Build a Reunion Profile Part 2 – By Lisa A. Alzo M.F.A.

Have you considered what your reunion legacy will be? Building a reunion profile documents the past but also provides a blueprint for future generations poised to take on the planning duties.

Another simple and low-cost activity is a questionnaire.  In the August 1 newsletter, “Build a Reunion Profile Part I” discussed biographical questionnaires. Consider adding a section to your biographical question sheet that focuses on reunion memories. For long-term reunions, consider capturing the memories of oldest generations by adding some specific questions about reunion memories.

I recently located the paper copies of a The ALAFFFA Family Reunion Questionnaire I prepared for my mother’s family reunion in 1992. I used “snail mail” at the time and requested all members return the form by a designated date in advance of the reunion that year. On the blank form, were the following questions.

  • Family/Name, Address and Phone
  • My Favorite ALAFFFA Picnic Memory(ies):
  • Picnic Years(s):
  • Themes (Where Applicable):
  • Memory(ies):

Reading the answers is like getting into a time machine with each member who took the time to complete the form. Many remembered the themes and the entertainment (Hee-Haw in 1989, Woodstock in 1990, and Fiesta in 1991). Several members listed the 1986 Hawaiian Luau picnic as their favorite, “because it was the first organized and rehearsed entertainment when Helen, Mickey & Gerry sang. Costumes were great!” and “1986—I think this was one of the best picnics because everyone participated in the luau theme. I think the success of this one opened the door for themes every year after.” One member summed it up well, “I have many favorite picnics. It is hard to say which picnic was the best. They all have some great memories. just watching the family grow has some great memories.”

Ideally, it is also important to collect photographs as well as audio, and video clips where available. Using the text and the media together in a shareable file like a digital photo album or slideshow is a fun way to build a reunion profile to document times shared together that can also be updated as technology advances.