Unlock the Magic: Adding Family Service Project Love to your next reunion

Written by: Melanie Gardner

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Build love and inseparable connections at your next family reunion by participating in service projects and volunteer programs together.  Serving together binds hearts and seals our collective efforts in love for generations to come.

A few years ago, we had an amazing experience with my husband’s family.  His Dad has nine siblings who are all married, 50+ cousins, and 75+ cousins’ kids.  That’s an army, when it comes to flexing some major service project muscle.  I can’t say that many of my own kids were thrilled at the idea of weeding, digging, picking up trash, and doing general cleanup at a local park that was just coming into its season of prime use.  But this particular family has a propensity and culture of being hard workers!  And also, chatty Kathys. So, this service activity was a perfect fit.  We sweated and chatted and reconnected under layers of sunscreen and sunglasses.  There were lots of opportunities to talk to lots of different family members as we moved our way through different areas of the park and it was truly a memorable, connective experience.  Plus, so worthwhile!

For a successful service project at your next family reunion, consider the following:

– Have a theme for your reunion- The vision is the goal for your gathering and it can be useful in deciding what you can do. Tie your activity to your theme for maximum impact.

– Poll your audience – many family members have passion projects or volunteer opportunities and would love to contribute to the cause by offering ideas. Don’t forget to ask your people.

– Pick a person to be in charge.  This person will be responsible for making sure your group knows where to go, what to do, and can hit the service ground running

– Consider the culture and makeup of your family. Introverts, extroverts, age, and other extenuating circumstances should be considered when choosing your or activity.

TIP – Kit assembly can be wonderful work for all ages and interests and gives you time to chat too. Bonus!

– Find out what’s really needed in the community where you’re getting together.  https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/community-service-project-ideas

– Get competitive – who can collect the most canned goods? Who can collect the most clothes for toddlers?  Even the most simple service projects will benefit from a little friendly competition. 

Are you having a virtual reunion?

Consider an online or virtual service project. Then set aside a time at your online event for people to share their experiences serving.

Here are a few online ideas:

Volunteer online https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/9-places-to-volunteer-online-and-make-a-real-impact

50 community service ideas – some of these are easily adaptable to virtual events

https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/resources/articles/nonprofit/community-service-ideas

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