Here are a few random thoughts from the organizers of previous
reunions. It's good to have a quick recap between the organizers within
24hours of the end of the event.
- It seems that not everyone got all the emails from us. We sent
out three mailings via US Mail and email. Only one announcement
went our on email only, that was five days before the event. It
seems that some family members changed their email address and
didn’t hear about the silent auction.
- When we changed the schedule verbally people didn’t remember.
We should have had some common place in the hotel lobby with the
current, updated schedule posted for everyone to read.
- We almost didn’t have enough transportation to go around. If
the next reunion is in an out of the way place and the day’s
activities will be a drive away, we should mention it. Some family
members will probably opt to get rental cars if they know there’s
- Having a registration table in the lobby on the first day was
key for getting people into the swing of things. However, the
registration guy had to miss most of the dinner because of the
time overlap (thanks to Angela for sitting down there). It would
have been nice to have the registration period end one hour into
- Left over registration packages were going to be left at the
desk for late arrivals, but some of the late arrivals were not
staying at the hotel.
- Registration packages were well set up. We had three extra
packages set up for drop ins.
- We should have suggested that people put invitations in their
next Christmas cards inviting others to attend the next one. Might
be a good idea for 2004.
- How could we get communication to the new branches of the
family, like those in Nova Scotia?
- Green Family Stamp was used on the outside of envelopes to
differentiate our letters from junk mail.
- We sent out one mailing to everyone on the mailing list (250),
then a registration package to everyone who responded yes or maybe
(70). We sent a final mailing to those who registered (40).
- People asked for information about nearby RV and camping
- Candlelight memorial service was very nice.
- We didn’t have good directions from the hotel to the Grandpa
Woo cruise ship. We should have done a drive by the day before and
used to hotel copy machine to hand out maps.
- We got surprised by the dinner. The organizers should request a
complete menu from the caterer. In this case we didn’t realize
that dessert was not included.
- It would also have been nice to have a no-host bar service
available without having to walk upstairs.
- The visit by John Thomas was enjoyed by all.
- Since there were not a lot of activities that were all over off
site, the families had more chance to meet and talk. In previous
reunions the group got split up a lot during the day.
- I think having the third day gave more time for people to
interact. It was interesting to have the reunion set up so that
the first day was a bit optional. This allowed people to arrive
early and get a feel for the place, but for those who could only
attend two days, they could come for the Friday/Saturday events. I
also think that three days gave close family members enough time
to visit among themselves and still feel that they had time to
visit with the extended family.
- We had our own coffee, soft drinks, and snacks in the
hospitality suite for people to eat while hanging around. Maybe we
should have had some beer and a box of wine.
- The drop by supper the first night was a very good way to get
people together right at the start. It set the right tone for the
- The silent auction went very well. We could have moved the
auction along quicker. It needs someone to watch and run it. We
had a few too many items though. We might have lumped some of the
smaller commercial items into larger groups to auction off. It is
also good to set minimum bids on the commercial items. I know that
some items went for much less than the donator paid for them; we
would have been better off to have the cash instead of the item
– that isn’t really the way it should work.
- Picture taking went well because we had someone who took
responsibility for seating people and arranging them.
- Having games around was a nice touch. We had a few fun card
- It was great to have a meeting room that was cozy and homey
(unit 57) instead of having to meet in a standard hotel banquet
room all the time. If necessary, we should pay for the organizers,
or someone else, to have a very large suite that can act as the
hospitality suite. The organizers of 2004 should use registration
monies to upgrade themselves to a suite or two adjoining suites
that can be used has a hospitality suite for gatherings. If the
organizers would rather not stay in these suites, they may not
want to have to be hosts all weekend, they should use registration
monies to upgrade some other family members that are willing to
live in the hospitality suite. And this suite(s) should be in the
same building as the bulk of the rooms. In Superior Shores the
meeting suite (#57) was too far out for all our family members to
- The hospitality unit #57 had a filthy floor, dirty hot tub, big
grease spot on the deck, campfire wasn’t lit, front desk was a
total screw up – messages missed, not passed on, etc.
- I don’t think anyone made use of the pools or spas.
- Good signage at the resort. We brought several pre-printed
"ENGELHORN" forms and big cardboard pieces to make up
signs on the day we set up the event. Kim used some Laser Printer
sticky back paper to print up the pieces. This is a whole sheet of
paper with peel off stickum’ on the back. Once we got to the
reunion Kim cut the arrows and words up, peeled off the back, and
stuck them on the cardboard in configurations that fit our need.
This was a neat trick.
- The hotel desk had a lot of confusion over all the guests having
the same last name (you think they’d be used to this). It is
important to stress to family members that they be very careful
when changing their reservations.
- The hotel held our block of rooms until two weeks before the
event, yet some family members couldn’t come because they tried
to make reservations within two weeks of the event. Go figure.
- Was cost a factor in people deciding to not come?
- The donation jar for the drop by dinner was seeded with a five,
a one, and a quarter so that people knew they could donate any
amount. The donation jar raised $62 that night.
- We didn’t ask for the survey’s back. It might have been nice
to have a self addressed, stamped envelope for people to use in
sending back the feedback form.
- It would have been nice to have a give away, like a hat or
scarf, in one color so that we could easily find family members in
- We split the organizing responsibilities into thirds:
Communication and Registration; Site Selection and liaison; Agenda
and Activities. We exchanged emails from time to time, but we
never even talked on the phone once.