Make a new game

Awaya Family Reunion
Awaya family members represent a broad spectrum of talents, hobbies and disciplines, which were called upon to arrange activities and events. The week kicked off with a t-shirt tie-dye party, including a silk-screen station to apply the family coat-of-arms as a reunion memento. With colorful shirts drying in the background, the space adopted a week-long festive, party atmosphere, as family members also made colorful paper lanterns (to festoon the anniversary dinner later in the week), beadwork, model airplanes and a papier mache piñata, among other projects. One of the week’s highlights was the “unbirthday party,” during which the whole gathering participated in uproarious games and broke the piñata they’d made. The Awaya Family loves powdered donuts. The goal was to eat yours first, but you could only use your mouth … no hands. It netted hilarious scenes, especially of the older generation covered in powdered sugar and looking like fish trying to suck in the bait. We really enjoyed the game. We had multiple races and the winners of each race competed for the grand prize … their very own box of powdered donuts. Reported by Sarah Okuno, Saratoga, California.

Darga Family Reunion
When descendants of Rose & Frank Darga meet, games are organized and run by the Benny Darga Game Committee. The children and adults have fun playing games and whistling with soda crackers, Carol Idalski, Charlotte, Michigan, reports.

Rabb-Herron Family Reunion
The Rabb-Herron Biennial Family Reunion Picnic includes a big track meet. The picnic was held at the Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, Louisiana, known for its mountain bike trails.  Laura Morgan, Chicago, Illinois, writes, “We just pick a section of the park that’s isolated and have family members from two to whatever age run against each other. Everyone gathers around to cheer on their family members. The competition can get fierce, especially among the older ones trying to regain their form and finding out that you can’t go back. One year we gave the winners medallions with pictures of our maternal and paternal grandparents.”

Douglass-Blount Family Reunion
J. Lynne Wilson Jenkins, Simpsonville, South Carolina, reports that the Douglass-Blount Family Reunion has a talent show, tours, kid & adult games and family history games. Everyone introduces themselves and explains how they’re related to the family. They also play icebreaker games that “force” people to mix and mingle. It is traditional to recognize the oldest and youngest family members, the member who traveled farthest, and the family with most immediate members present.

Curtis Butler Family Reunion
Joan Waters, Charlotte Hall, Maryland, found brain teasers on an educational website and printed them in the Curtis/Butler Family Reunion program. Most folks wrote their answers during fellowship time after dinner. Answers were revealed during the awards and recognition program. Winners picked a white elephant prize.

Concentrate on family
Make a concentration game of ancestors and family members to play at your reunions. Also, to prepare your kids for an upcoming reunion, use photos of cousins they don’t see often. That way the excuse of “I don’t know anyone” is moot. After a couple of games, they should recognize everyone and feel more comfortable and even excited about meeting the real people at the reunion. Add ancestor photos for a reunion game everyone can enjoy.

To make a concentration game you’ll need two copies of each image on similarly sized cards. Copy photos, photocopies or drawings. Combine as many as possible on one sheet. Trim photos, mount on card stock and laminate them.

Take the cards to your reunion to continue the game and share it. Cards are also great generators for stories about the people and ancestors pictured. Encourage everyone to tell their favorite stories while you’re all together.

Perron Family Reunion
Cindy Walker reports about activities at her Perron Family Reunion. On Saturday there are games and races for kids, teens, adults and the group. A traditional 50 on 50 baseball game runs about enough time to let everyone have a bat. A horseshoe tournament continues throughout the weekend. In the evening there is a dance with a bonfire and movies for the kids. They also have a skit, scavenger hunt and cabin decorating contest. Sunday is described as a colorful day. T-shirt day shines with color-coded shirts for each family.

Reunions at Granny Conley’s
Amanda Hamm, Raleigh, North Carolina, wrote that what the house lacks in size is more than made up by the abundant backyard at her grandmother, Hazel Conley’s house. There is plenty of room for running around with water balloons, or the more subtle cup of water that one is pretending to drink. Poles stand year-round waiting for the volleyball net that comes out for the summer reunion. It has, on more than one occasion, taken longer to find the net than was spent playing the game. The size of the court changes from year to year, depending on the shoe size of the person mapping the boundaries. And the boundaries have even been known to change in the middle of a game if everyone agrees the space is too hard to cover or if, say, someone gets stepped on. Out of bounds has been marked by rocks, shoes and other things people can trip over and by, at least one year, duct tape. The ball is not always inflated ahead of time and is sometimes not even a volleyball. We’ve never found a better spot for a game.

Reunion with the Easter bunny

The Cairns-O’Rourke Family Reunion has been an annual gathering for over 20 years over Easter weekend. The family is seven (six living) children of the late David and Marie Cairns, 29 grandchildren and almost 42 great-grandchildren (one on the way). A typical reunion has at least 80 members in attendance. Our background is Scottish so we’re a clan of great size.

Each year a t-shirt is created, but this year was a “retro reunion” so family members were asked to wear a t-shirt from the last 20 years. A runway fashion show featured each and every t-shirt. Our colors are red, black and white. Tables were decorated with lots of retro pictures and sayings from past reunions.

For our “Circle of Love” we gather to share news and happenings that have occurred during the past year. We have lots of games for the children, everything from a penny scramble and Easter egg hunt, to hula hoop and pie-eating contests. For adults, we have an annual shoe kick where all the women line up to see who can kick a shoe the farthest, then the men do the same. We have an egg toss and new this year were Family Feud and the 1st annual dodgeball contest (to help work out any family issues).

Reported by Brittany Streufert (daughter of Maureen Cairns Campeau), Fort Pierce, Florida.

Moore family maintains tradition
There were four children in the Moore family and every other year one of the children’s children is in charge of choosing the reunion location, which changes with each family.

Everyone pitches in a set fee (for example, $40 per person, but no more than $160 total per family).

Each host family is responsible for planning activities. My family created a “brag book” rather than the usual recipe book. A “brag book” gives everyone an opportunity to share their accomplishments, goals and interests with the family. Often a two-day reunion isn’t long enough to rekindle relationships with every attendee or get to know new ones. The brag book gives everyone a “snapshot” of their kin.

We play a game called “Two Truths and a Lie.” Everyone secretly writes two things that are true about themselves and one “lie.” The Host is the moderator and collects all entries, then one-by-one reads them out loud. Other family members must guess who the Host is describing. The truths and lie must not be gender-specific and not obvious, because the object is to stump family members. Family members have three minutes to guess, then the moderator reveals the mystery family member and moves on to the next one.

Prizes for games are donated by family members. We have artists in our family who donate works of art; a hairdresser donates a basket of hair care products; an interior designer donated a free room makeover; a landscape artist donated a plant with directions; a tire store manager donated a 20% discount to any of his stores nationwide; an airline pilot donated Buddy Passes; a photographer donated an 8×10 photo of the reunion; others donated handmade afghans and quilts and original poems. These prizes are more personal than store-bought items.
Reported by Jodie Schrier, Spring, Texas.

The King comes to family reunion
Diane Yamaguchi’s affinity for Elvis began as a young girl. She’d play his records, sing and dance along to the music, pretending she was a star. In seventh or eighth grade, she entered an Elvis impersonation contest and took first place. She graduated from high school in 1963.

She never considered bringing The King back to life until a family reunion about four years ago.Yamaguchi’s family gathers every year in Avila Beach, California, where they hold a huge family reunion, complete with entertainment.

In 2002, Yamaguchi and her sons decided to entertain their family members by performing a song-and-dance routine as Dolly Parton, Michael Jackson and Tina Turner impersonators and, of course, Elvis. Yamaguchi lip-syncs a 12-minute CD of prerecorded Elvis songs and moves her hips and pelvis, just as Elvis did in his day.

She’s performed as Elvis at her past four family reunions and her 40th high school reunion in 2003.

From a story by April Charlton in the Santa Maria Times, Santa Maria, California.

What games does your reunion play?
If you have special icebreakers and games your family plays (and great pictures of the action), please share them.

Send to the editor (attach as tif or jpg file at 300 dpi or higher) or Reunions Magazine, PO Box 11727, Milwaukee WI 53211.
Send us your game ideas!