Reunion Help

Are you planning a reunion or other special gathering?  Need help?  Here will be placed some “How To” suggestions and a list of local contacts and resources.  Send me the dates of your reunion and I’ll post them in prominent places on this site also.

Rick Miers-Class of 1969

NEED HELP PLANNING?

REUNION PLANNING SUGGESTIONS

From the Class of 1969, here are some ideas/suggestions that we hope you find helpful.

Place your reunion information on the Alumni Calendar.  It can be found on this site or just drop me an email and I will be happy to do it for you.  Rick

 

GETTING STARTED

 

Class officers shouldn’t feel they need to organize a reunion on their own.  Our class reunions are organized by locals who weren’t necessarily class officers.

When starting out, a few things that should be done right away.  First, choose a bank and open a savings account (when you have some $$) and add at least 2 reunion committee names to it, for depositing and withdrawing.

 The next thing is to develop a data base (Excel or Access work well).  I believe we got a list from the high school when we first started and of course it had parents’ addresses but I’m guessing this might no longer be available.  The point is you need some sort of list in order to start.  On the data base we included first name, last name with married name, address, home/cell numbers, email address, and a contact that most likely will always know your whereabouts.  From this data base lists can be made and if you use snail mail, address labels can be made. 

Then if you plan on producing a booklet and invitations, we suggest figuring out who will do the printing.  We have been fortunate all these years to have a committee member who had a print shop (Artcraft Printing)  

Planning the reunion often turns into a series of social events.  We found that the anticipation during work sessions was as much fun as the actual reunion.  Our committee actually tries to get together a couple times a year, even when we are not planning an event.

With the advent of digital media, people don’t have to be local to be on the reunion committee.  This isn’t always true but the more that are included, the greater the result.  The only important prerequisite is the willingness to work on the task.  If offering to complete a task, it is important to follow through.

Graduation was not a prerequisite for an invitation to our reunions.  We were careful to invite all classmates (grade school-junior high-high school) and not just those who graduated with us.  Some classmates had moved away or joined the service, but still considered Rock Island to be their home.

Many people have a fear of returning to a reunion and not being recognized or not being made to feel welcome.  We have made a conscious effort to make sure that everyone is acknowledged.  If classmates attend a reunion and leave feeling like strangers, they probably won’t be back a second time.  It helps to have bubbly committee people at the check-in.

I’m not sure of earlier reunions (5-10 year) but later on in our reunion years we have issued an open invitation, inviting the classes one year ahead and behind to at least one of the nights.  Most of us had classes, etc. with under/upper classmates and many of them wouldn’t “crash” a reunion that wasn’t theirs if they weren’t formally invited.

When using “snail mail” to send out our 35th reunion invitations, we wrote personal notes on invitation envelopes.  We got a large number of positive responses by doing something so simple.  A personal touch is always a good thing.  It brought a smile to many faces and encouraged several to attend, some for the very first time.

 

 

USING DIGITAL SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

This may be obvious information that has already been utilized, but here goes.

There are many sites to help locate classmates.  Some require membership at a cost, and although they can be useful, they aren’t absolutely necessary.

Many classes start their own class Facebook pages.  Currently, this is the most useful tool and it’s simple to use.  CLASS OF ’69 FACEBOOK PAGE

The Rock Island High School Alumni Online Community obviously has its own site and reunion notices can be posted and updated here.

Also on the Alumni Site, you can start your own class website.  The school district will host your site if you don’t use other servers.  Contact the Technology Department for help setting up your site.   We use WordPress to post our information.  It’s fairly easy to use and versatile.

We posted a number of things on our site we thought helpful in promoting our reunions.  A “Look Who’s Coming to the Reunion” listing and pictures of past gatherings seemed to get positive responses.  We photo collections, a list of “missing classmates”, and a memorial page.  Class of ’69 website

 

ORGANIZATION

There are a number of options in organizing activities for your reunion.

We have found that informal gatherings are better attended than elaborate affairs.  They are usually less expensive and most people don’t attend reunions for the food.  Simple and casual is usually better…light hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and music usually constitute the essentials.  

For our 35th reunion, we had a silent auction that raised money for our class to use for future gatherings and a class gift to the “Rock”.   If you have someone or a committee who is good at getting donations, this might be worth the effort.

The high school football program will sell old Rocky football helmets that can no longer be used.  The helmets are totally refurbished and sold to us for approximately $25.  They make great raffle items…contact the head coach for details.  We had a couple committee members put on aprons and walk around selling raffle tickets, selling one ticket for $1 and six for $5.

We also have poster boards around the room. These make for great mingling and conversing. One of the boards had newspaper articles that someone local had acquired for the last 5 years. Another one had photos, etc. from our past birthday parties.

We also had two visuals going.  One was old photos, etc. from grade school, junior high and high school, and the other was a remembrance of lost classmates. These were produced by different committee members and were very well received and appreciated.

Local events should be considered when scheduling your reunion. Bix Weekend is big and hotel/motel accommodations are usually harder to find.  Some reunions coordinate their reunions with QC events, however.

 

 

SAMPLE REUNION ITINERARY

Past reunions have used some, but not all of the following activities:

FRIDAY                       

Afternoon – Golf Outing

If in the fall – Football Game…contact the Athletic Department for recognition and special seating.

Informal gathering at local establishment after the game

SATURDAY

Tour of RIHS – these are usually scheduled no earlier than 9:00 and no later than 11:00.  Class reunions requesting tours of the high school should contact the high school office at 309-793-5950 ext. 2001 for more information.

 

Golf Outing – Picnic

Bus Tour of Rock Island

Saturday night gathering…often the larger of the two

SUNDAY                       

Family Picnic


 

RESOURCES
We hope that reunion organizers would strongly consider using facilities in Rock Island/Milan for their activities, however we don’t want to be overly parochial in this resource page.  Below are websites that most would find helpful in planning their reunions.

Rock Island resources (LiveRI.com)

Here are some individual sites that submitted information:

Rooster’s Sports Bar & Grill

The Stern Center

City Limits Facebook link

The Abbey Station

Huckleberry’s

Blue Cat

Milan Lanes/Skinny Legs BBQ

Legends (corner of 7th Ave & 30th St) 309.283.7628  Facebook link

The Rock Island Conservation Club

 Icons Martini

Quad Cities resources (visitquadcities.com)

PDF’s of Parks & Shelters and Reception & Banquet Facilities may also be of help to reunion organizers:

Parks & Shelters

Reception & Banquet Facilities