Fall into Reunion Planning – By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

The fall equinox and the first day of autumn arrives on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 02:50 A.M. EDT in the Northern Hemisphere. This is also a fitting time to reflect on the changing seasons of your reunion planning cycle. For families or groups who have longstanding traditions, it may not be easy to consider a “change” or the “it has always been done this way” mindset.  Here is simple acronym for you to remember to embrace something different for your next gathering.

C is for Create – Decide on the vision of your event and take steps to make it happen.

H is for Help  –  Volunteers are needed and appreciated by the planning committee.

A is for Activate  –  Turn your ideas into realistic action plans.

N is for Navigate – Steer your planning in the right direction (not too fast, not too slow).

G is for Generations  – Start involving the younger members in decisions and planning.

E is for Engage – Send notices using photos or questions to entice your attendees.

What are some specific things you can change?

Attendance. Publicize the gathering early enough and use save-the-date cards so potential attendees can clear space on their calendars. Offer virtual options (via Zoom) for those who are unable to attend in person.

Venue. Perhaps a change of scenery or location can breathe new life into your reunion. Travel time, budget/cost, and ease of access to accommodate members who may not be as mobile are important considerations.

Participation. Having activities for attendees of all ages (games, crafts, story circles, costume contests, etc.) will increase the chance everyone will take part in the day’s festivities and spend quality time together.

Whether your event is large or small, being ready to adapt and open to trying new things is key to make sure reunion experience continues to thrive in the midst of an ever-changing world.