As you plan your family reunion or other annual summer event consider honoring a very special person or a few very special people at the event. 1
Perhaps, you would like to recognize:
- Grandparents or parents for all of the special experiences they have provided.
- A couple who recently got engaged or married to wish them well.
- A recent graduate or someone departing for or returning from military active duty or overseas assignments to thank them for their service.
- A family who is moving away or who travelled far to attend the event.
- Someone celebrating a special birthday this year.
- An individual who did something really special.
- An individual who has recovered from a serious injury or illness.
You might also wish to recognize two people (or groups of people), one older and one younger.
Selecting the Honoree for Your Family Reunion
Perhaps, the best way to select the honoree is for you to think about everyone attending the event to identify honorees that all attendees would feel really good about honoring. You could then rank order the potential honorees and select one or two. Alternatively, you could ask for nominations and/or have an election. The risk of having an election is that attendees who have, say, lots of brothers and sisters might be more likely to be selected than, say, only children.
Recognizing the Honoree at Your Family Reunion
There are several ways to recognize the honoree, depending upon the honorees personality as well as the personality of the group 2. Some options might include:
- Assemble a wall of photos of the honoree (and caption them if possible)
- Prepare a slide show honoring the honoree (if lighting conditions will permit showing slides). Be sure to keep it interesting.
- Ask the honoree to perform or share something related to what they’re being honored for (for example, if they wrote a song/poem, or if they recently performed something somewhere).
- Organize a game show: Who knows the honoree the best?
- Select honorees favorite foods for part of the menu.
- Present a “toast” for the honoree.
- Compose a song for the honoree.
- Have all of the attendees bring a sign for the attendee (like a greeting card, but a sign on, say, 8.5 by 11 or D4 matte paper). Take photos of the guests bringing the sign, presenting the sign to the honoree, and the honoree holding the sign.
- If your honoree is really adventuresome, have all of the guests bring a second sign in a sealed envelope. Blindfold the honoree for the second slide presentation and photos. (Be sure to bring a nice bandana, lined with foil so the honoree can’t see through it, that will look nice in photos).
- Have a cake (or fruit bowl) ceremony in which the guests each light a candle on the cake (or fruit bowl) while telling a great story about or thanking the honoree. After all candles are lit and photos are taken, the honoree extinguishes the candles.
Of course, you want to choose different ways to recognize the honoree at your family reunion each year so your recognition ceremonies remain interesting and fun.
1 I would like to thank Industrial Consultant Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.
2 These ideas for recognizing the honoree are also applicable to other events such as birthdays, graduations, weddings or bridal/baby showers.