The workshop panel members were under thirty and the panel was anchored by 26-year-old Steven Jones who, at 23, organized the Simpson Family Reunion.
The hospitality suite, we learned, can be as important to the young as it is to older family members because it is where people assemble and where much story-telling goes on. Games, food and music will encourage kids to stay close to the rest of the family.
As kids begin to mature a bit, they should get their own rooms, usually adjoining their parents. Informal sleep-overs/pajama parties can go on in these rooms and cousins can spend more time together.
Hints from the kids:
- Send a questionnaire directly to kids and ask what they want to do.
- A swimming pool is important.
- Send children off on (chaperoned) tours to children’s museums.
- For teenagers a hotel near a mall can make or break a reunion. They also enjoy disco or theatre trips (on chartered busses). One reunion made parents feel old when kids decided upon a disco event as a “blast from the past.”
- Use family centered movies to generate discussion. In the African American community particularly, but for any family these might include Soul Food or Down from the Delta.