young family members to be a part of the planning committee and contribute ideas that would be of interest to the younger generation.

A local young person can inform their young relatives from out of town about local clubs and events that goes on in their area.

If you have young family members who are artistic, have them contribute designs for t-shirts, signs, and banners. You can even make it a contest. Whoever submits the best design will have their design selected for the family reunion t-shirts.

For young persons who are good at photography, let them be in charge of picture taking.

For teens, I have seen reunions where they set up a scholarship fund and family members donate money for an eligible youth who have graduated high school and are about to attend college.

I have also seen family reunions have essay contest where youth submit essays with subjects such as "The Importance of Family" or "What Family Means to Me". The youth who submits the best essay wins a prize.

There are lots of ideas to generate interest. But it is really a matter of asking the young people what will make it more interesting for them and getting them to participate in the planning.

May 17, 2010
Family Reunion Help
by: Aunt Mo

We don't have a problem with keeping our family coming to family reunions. I'll tell you why I think that is- we make lots of assignments- we ask family member to help with everything- food, games, evening entertainment. I think it's important to involve everyone! Ask a 5 year old to bring a can of olives.

We also choose fun family reunion themes to go along with what we are doing. For instance- have a western reunion and plan western events and food. Dinner sounds a lot more fun if you are having Branding Iron Beans and Texas Trail Ride Sheet Cake. You can find great ideas and recipes at www.familyreunionhelper.com

May 17, 2010
Cancel for lack of interest!
by: Fhogan

I have been handling our family reunions for several years and encountered problems, not with the attendance but with the lack of help in organizing. Everyone loves the reunions but inevitably there are those that dislike something or other. At the beginning of this year, after numerous attempts to get volunteers, with no success. I send out e-mails to everyone, saying the reunion was canceled due to lack of interest. I got several responses saying they were saddened since they had been looking forward to it. I explained that I was unable to do it without help but would love to have the reunion if there were enough volunteers, immediately I received some commitments and we managed to plan the reunion in two months. We number 104 and we had 74 attendees! I already have a group of volunteers for next year. Maybe you should consider doing something like that. It worked for me!

May 16, 2010
Keep Trying
by: Anonymous

Good Luck,

I am planning my family reunion for the first time this year.
Some of the younger relatives have economic issues.
I am helping some of those that can't meet the financial obligaton.
Maybe some of the older folks could sponser the younger ones if it's a financial issue.
Another thing that I have done to pique interest is doing a genalogy search, and locate ancestors from the 18th century, and everyone was totally awed.
Give those less interested a specific committe, to work on like the tshirt committe, and maybe have a contest for the most original idea.
Good luck to you.

May 15, 2010
Don't give up!
by: Anonymous

You've hit on a common problem! With the world as busy as it is and families living farther and farther apart, family reunions just don't get the prioritization that we'd like them to.

A few things to think about -

1. Are the non-comers getting a proper invitation? When it's left up to the parents to distribute information to their grown children about an upcoming family reunion, the information gets lost.

2. Include activities specifically for the younger blood. Not sure what those should be? Solicit feedback and get someone from each generation to help you plan. Or maybe put them in charge of an activity specifically for their age group.

3. Even though it's difficult to do, try sticking with the SAME DATE every single year. It'll take a few years, but eventually, everyone will know exactly WHEN the reunion is and just look for information regarding where it will be and what activities are on tap.

Don't give up!! Believe it or not, your family is stronger due to your efforts. I wish you all the best.

Lydia

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