Family Reunion Surveys and Reunion Icebreaker Activities
Each half of our family has held family reunions over the last two years. For each reunion, as part of the reunion planning process, we sponsored a pre-reunion survey. As the sizes of each reunion varied greatly, the survey used for each was designed differently. (Click here for our recommended list of reunion planning books and tools.)
For the smaller group, we planned for a longer questionnaire as we had two objectives in mind. The first objective was to uncover common interests across the family. The second objective was to facilitate conversation among the cousins by trying to guess who was behind some of the answers. By design, the survey was left anonymous.
The larger reunion (120+ people), fortunately, came second so we had some experience. It was large enough that some branches of the family had not necessarily met in the past. As a result of the experience we had gained already, in our planning process, we changed our objectives in this second survey to focus more on a few ice-breaker kinds of questions and some questions that focused on family history. In addition, the survey results were not anonymous as it would be challenging enough to find the person who gave each answer.
Each of the family surveys that we developed can be seen below. We have also included some of the responses on our website to offer an idea of what the results can look like.
As part of our family reunion, we asked all of our family (the family elders, the cousins, and their spouses/partners) to complete a fairly simple questionnaire with ten questions. The reunion planning concept is to get everyone thinking about our family and our interests; not only are the overall results interesting but it also gave us some information that we could use for some guessing games. Here are the ten questions that we used this year:
Question 1: Please list the best three books that you have read over the last year? Titles can be in any topic (non-fiction, beach trash, business, poetry, children's, etc.)
Question 2: If you had one month that you could take off from all responsibility and no limit on the funds necessary to travel in comfort, where would you take a dream vacation? Up to four stops on your itinerary are allowed.
Question 3: If you could have a lunch date with any three people (across time and space boundaries), who would those three people be?
Question 4: If you were stranded on a desert island for a month, what three items would you want to have to relieve the tedium? Assume that you are stuck for between 28 and 31 days with nothing to do and that your rations would be at least at the 'Survivor' level.
Question 5: Who are your three most favorite musical groups?
Question 6: What are your two favorite food splurges?
Question 7: What are your 3 favorite non-kid-related things to do in your free time?
Question 8: What is your most vivid memory of time spent together with the cousins when we were children? (N/A for the cousin's spouses...)
Question 9: What achievement or activity are you most proud of over the last year?
Question 10: Now that we
have left our immature years behind, what single piece of wisdom would you like
to leave for the next generation?
As part of our 2002 family reunion, we thought that it would be fun to conduct a quick survey of the entire family. We did a similar survey for the other half of our family in 2001. This survey turned into one of the more anticipated items of discussion around the dinner table. The objective is to get a perspective of the entire family through just a few simple questions. The results are likely to reflect a snapshot of the interests of the collective family; given the size of this family, we expect that this will be a very diverse set of responses.
Question 1: Please list three people who you would most like to have lunch with irrespective of any era, geography, or language barriers.
Question 2: In the last 12-18 months, what single achievement or activity are you most proud of?
Question 3: What element of our family history are you most interested in learning about? Who do you think may be able to provide information on this?
Question 4: What are your three most favorite things to do in your free time that are NOT child-related?
Question 5: Please list your two most favorite books of any genre that you have read during the last year or so. In addition to the title, if you remember the author, please include him/her as well.
If you're looking at holding your own family reunion, hopefully some of these books will also be of interest and help in the planning process. The first two books are the most highly rated by users of Amazon.com.
Also, these family reunion websites are likely to be of interest if you're planning a reunion: