This is a tough question. Assuming that activities and attractions all have a cost, setting a budget limit for costs associated with each reunion may be a solution. I would suggest doing a survey of all family members who have ever attended a reunion about what categories of expense for activities and attractions would be most acceptable. Then planners would have a cap on activities for the reunion. More expensive alternatives for individuals might be listed for a reunion site, but plans for group activities would have to fall under the agreed upon cap. This would also help avoid reunions becoming an event only for those in the family who are well off.
Our family rotates the reunion between four different chapters. All the chapter cities have a lot to offer in terms of activities and local attractions but some chapters have planned much better than others. And while we used to laugh about the "friendly" competition to plan a better reunion from year to year, it's starting to not be that friendly anymore. Family members are picking and choosing which reunion they'll attend, rather than attend them all as was done in the past. What can we do to get the chapter competition to be less competitive and get family members attending all the reunions as before?
I like Doug’s suggestion of searching out the reason for the drop-off and making adjustments if it’s related to the cost. If however the reunion drop-off is truly due to one chapter being better planners than the others (and not cost or anything else), it’s time to get the chapters together for the initial planning of all the reunions. Invite all the chapters (or at least the best planners from each) to assist with the early planning. That way the best planners can help strategize the reunion format and agenda, and help design a winning formula for every reunion. After those early meetings, the individual Chapters can follow through with the rest of the planning. You can hold an All Chapters Meeting during the reunion if possible to get the ball rolling, and meet by phone thereafter as needed.
Reunion planning that raises the bar to keep the reunion entertaining, exciting, and not to be missed is a good thing. It ensures that family members old and young will continue to come out, show love and support the legacy of the family. Having Family Chapters plan reunions is great and helps reduce planning member fatigue. However, if the reunion goal is to get everyone attending and celebrating together, the chapters must be willing to team up for the common good of the family—and the reunion—so that all reunions are well attended and memorable.
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