Oh, some activities remain the same: certainly the family baseball game is still alive and well. As are card games and the wonderful smokey smell of BBQs.
But there is a also new range of activities that is now available to family reunion planners. Even better, many of these activities build ongoing relationships between the participants. The truth is that while these new activities are introduced at the family reunion, they can easily continue year-round.
Three New Activity Ideas
1. Ask each family member what’s special about them. Record the telling of their special trait and share it with the family. As family members develop new talents, have each person give quick updates throughout the year. That includes your child’s first words and your 8-year old granddaughter’s new-found talent for putting both her feet behind her head!
2. Plan a fun cooking competition! This activity gives talented cooks a chance to show off and the hungry masses something to smile about. Pick a popular theme such as baked goods or BBQ, and invite an all-age panel of family members to judge the competition. Record some cooking-in-process conversation! Remember to take pictures of the submitted dishes as well as the recipes. Be sure to upload these recordings, pictures and text files to a place where you can share them.
3. Make a game out of collecting family stories! Saving Memories Forever allows you to create a Pass-the-Phone activity. Preparing for this activity uses the “high-tech” skills that the younger set has and the experiences of everyone else. (Actually, both groups share many of these skills so it’s a little unfair to group them as I have.)
The game is played by “going around the circle” and asking relatives a question. (If there’s a large group, you might want to select just a few relatives to ask questions now and return later to ask other relatives questions.) The responses are then recorded under each person’s name and then uploaded to the Saving Memories Forever website where they can be shared.
All the planner has to do is find someone who’s comfortable with easy “high-tech”. With a little preparation, the tech guru in the family can easily become the family story recorder. A Premium Subscription provides unlimited storytellers. Additional recordings can be added and shared throughout the year.
Helpful Tips For Playing Pass-the-Phone
Since we anticipate that you might have a some follow-up questions, we’ve listed a few questions (along with responding suggestions) below.
•How do I get started? First, the Saving Memories Forever app provides story prompts.(Of course, you can also ask your own question.) Beyond that, storyteller Kim Weitkamp suggests that you start with the eldest relatives first (but watch out that you don’t just focus on older relatives or you’ll likely send the wrong message).
• How can I encourage relatives who are reluctant to talk to participate? In some cases, it’s a simple matter of having a favorite relative –maybe a grandchild—ask the question. Or it maybe it’s a matter of style. So, be flexible. For example, perhaps the “interviewee” prefers to write. If that’s the case, simply ask him or her to write down a memory. Then record him/her as they read that story. The written memory may well serve as a good starting point.
•How else can I use Saving Memories Forever? Family reunions planners might want to consider two other key ways in which they can use Saving Memories Forever. First, planners can simply use it as a vehicle to capture everyone’s comments about this year’s reunion. Just use the Celebrations category on the iPhone or Android smartphone app.Click here to learn more about our Celebrations feature.
Secondly, family reunion planners can also encourage family members to tell stories about deceased relatives. We call this our Virtual Relative feature as it allows a family to almost re-create a person’s life through the perspectives and stories of family members. Click here for more details about the Virtual Relative feature.
Jane Baker is the Co-Owner of Saving Memories Forever. She likes to write, garden, explore, read, meet with friends, and pat her cats. Not known for big spending, she and her husband, Harvey, like to take advantage of the free activities around St. Louis. She volunteers with several local organizations with her favorite one being STL Village.