The Easy Way to Plan a Family Reunion
Families grow and change constantly. Without effort, even the most loving families can drift apart. One way to solidify connections: a family reunion. A family reunion is not only a time to get loved ones together, it’s a time to create memories and preserve existing ones—to share stories, favorite recipes and solidify relationships that will last for lifetimes to come. Let’s discuss some planning tips to help make any family reunion a success.
Step One: Pick an Organizer
If you’re lucky enough to have several family members volunteer, select one (preferably with good organizational skills!) to lead the effort. This person can make the necessary reservations, travel arrangements, etc. or they can delegate those tasks out to various family members who wish to help.
Step Two: Choose a Date and Location
Invitations and “Save the Date” emails are crucial. Let everyone know as far in advance as possible when and where you plan to go.
For location, consider an out-of-the-city getaway with a pond or lake and plenty of fields and forest for natural exploration. Scientists have identified a myriad of benefits to spending time in nature, and even more benefits specifically when the family is outdoors. And getting away from it all will make everyone realize that it’s the time spent with each other on this trip that’s the priority.
Find a place that can accommodate the entire crowd for some events, but also has other options to break off into smaller groups. Ideally, you also want plenty of activities for kids of various ages, so everyone can engage at their own comfort levels.
A model example is Frost Valley YMCA, which regularly hosts events for individuals as well as groups of hundreds of people. At Frost Valley’s main camp location, there may be other groups (such as corporate retreats, college teams or other families) sharing the facility during your stay, the staff can help to plan a weekend family reunion around everyone’s interests and skill levels, everything from ziplining and hiking to apple cider making and karaoke. A Friday-to-Sunday reunion allows working families to participate in the fun without losing vacation days!
If you’re looking for something more private or during the week, Frost Valley’s smaller location, East Valley Ranch, is smaller but still offers miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, ropes courses, arts and crafts, cross-country skiing, and other activities for everyone. The ranch features a beautiful B&B style lodge, with a large dining room, as well as yurts for the more adventurous. And with a minimum of 14 guests, a family can have the entire location to themselves. Perhaps you start with a morning hike, then lunch, and afterwards, the whole family goes on a hayride to Frost Valley’s working farm just down the road. Then the artists in the group can head to arts-and-crafts to make one-of-kind family reunion keepsakes, while the thrill-seekers head to the high ropes course.
Step Four: Arrange the Accommodations and Meals
You’ve chosen the location – but what about lodging and meals?
Whether your families stays at East Valley Ranch’s lodge or yurts or chooses from the many options at Frost Valley’s main camp, there’s something for everyone from Sept. through June (during the summer, Frost Valley is a day and overnight camp for children and teens). Guests can choose between the gorgeous Frost Valley Castle, dorm-style lodges in scenic settings, hotel-style accommodations in the picturesque Lakeview Lodge, or, depending on the season, in Mongolian yurts! And at both locations, meals are served for all types of preferences and needs – including vegetarian and gluten free options.
With a little bit of planning, your family reunion can be the highlight of everyone’s summer—so set a date, pick a location and get ready to create memories that will last for years to come.