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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Incoming 2012

1. Incoming 2012
2. Making Plans - Making Memories
3. Reunion Preparation Reminders
4. Raising Funds

Here is a shout out to family reunion planners in Canada, Australia, Trinidad
and Tobago from the U.S of A. - Welcome aboard.

1. Incoming 2012
Can you believe that 2011 has come and gone? It was back in 2008 that we
lamented how we quickly moved thru January 2007. "Before you know it we'll be
sipping a frosty glass of lemonade to the beat of "Family Reunion" on a warm
Sunny day while the young'ns laugh and play." Well 2007 thru 2011 has come and
gone. But we do have our memories don't we? And that's what it's all about. Yes
the cup of 2012 will soon be half full and the rest about to be swallowed.

That said don't gulp down your refreshing cup of life to quickly.
Learn how to savor every moment. Enjoy the family and remember the good times.
All we really have are our memories, the present time, and those we can only
hope to make tomorrow. As you go, instead of living someone-else's life or
trying to recapture the past in our present time, focus on creating memories
from the here and now. Only then can you look back fondly and enjoy that memory
rather than have regrets over a botched moment or missed details.

Much of your success in creating a memory has to do with good planning and
keeping things simple enough to enjoy the present. Give yourself permission to
enter that moment, that day and hour and make the most of it with the ones you
love rather than fussing over endless details.

What are your New Years resolutions? How close are you to meeting your goal?
Here's a popular one or two.

1. Spend more time with family even if it means writing letters, making phone
calls or video conferencing.

2. Don't just talk about what you want to do. Make it happen with good planning.
Begin by putting an event planning date on your calendar.

2. Making Plans - Making Memories
Brenda and I put on a family night show last month for family and friends. My
purpose in doing this was six-fold

1. Bring our family back together purely to celebrate family values that would
leave us all feeling good about ourselves and our roles.

2. Teach friends the importance of putting family first.

3. Teach our youth solid relationship skills while building character and
unbreakable bonds.

4. Provide a positive pro-active outlet to direct all of our creative energy and
inspire our youth to think about what they want to do with their life.

5. Fill the need for paternal affection and heal aching hearts needing to
confront family loss.

6. Celebrate new life.

We spent three months planning, rehearsing and crafting the props. It was a
truly multi-culteral/international event with cast and guests from Tobago,
Trinidad, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It was the best time I had in
years, if ever. Why? Because despite several setback we pulled it off and
succeeded in addressing all six parts of our mission. Hearts were penetrated.
Now a ripple effect has begun, a cascading of healing, mending and bonding is
taking place.

I have to admit I am detail oriented when it comes to these things. Just as we
were getting close to the day of the event several unforeseen occurrances
crossed our path. As a result we lost a whole day of prep time and hours were
cut of the event program due to delays.

Needless to say much of what I personally planned and created had to be put
aside and discarded. In addition there were many needless distractions with
details unrelated to our purpose. But the essence of what we put into the show
was well preserved in a single soundtrack, the props and the talent of the cast.
That said "the show went on" and our Family Night event was the most wonderful
and beautiful moment that I and most of the attendees had ever experienced.

My most gratifying memory is that the whole thing was conceived by Brenda and I
on our family summer vacation.

3. Family Reunion Preparation Reminders
Planning a family reunion is a great reason to come together. Be it to quilt,
knit, exchange ideas, photos or reminisce. When you think about it the time
spent in preparation for a family reunion is much like the days leading to
graduation. It's a time to reach back and savor memories, accomplishments and
pay our respects to those who've come and gone in our lives. When the reunion
days have passed you realize just how much the event was needed for all

Now is the time to check where you are on the "Family Reunion Timeline
Checklist". Wrap up collecting photos, stories, genealogy research and
start making definite plans to put together your photo and genealogy
presentations. Plan to have it all completed by the end of February or
early March.

If you're booking a reception hall follow up on this now. Order
supplies early or when materials are least expensive. By now everyone
should know how much family reunion dues are and most of the funds
should be collected by months end. Commence ordering T-shirts now if
you have not done so. You'll need time to examine a sample, approve
it and have them start printing. When the shirts arrive you'll need
to check each one and return a few for replacements. Plan to have your
t-shirts on hand by April. Touch base with all committee members to
make sure they are making progress on assigned task.

4. Raising Funds
By now you should have a good idea of how much funding is needed to
pull of the reunion event. First look for ways to cut down on
expenses without compromising quality. Is there a need to have more
funds on hand? Consider having an auction to raise money. Start
planning now. A great time for an indoor Auction is during the cold
season. Outdoor auctions are good for the warmer dryer season.

What will you sell? If you have crafty family members ask them to donate items.
Check out some flea markets for collector's items you know certain family
members will have to have. Put up some items you own that some of your family
members have shown an interest in. Create
gift baskets. Order bulk greeting cards and sell them in packs. Have
someone bake a few pies. Others can sell family coupons for home
cooked Sunday meals. Make it clear how much your looking to get with
the sale of each item. Your aim is to meet or beat that goal.

TIP 1: Have a family member erect a goal score board and write out the
goal and how close you are getting to the goal each time an item is
sold. This will focus attendees interest on meeting the goal and
encourage participation.

TIP 2:Have you inspected and appraised the family heirlooms? Perhaps a
few family members are willing to pay a few bucks for the honor of
temporary ownership. Most of all enjoy the moment of planning. Before
you know it, it will all have passed and you will have made many sweet
memories to savor.

Get your copy of the award winning Family Reuion Planner at and start creating memories, drinking
up life and living in the moment.

Happy Reunion Planning Everyone!

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