Leap into Reunion Activities By Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A.

This year we celebrate a Leap Year, meaning that typically every 4 years February has 29 days instead of 28 so that our calendar year stays in sync with the solar year (the amount of time it takes Earth to make a trip around the sun). With 366 days in 2024, what will you do with that extra day?  Perhaps it is a good time to give your reunion some additional attention with these three ideas.

1. Document family memories and stories. Ask your adult family members to document where they were and what they were doing 29 years ago. For example, 29 years ago, I was a graduate student in the creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. You can easily add scanned photos and record stories using the Vivid-Pix âMemory Station https://www.vivid-pix.com/memorystation. Is any family member a “Leapling” (born on February 29th)? Are there any couples who married in a leap year?  Note these special events in a family calendar. 

2. Create a family mission statement/motto. Write a family mission statement or come up with a family motto to showcase what your family stands for or what is special about your family reunion. Design a visual symbol (logo, family crest, etc.) that you can use on T-shirts or other reunion souvenirs or decorations. My mother’s family established the acronym ALAFFFA (each letter stands for the surnames of the 7 siblings—Abbott, Lizanov, Alzo, Figlar, Figlar, Figlar, Augenstein). A logo was created by my Uncle John Figlar in the 1970s to symbolize this motto of fun and laughter shared at our family gatherings.

3. Assemble a time capsule. Ask family members to take photographs of their favorite items. For example, treasured keepsakes, a piece of jewelry, gear from a favorite sports team, a kid’s toy or game, school project, or craft. Don’t forget items such as reunion decorations, T-shirts, souvenirs, family recipes, or newsletters. Vivid-Pix Prints https://www.vivid-pix.com/prints/ is perfect to use for this purpose. Fill a file box with the prints and keep them in a safe place until next Leap Year (2028). Be sure to keep track of where you put the box with a digital note or easy-to-find printed reminder.