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Choosing committee for NEXT Reunion?

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 09/30/09 11:47 AM Views: 1762 Replies: 11
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Hey Gang,

Our 10 year reunion is in 23 days - hard to believe! We are pleased w/the number of people coming and what we have planned for everyone. I think it will be a huge success.

Of course a few (very small #) people who are not planning this event have been somewhat critical wondering why it costs so much, wondering why it was not free, etc etc. While they have a right to their questions, I find it frustrating to hear they are even asking these questions. I ended sending out an email to the class explaining why the cost was $50 and what their $50 was getting them. I was nice but honest and it was appreciated, I believe. Needless to say, despite the worrying, stressing and at times sleepless nights (I'm a dork - I worry!), I have truly enjoyed being apart of the committee and am glad that I was sucked into somewhat heading it up. But with the reunion approaching, the other members are wanting to pass the torch to someone else for our next reunion. So, question is - how did you chose your next committee members? How did you choose your next web administrator? Did you change the committee any? I assume our next reunion will be our 20th and gosh knows that I have no idea where I'll be or what I'll be doing in 10 years... and I doubt anyone else knows. Should we wait to pass the torch closer to the 20th? Do people keep up their classcreator websites for 10 years? I think I will be sad to give it up and pass the torch and especially be sad in handing over the website (if I decide to do so) but I know I will enjoy some "free" time during and after work! Thoughts? Advice?

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM - Response #1

Hi Mandy,
I'm sure you are will do just fine.
I've been maintaining our database of names/addresses and doing reunions for >40yrs and you will never please all of the people, all of the time. It's just the way it is.
Often times, people just don't realize the cost of putting on a reunion. Some people would just like to have a picnic and other a fancy ball.

When it comes time to pick people to help, you'll find some that just want to be heard, but not work. Some will offer to work, but end up not doing anything of value.
In time, you'll know who will really help and who won't. You'll end with a small group of dedicated people who will help for the right reason......to have a fun gathering.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:00 PM - Response #2

Hi!

I just want to comment on people's comments on pricing the reuinon. We just had our 30th two weekends ago, and we had about 70% of our class attend, and over 50% of the teachers! It was a wonderful day of events.

We had two people who didn't attend because of cost. We charged about $150/classmate (and their spouse) for an afternoon appitizer event (for classmates & teachers), followed by a beautiful dinner for classmates, spouses, and teachers at a nice golf course. The two people also asked why it couldn't be cheaper - have a barbeque at someone's acerage or something. I told them that the committee wanted to enjoy themselves too, so the only route considered was events fully catered. I also explained that over one hundred volunteer hours went into organizing the events and doing the website, so it was very good value for the attendees.

I know that the two people who didn't go are now jealous that everyone who attended had a great time, and are raving about the events!

In a nutshell, you won't please everyone. But, a reunion (especially after quite a few years) deserves to be a classy, memorable event - and that the committee shouldn't be counted upon to work at the events themselves.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:12 PM - Response #3

As reunion organizer for our 40th reunion this year (and avid Class Creator fan)I am always shocked at WHY people always feel that reunions have to cost so darn much! My husband comes from a fancy-schmancy private high school and college and so, over the years, we've been deluged by reunions--all of them terribly expensive for overpriced, poorly-prepared appetizers, etc. So when I decided all by myself (I couldn't find any other "suckers" to help meSmile ) to have a 40th reunion after 20 years without one, I made up my mind that I wouldn't charge a dime. Fortunately, CC made it pretty easy. No postage, invitations, etc. Then all I did was call around to find a nice restaurant with LOTS of overflow room (we had 200 or so in our class) that was willing to gamble that we'd have a turnout--any kind of turnout. I told them, "I will give you no money. But I WILL do my best to really, really increase your customers that night." Go figure: in this crummy economy, they seemed to like the idea. I told them it'd be somewhere between 20 people and 120 and that each person would be responsible for their own orders. The restaurant brought in a couple extra waiters, set up an upstairs bar, and, voila, we had a reunion! 120-140 people showed up. No one needed to RSVP. If they ordered ice water, that's all the reunion cost them. And over and over again, people thanked me and thanked me and thanked me (including the restaurant which is now hosting reunions next year for other classes from our school). So I would encourage you to really re-think this entire reunion-spectacle expectation. Taper it down to something that's do-able for everyone and you'll be the "reunion-rockstar". I promise.

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Edited 09/30/09 1:13 PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM - Response #4

Ronna,

Ingenious! I'm really impressed with both your resourcefulness and the results.

Fred Bock

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 2:10 PM - Response #5

Your restaurant idea is a good one in a poor economy. In Alberta, Canada, our economy is good, so no restaurant would agree to that.

I do understand the tradeoff between cost and what you get. My classmates (other than two) were more than happy to have a classy event. We especially wanted an event that there wouldn't be outside strangers in the same washrooms (or even in the same dining area). We had an MC (me) and a program, so that generally eliminates any restaurant that's open to the public.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM - Response #6

Everyone - Thanks! I know it was a semi-rant.

Ronna, great idea. I do not disagree. Free (or dinner at your own cost) is always a fantastic idea. However, our alum were given options - first, I asked how much they would like to spend on the reunion and the majority answer was $50 and up. I also offered to provide financial assistance to those who wanted to come but could not afford to do so. I even offered a payment plan if requested. However, it bugs me when people criticize about the cost of an event but never put in 1 minute of their time or ideas into our reunion. In fact, they never showed an interest. I realize $50 is not cheap - and believe you me, I do not make 6 figures and considering we are only 10 years out of high school, most of us are not that lucky to be able to do so yet - but it would be nice for people to offer suggestions about other venue options, other food options, other entertainment options instead of sitting back, not saying anything and complaining. If everyone voted to spend $15 then fine - we'd find a local bar/restaurant, meet there and everyone could pay for their own - but that was not what the majority of the alum wanted to do or suggested we do.

Anyway, for those who have had multiple reunions, how did you all pass the reigns and what each of you did in turning over the planning to someone else? Did you ask everyone to submit a name or what? Take a vote?

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 2:22 PM - Response #7

I should have added that the restaurant that we used is probably one of the three fanciest martini bars in our area of half a million people. We're talking outside duck pond, inside fireplace, water fountains, mirrored, glazed tiles, etc.

And because they ARE so successful they're not so stupid as to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak.

Poor economy or not, they recognized a marketing opportunity when they saw one. If you live in a country not hit by economic hardtimes, don't mentally trash-talk your own "power" you have with a restaurant by bringing in a hundred or more extra customers. No forward-thinking restaurant will EVER dismiss that opportunity. Don't short-change what YOU have to offer that venue.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 5:29 PM - Response #8

After reading all of your posts, I just had to add my 2 cents...we are planning our 30th reunion for next summer. We haven't had a reunion since our 20th and most classmates had lost touch since then until Facebook and Classcreator within this past year is bringing us back together! Our class only began the website in June after countless times of one particular classmate of mine asking a few people (and buggin me) to help take on this endeaver, I decided to do the website all by myself in hopes of stirring up interest. At first I felt very alone...response was slow in the beginning, but then once the word got out, it has taken off! We have almost 30% of our class found in just 3 1/2 months!!! After asking for help, we got a handful of people to come together. Our school has a traditional Friday night ice-breaker gathering at a local restaurant bar, Saturday night is always a more upscale venue at a hotel and then we conclude our weekend at a local park where a bar-b-que is catered. One major complaint is going to be the cost, it always is...we're hoping to keep it at $120/person for Sat. night with dinner and drinks. Sunday is $15/person, $25/family. Friday night is on your own. In today's economy, this is going to be a shock to everyone, but there is just no way to bring the cost down. We are located in Alex. VA outside of DC (Old Town). I feel so sorry for you all that have people complaining of $50 a ticket. I wish we could offer that price, but, I can say this...since just a handful of people came forward with just under a year to plan, we had to make decisions based on many things and if people want to complain, then they need to step up and take charge of it. Wow, I sound like I'm a soapbox. I guess what I really wanted to say is, you can't please everyone and just be happy with the people that do show up and have fun! After all, that's why we're all in this...because we care to keep in touch and have fun with people who shared our youth and make new friends along the way! As a final note, the class before us had a huge response to their website and just had their 30th reunion which was a huge success and we're hoping to follow in their footsteps!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7:27 PM - Response #9

Hi Mandy
To your initial question....
We are already planning our 50th reunion and we are having our 47th this year.
Our class year was 1962 and in 1972 we had our first event. It was very successful but at the same time a little awkward because we didn't know what we were doing.
We did reunions in 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2007 and like I said we are already planning our 5oth for 2012. We had another one in 2000 to celebrate the millenium. We also met in Las Vegas in 2004 because most of us were turning 60....why not? We are having one this October because we are all turning 65.
Amazingly the planning committee has remained virtually the same for all of this time. The leadership has differed but someone always sends out a memo to the same 10 folks and we go at it. The 10 are all hard workers, some are creative and some are brilliant in the planning skills....maybe luck but most of us believe that it is because the original group did it because we wanted to...and we still want to do it and the thanks we get is well worth the efforts. It's a labor of love!!
We vary the agenda each time not trying to out do the last one except for one thing.....get more classmates to attend. We challenge everyone to find classmates and have even offered prizes for finding classmates....nothing elaborate or expensive...just enough to keep the interest level up.
We always have our reunions on the same weekend. That way folks know well in advance when to reserve a spot on the calendar. We picked Columbus Day weekend in October.....not too hot ....not too cold.
This year we are charging $10/person to attend. This includes a Fri night cocktail party to welcome everyone. Sat night pot luck dinner with video hits from the 60's on DVDs and a 65th birthday cake. The committee is providing snacks, beer, wine and soda pop for the entire weekend. We are using a local hotel for HQ. Out of towners stay there, locals come there, our ballroom is free...simply because we are having people stay at the hotel. Nightly rates are $84.
Sorry for the long reply but the bottom line is:
DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE NEXT EVENT TOO MUCH... SOMEONE WILL GET THINGS STARTED. DON'T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT COST....SOME OF OUR BEST ONES HAVE BEEN CHEAP AS DIRT. AS EACH EVENT PASSES, SOLICIT FEEDBACK FROM ATTENDEES AND USE THOSE INPUTS TO KICK OFF DISCUSSIONS FOR THE NEXT EVENT.
Curly Harman
Baker High School Class of 1962
Columbus, Georgia

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:01 PM - Response #10

Hi Mandy,

You definetely can't please everyone and all of us administrators can vouch for that one! If you only have a few people complain that's not so bad. We charged only $10.00 a person for our 30th Class Reunion a few months ago and I actually had 2 classmates that said they weren't coming because if it was only $10.00, it must be a cheap reunion! WOW! We (the Committee) did to make sure as many classmates would come and due to the economy by lowering the price. We were able to lower the price since we were having the reunion both nights at a classmates newly finished barn. We had a bonfire the first night complete with a weiner and marshmallow roast. Saturday nights event was the big barn dance. We had a huge number both nights and they're still talking about it.

I am also the sole administrator and I started our website in January and we have almost 57% participation. I put a post class reunion survey up following the reunion and one of the questions was would you be willing to be a part of our class reunion committee (we already have 12) and I actually got 10 more volunteers that want to be on the committee for our next reunion. Take advantage of your survey to get volunteers. Use your poll to get ideas. We have decided to start having mini-reunions and are having our first one - a fall bonfire in October when the leaves are changing.

One more thing ~ at the reunion I got my first ever standing ovation and it was unanimous that they want me to continue the website as we are still averaging around 30 a day on here so I will remain the website administrator as I do love doing this. Keep visiting the Help Forums to get ideas. You are only as good as you put into it. I have put in hours of work on our site and it all was a labor of love and other classmates have given me so many great ideas.

Bottom line - I think you should keep up the site and use your survey to get other ideas and volunteers to help. Don't make any decisions until after the reunion becasue you may have a totally different outlook on it by then.


Good luck!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 11:59 PM - Response #11

Well, it certainly seems there are plenty of opinions out here is Classcreator land. I'll add mine. We live in what most would call a small town, although we are 3rd largest in MS. We have done the whole realm of reunion choices. First at a hotel, th3 20th in a small tennis club next at our old Junior High's renovated auditorium, a bar-b-que at a classmate's house with another classmate doing the cooking. Brunch in a friend's home, meet and great in our town's museum (local classmates providing food and drinks) that one was the cheapest ($10/person). We started having 5 year reunions after the 40th since so many "got lost" or passed away. This 45th reunion this year was $5/person and we started raising money at a drawing for donated gifts for our $50 - which we plan to be more costly. We started planning as soon as this year's was over. We asked, thanks to our website, what the class was willing to pay. Most said anything, they would start saving for it now. (I doubt too many follow through on that), but the point is - if they really want to come they mostly likely will start planning for it.
The others are right - you can't please everyone. Let them know early enough to save for it and most will come. We even told a couple of people privately not to worry about it - their's was paid for. Let them help with something so they are not embarrassed.
Lara

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