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This girl is so frustrated!

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 06/28/16 02:39 PM Views: 1994 Replies: 21
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 2:39 PM

I know people wait until the last minute and the final chapter of this saga may look entirely different, but we are 30 days out and my numbers for a 45th are WAAAY down! I've crunched numbers and we can pay for the minimum amount of food we can order, gratuity etc., but don't know if we will have any prizes. Have a fabulous CHEAP decorator that makes things out of nothing.

Some issues: We have some "on your own" things for people coming in early and so forth. I have local people coming to those and not to the paying events! I know one guy coming in to play golf with two classmates but he has not registered for the reunion! He's always been late though so the jury is out on him.

People more than ever are having to care for parents (my parents didn't have to by this age) that are living into their 90s. There are some who just don't want to come back because the town has deteriorated so much, and no one left to visit.

Any comments? I wonder if it's worth having a 50th (as we so want to)? After the 50th, we're done with reunions as we have known them. At least I'm retiring!

Denise

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 2:42 PM - Response #1

In my experience watching the reunions on the system, the 50th is the biggie and for some, the last big hurrah. My opinion would be yes, the 50th is worth planning. However, I will leave this question to the expert admins who may have had their 50th already to let you know their experience.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 2:48 PM - Response #2

I would have passed by the 45th and waited to have a big 50th, which is the one most would want to attend. But too late now. Wishing you luck on this.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 2:54 PM - Response #3

Our 50th was by far our biggest. The 45th is a good way to make sure your contacts are up to date. It isn't a biggie. But the 50th is the last big one. After that, most are just gatherings at a restaurant. But our class is probably going to have a 55th anyway. Go big on the 50th. Spare nothing.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 3:26 PM - Response #5

Maybe ditch spending for prizes. Our 45th was low-key. If you have time, call your classmates now and remind them you want to see them at your 45th. Some will be flattered you took the time. Definitely, the 50th is worth having. Our 50th was awesome - planning began 3 years in advance. I agree, spare no expense as long as you can pay your bills. Having generous Sponsors worked well.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 3:46 PM - Response #6

Thank you for your input. We need a bigger committee for 50. We had 6 and health issues happened (a heart transplant!) and now 3 of us are left. I'm exhausted. Several have made small donations. I know we're going to end up in the black, but we have always had $1500 seed money and we may not have that, so that's when I would ask for money. No I don't see prizes happening so that's a lot not to worry about.

I actually have been criticized that I do too much for the class between reunions. I got an unsigned letter. Who does that?

I think we should have a 50th but we must have a larger committee. Absolutely!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 3:52 PM - Response #7

We had a 40th in 2012 which was a huge success (thanks to Class Creator)! Many classmates re-connected which caused a few mini get-togethers to happen following the 40th. Several classmates who lived in FL even arranged a small week-end get-together in FL (2 years later) for anyone wanting to attend. We've also had get-togethers at local hang-outs (one was even attended by about 40 people). They were low-key events with very little planning - just shout-outs for anyone wanting to join an evening of food/conversation. We've had no talk of a 45th, but I'd imagine a 50th may happen. Good luck with your 45th, Denise! I don't think people care about prizes, just the friendship, and a 50th could be kept simple and cozy! Smile

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 4:29 PM - Response #8

We had very low attendance at our 45th. We went all out on planning for the 50th and we had a very large turnout and everyone had a great time reconnecting. We had been having reunions every 5 years, with attendance going down each one - until the 50th.

Having said that - at the 50th many people said "when will we do this again?" Easy for them to say. They said - don't wait until 55. One classmate suggested having a "Turning 70" party this year as most of our classmates turn 70 in 2016. We made plans - expecting turnout to be much less than the 50th. It is scheduled for 9/23 and we currently have only about 19 classmates registered and paid. I know many of them are latecomers but I really hope we pick up enough more to make it worthwhile.

It is always so much like pulling teeth that I think after this one - I am done. The amount of work involved plus the fact that everyone is getting older and less likely to travel.

I feel your pain but I would go for the 50th if I were you. For that one they will come out.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 5:40 PM - Response #9

Our 50th was great. We kept it casual, no prizes, no entertainment. We did give out small gift bags with 50 year reunion momentos. We could have left that out as well.

We had our 55year reunion last year - Group was invited to local museum on Friday afternoon; then Informal get together (no reservations, no private room) at a local watering hole at hotel (where most out-of-towners were staying )Friday evening. Saturday we had a buffet lunch cruise on local lake.

No Sunday plans. Left it open for travel and small groups.

It was great. No late night driving which was appreciated by all. No program, just plenty of time for visiting which is what was wanted. Only cost involved was for Saturday cruise.

Doubt that we will pursue another large scale reunion. Probably just a picnic at someone's home. Fortunately, we have a few who have the room.

We had a graduating class of 84; as of last reunion 76 were surviving. This year we have already lost 3 more.

Had a team of 3 people: one in charge of the cruise. He was in Texas and did all via email and phone. one for communications and hotel. She was in NC and did all via phone and email. She did have some help phoning classmates who are not on internet. One was in charge of coordinating museum visit. She was in MN which is our home state. We had no meetings.

I'm sure if we had a class of several hundred the chore would have been much greater.

Good luck, and JUST HAVE FUN!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 5:57 PM - Response #10

Venita Cronk wrote:

We had a graduating class of 84; as of last reunion 76 were surviving. This year we have already lost 3 more.

Had a team of 3 people: one in charge of the cruise. He was in Texas and did all via email and phone. one for communications and hotel. She was in NC and did all via phone and email. She did have some help phoning classmates who are not on internet. One was in charge of coordinating museum visit. She was in MN which is our home state. We had no meetings.

I'm sure if we had a class of several hundred the chore would have been much greater.

Our class was just under 450. But - like you - we have a few classmates who live locally and can host "mini-reunions" at their home in the summers. These are always a lot of fun.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 6:33 PM - Response #11

We had 639 graduate! Thanks for the ideas. I have always felt that the 50th WAS important but when I hear that ppl don't want to come back (it is hard, the town is not the same!), you don't know what to do.

We do get together monthly for lunch. Anyone is invited. We gab. We're all retiring now and it's one stable thing to look forward to.

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Edited 06/28/16 6:35 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 6:42 PM - Response #12

Don't get discouraged!

We've had good turnouts all along, but the 50th was awesome and so worth it.

BTW we have a reunion committee of over 20 and that's almost as much fun as the reunions. Our committee meetings (parties?) occur all along the years, we have at least 2 per year with more on the reunion years.

Key: get people who enjoy getting together for a potluck party and mesh well. We've all become good friends and I knew virtually none of them in high school, don't limit yourself to old friends. Half our committee had businesses (and are $ponsor$ as well).

A good part of our continuing success is a committee that looks forward to getting together. Oh yeah...we work well together too.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 7:17 PM - Response #13

We have had larger committees in the past and I know that it's important to "mesh," as you say. However, we've had people "move on" (some got offended by some stupid thing) and do other things. As soon as this is over, I am going to send out a survey for the 50th, figure out as much as I can what people want and then start actively recruiting people to commit to working. Now we know things happen, but I can start anyway. Shoot, I might not be here either, who knows? I think probably most of those who are responding here would say that their committee members commit, and they do as much as they can if they have health issues. My committee members just quit if anything else comes along. I really need to work on that!

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Friday, July 1, 2016 at 12:00 AM - Response #14

Several things come to mind:

We anticipate our 50 to be a big one as our 45th was moderately attended.

NOW, as far as worrying about the money, we offered a discount if the money was received 30 before the reunion [I recommend 'making it worth their while' to send money in early - not five or ten dollars. We learned this three reunions ago, when a lot of the funds were received just ten days before the reunion. We were NERVOUS! That won't happen again!

As far as committee members, ask for volunteers?

Also, we have had, in recent years, classmates from out of town, offer to help. There ARE some things they CAN do, and they are assigned items [see below].

You no doubt have a check list of things that need to be taken care of. We have used a large Excel spreadsheet that lists nearly everything, beginning with deciding on a date and reserving a venue, and ending with cleanup and returning borrowed items. Persons responsible for each line item were listed on it as well.

The list was color coded as work on the reunion progressed, everything started in red, marked yellow if in progress, and green if no other work needed to be done.

By doing the color coding, time was saved not having to read every line.

We have done surveys after each reunion, asking what they liked, what the did not, what they would like added, etc.

We start planning [VERY informally] a year out [less stress that way]. We have sent surveys out then as well. If an 'item' is requested from classmates, and it is something that the committee did not feel we wanted to bother with {say gift bags, donated items from local businesses [we are highly industrialized]}, etc, and a majority of the respondents wanted it, we asked for volunteers to handle that 'item.'


A little off topic, but reunion related: Last year, one classmate brought a PA system, and another brought her iPod with a TON of music we grew up with, playing the entire evening - no song was repeated. We also borrowed a projector and showed a HUGE slideshow of pictures from school, past reunions and other get togethers.

Best of luck to you and your committee!

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Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:34 AM - Response #15

We have pretty much done as you have. We start out 18 months in advance to research venues and firm those things up. We have a former DJ in the class that takes care of the music. One of our committee member's daughter works for a funeral home and made a slide show for us and will be available for purchase at a reasonable cost. We DO use an "early bird special" which has always been great! Honestly, we set our budget on that amount so those who pay later it's just gravy.

That is, based on a certain amount of attendance.....and that's what is down this year. I can see that people are on the web site and looking (probably to see who is coming) and I sent out my last reminder today. I am NOT pestering people. We are all responsible 63 year olds and if they say something like "No one called me" I'll be tempted to bite my tongue not to say "Are you an adult yet?" (As if I have time to call people!)

We pay for this wonderful tool with Class Creator and will as long as I am alive...One of my best friends who I thought we had lost, found us by googling us! It can be done! I cannot wait to see him!!!

It will be all right. We have a reserve fund and the idea is to have a certain amount left for next time. Since in my thinking that 50th is going to be the last big thing, we don't need to leave as much after that.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 6:04 PM - Response #16

Denise- I feel your pain. I also have a few who won't pay for the dinner and just come to the bar get together on Friday night and/or show up AFTER dinner. (This I find particularly annoying). Really???! However we aren't going to change them. We are in process for our 50th right now and sent out invites 3 months in advance through class creator- no snail mail this year was unanimous committee decision . I must say I'm surprised at how many are willing to pay that far in advance and also quite a few of those haven't attended in 25 years or more (one has never attended) so I am expecting our usual 100 plus maybe another 25. We too have had many last minute reservations each time.

I agree with no prizes if attendance is that low. We are doing a gold swag bag for each classmate attending a la the Oscars - our colors are red and gold and our theme is "red and golden" but we built this into dinner price ($60) and at 45th we had a 50-50 raffle to pay for the website for next 5 years and winner donated his half back so we had a $300 slush fund to get started. We had a disc jockey make a cd of our high school years music with voiceovers of things about our high school and classmates. Really cool. $2.50 pp. then a classmate making a commemorative Christmas ornament $1 pp and a few other things. One person did a collage of sketches of our high school haunts, the HS building, mascot etc and this will be made into 4x6 framable card for each bag.

Also we have a page on website called class showcase. So we know we have some talent. We decided to take the 50-50 raffle a step farther this time and have additional raffle prizes of gifts donated by classmates. We are gathering gifts now. We have 2 matted and framed gorgeous photographs, a beautiful painting, a hand knitted scarf in school colors, some hand painted wine glasses and wine from a class wine maker we will pair together, a video by a classmate who is a filmmaker. The gifts are still coming in. We are trying to decide how to do this. My idea was to draw more tickets than just 50-50 but we want to display the gifts on a table so should we have silent auction? Should we have no 50-50 and just sell tickets to win these prizes? I'm thinking the first ticket drawn the person has choice of jackpot or any gift. Then next ticket chooses from what is remaining etc. that way people who win more likely to get what they want. I'd welcome any feedback on this from this group.

Meanwhile Denise, when we were in HS we had to each sell 10 boxes of DeMets turtles candy. At our 45th we had a local candy co make little commemorative boxes containing 2 turtles and our high school 45th reunion and date stamped in red and tied with gold ribbon. That was only prize. It cost us about $2 pp. so we didn't go big for that reunion like we are now at all.

Also we put donate button on checkout page and have collected about $300 thus far with only a few having registered so that's very encouraging. We plan to have a full sized cutout of our Monsignor who was principal in his red robes and hat and people can snap photos with him. Lol. Trying to really make this best reunion yet. We've lost 3 who were at 45th so I think people are starting to realize you can't keeping saying "next time".

Good Luck!!
Janie

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Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 7:43 PM - Response #17

Hello from NC. I love the life-sized cut out and turtle candy ideas.......Making notes for the committee I'm organizing for our 45th to be held in 2018.

Wanted to share 2 experiences from a 60th birthday party/reunion held in 2015 for my Class of '73 classmates/ and/or our 40th reunion held in 2013.

At our 40th reunion - we announced (via our CC website) that we would be selling raffle tickets at the event for a chance to win a custom built cornhole set. And as you can guess - the design on the set was our school mascot and colors. The set was custom built by a classmate - who only charged us for the materials. Of the over 150 guests at our 40th event - 95% of folks purchased tickets. We made hundreds of $$$ to go towards future events.

At the 2015 60th birthday party for our class,we wanted a 'free' event.. We were fortunate enough to host the event at the lake front property/home of a classmate (lake is located in our town) . We had no food costs to worry about, as we hired a food truck vendor (who happened to have been in the '72 class of our school - and knew lots of the guests) (the food truck was a huge hit) We also had a classmate who months leading up to our June 2015 event video taped 'interviews' with a dozen or more classmates - and put together a wonderful hour long video, including great music from the 70s. He included a memorial for our classmates whose lives were too short. The video was played on an outdoor big screen at the lake party------it was absolutely the highlight of the evening. I'm attaching the YouTube video in the event readers are interested. It's been 13 months since our lake party - and folks are still talking about it. This might give readers an idea to do something similar.

*In spite of the video being uploaded to YouTube - a lot of our classmates wanted to purchase copies. We sold them for $10, and then donated proceeds to The Shepherds Center, in honor of our classmate who opened up their lake property and home for our event.


'73 Eagles Turn 60 video (2015) (If the link doesn't work for some reason - I can send via email to any requestor)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfCRSxuQTw

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Edited 07/03/16 7:45 PM
Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 7:53 PM - Response #18

I watched some of the video and assure you I will watch the rest. It looks like it's going to be awesome! I think one thing I/we need to do is ask ppl who have some talent, knowledge to come forward. That hasn't happened in the past, so I need to push harder. It is time for ppl to help, as they are able. We don't have anyone with a big house, and we are talking about the same sized class. That's what it is. But there may be other connections. Thanks for writing!

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Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 8:32 PM - Response #19

Someone recently shared this on Facebook............I am currently talking to some of the artistic types from my '73 class to see if we can pull together something like thing for our 45th, or 50th reunion. Very Happy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JD4xgqTz7w

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Friday, May 19, 2017 at 9:11 PM - Response #20

This link works for me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JD4xgqTz7w

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Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 4:34 PM - Response #21

This is inspiring: originally posted in NY Times
https://youtu.be/_k-MH5soP0E

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