Nowadays it’s common for families to be spread out in different parts of the state, country or even the world. With entire families often only gathering for big events like a wedding, it’s difficult to maintain a bond with distant relatives. Technology makes keeping in touch easier, but can’t replace quality time spent in the presence of loved ones. Family reunions are an opportunity to connect generations and preserve and pass on family history.
Are Family Reunions Worth It?
Family is a support system that can have a big impact on our lives. Most have stories, recipes, traditions, etc that are passed down each generation. Although technology allows us to make even a video call almost anywhere in the world, it can’t replace the depth of connecting the next generation of family members to their past by spending time together. Family reunions are a way to strengthen cross-generational bonds, pass on family history and create new lasting memories.
As human beings, it’s natural to want to belong somewhere. In addition to learning your family history which can contribute to your identity, gathering with your extended family gives you a sense of belonging. It can give you confidence that whatever you may be going through, you have a support system of people that care about you, people that you can lean on in times of need and celebrate your biggest moments and achievements with.
Life is unpredictable and moves quickly, people graduate, get married, move, have a child, have a life changing accident, die, change jobs, or interests, etc. Family reunions allow everyone to stay in the know and help support one another through these life changes. Reunions also allow you to meet new additions to the family, and remember and celebrate the ones that have been lost. In addition to maintaining your heritage, reunions are an opportunity to create new traditions that will also be handed down generations to come.
How to Start Planning for a Family Reunion
Depending on the size of your family and how dispersed it is, most start planning a family reunion about a year in advance, especially if it’s the first one. Planning far ahead gives your whole family enough notice to decide the location, take time off work, coordinate travel and transportation, and decide on a date that works for most people. The three actions that begin the planning process are the location and date of the reunion, the overall budget and how that expense will be paid (splitting between families for example).
It’s helpful to have a representative from each family to be responsible for communicating dates to avoid, gathering consensus on the location of the gathering, actual venue or lodging, number of participants, activities and budget, etc. Delegating the tasks of reservations, meals including dietary restrictions or considerations, travel and lodging and entertainment means that everyone can participate and share the workload of planning and executing the reunion event so no one feels overwhelmed by the process.
Once the date and location have been set, try to send out invitations as soon as possible to give everyone plenty of time to plan so they can attend. Sometimes families have a reunion on the same date or same time of year every year, or every few years, some even return to the same location or make it a family vacation in addition to a reunion. Most gatherings have some sort of potluck meal, fun activities, but also plenty of downtime, and commemoratives like matching t-shirts, a family cookbook, a slide show or family pictures.
Our property is filled with gorgeous scenery and a fire pit to socialize and relax around, perfect for a family reunion event. Historic Acres is conveniently located near many hotels in Hershey which makes planning accommodations for out-of-towners a breeze. We can accommodate groups of all sizes. Give us a call to learn more about us, check dates, or take a tour of the property.