When family members are scattered all over the country and even the world, family reunions are playing an important role in bringing everyone together in one place. Family reunion give families a chance to reconnect and make new memories. In most families as in mine, individual members need to fly or drive long distances to be together, and planning a gathering like this can be a challenge. With that said I was tasked with planning our very first family reunion for about 30 of my nearest and dearest relatives. I went head first into the project with no knowledge of the logistical challenges I was about to face.
I have learned quickly that coordinating a reunion is a daunting task, but there are several things I could done differently. I began with emails and Facebook notifications to each family members, asking them to reserve the date. I later followed up with some choices of beaches closest to my hometown. I thought it would make sense to stay close to home since I was in charge of planning the reunion. Then everything changed, when suggestions stated pouring in. Everyone had a unique idea for activities, destination, food, accommodation, and even date changes. I ended spending more time than I planned making changes to accommodate everyone. Some people couldn’t afford the hotel choices, some wanted to rent houses so that we could be together, and others couldn’t stay for the duration. We ended up two houses at the beach, but with that came more challenges since most people were from out of town. So now I was task with securing all the necessities needed to for the beach, such as beach chairs, towels, food, and transportations if we wanted to leave the house. The project kept getting bigger and bigger and more expensive for me. I believe I ended up spending more money than any other member just to pull it off.
As the coordinator, I should have stayed in charge and coordinated all the dates and venues. The project needed extensive planning that include all stakeholders input. I should have allowed at least six months to a year to plan the reunion. Planning task should include researching a destination, booking accommodations, collecting and managing fund, keeping the group informed and planning activities. A planning committee should have been in place to split the duties. We needed to survey the whole family to help make a few basic decisions, such as how far is everyone willing to ravel, and how much will they be able to spend. Overall, what I would do differently is plan and delegate responsibilities.