Van Horn High School
Class Reunion Hints

Reunions are no more than a party with a little 'reunion oriented' planning.  Here is a simple list of things to remember and handle.  Start early because many times resources are booked well in advance of events (as much as a year or more in some cases).

A.  Coordinator/Reunion Committee needs to be folks that can donate time and resources to the effort.  It does take a lot of work.
     1.  Set up a bank account to handle the reunion funds.
          a.  Establish how the checks should be made out and put that in the documentation that you send classmates.
          b.  Keep an accounting of all money taken in and spent so that you can conveniently report it to the rest of the committee.
          c.  Establishing a merchant charge account is not practical for such a small endeavor but it's nice if one of the committee people has a business already and can run the funds through their merchant account.  Decide if you can do this and say so in the documentation.
     2.  Either set up a PO Box or have a predetermined address that the committee will use for ALL mailing info.
     3.  Contact points such as the mailing address and phone numbers must be publicly available so plan for that.
     4.  In our modern age a fax (fax number) is a must and someone should have Internet access and an established email address for that part of the efforts.

B.  Reunion Location 
     1.  Big enough for group coming?
     2.  Is liquor and/or liquor permit a consideration?
          a.  Beer can be on a 'donation' basis and that seems to cover the expense or you can just buy the stuff.
          b.  Remember that drinking is not a part of everyone's life.
          c.  All liquor may have to be served by the establishment where you are having the reunion.
     3.  Smoking... remember that non-smoking is the word of the day and you may run some folks off if it allows smoking inside the building.
     4.  Is it a 'public place' and will those that are not part of the reunion affect it?
     5.  Many factors affect class reunions that are 'family' oriented and plans must be made to entertain the children that come.  Some reunions have an evening out and a second day with family oriented them.
     6.  Don't forget furniture.  Is it furnished?  How much do you need?
     7.  Parking?  Security?  Keep these in mind if need be.

C.  Classmates lists
     1.  Sources for current addresses are previous reunion committees, the Internet, friends and other classmates.
     2.  Graduation lists come from the yearbook, commencement flyers, and possibly the school district (you won't get addresses from the school district usually).
     3.  Internet resources and web pages that are readily available for contact points.
          A. www.switchboard.com Search by name and by phone number.  Many times spouses are listed.
          B. www.ussearch.com  Correct name, middle name, basic location. (Note: $64.90 for unlimited 48 hour search to get details of basic address.  Contact them.)
          C. www.usps.com/zip4 is the way to get accurate addresses if you have a basic address.
     4.  Updates on line for those that use the Internet.

D.  Announcing the reunion
     1.  Radio spots.
     2.  Newspaper community news spots.
          a.  US Newspaper List
     3.  Web pages with details of reunion.
     4.  Mailings
          a.  Initial mailing to classmates.
          b.  Follow up post card is a nice addition a couple of weeks before the event.  Postcards come in three standard sizes, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, and 5-1/2 x 8-1/2. They are commonly printed on 100# card stock.
          c. Postcard and Stamped Card Rates
             1.  Postcard (commercially sold) $0.23
             2.  Stamped card (sold by USPS) 0.25
             3.  Postcard Rate Dimensions:
Minimum: 3-1/2 inches high by 5 inches long by 0.007 inch thick.
Maximum: 4-1/4 inches high by 6 inches long by 0.016 inch thick.
Postcards over the maximum height or length for the card rate are charged regular First-Class Mail rates.

E.  Cost factors
     1.  How much are you going to spend?
     2.  What are you going to provide and what will not be provided?
     3.  List what you'll have to buy and get some cost estimates.
          a.  Nametags, badge holders, printing, database, black marking pens for name badges that are written at reunion.
          b.  Postage, other mailing expenses.
          c.  Printing including copying, paper, toner, etc.
          d.  Phone charges for contacting classmates, etc.

F.  At the reunion...
     1.  Name tags should have graduation name and a picture if possible.  People don't have a clue in many cases what a classmate looks like now and they will need the association of the old name and picture.  Printing should be big enough to read conveniently.  Avery Labelpro will assist you in producing these name tags and is quite easy to use.  You should plan some time to scan in the classmate pictures from a yearbook if you don't already have a database set up.
     2.  Forms for folks to pick up and mail in with updated information on classmates.
     3.  Cash bars are nice and convenient for folks that drink.  They upset folks that don't drink.  'Everyone' doesn't drink!  My belief is that provisions should be made for soft drinks, etc. that are not part of a cash bar.
     4.  Food should be something that is easy to deal with and if catered be sure to determine exactly what they are going to provide at what cost.
     5.  Pictures say a lot and plans should be made for a photographer to catch everyone together in group photos.  A camera can be set up for classmates to stand in front of and 'make a statement', etc.

G.  Entertainment
     1.  Live band, DJ and other entertainment are possibilities.
     2.  Don't forget to involve the classmates in the entertainment.
     3.  It is also my feeling that the entertainment is not the focus of the event and therefore can take a back seat to the visiting.
     4.  Remember that folks are at the reunion to visit with old friends... not so much to 'party'.  Turning 'down' the lights makes it hard to read the name badges and see just who it is that is there and who you are talking too.  In a normal party the down turned lights would be 'romantic', etc.
     5.  An interesting offering to reduce the cost of music presentation is this class reunion music offering: www.topsongs.net/classreunionmusic.htm  I personally have not yet used them but will be giving them a call.

H.  And here's an option to not mess with any of the above...
Hire one of the professional reunion handlers and you're relieved of most of the work that it requires to set up a reunion.
     1.  Class Act Reunions, PO Box 25063, Shawnee Mission, KS 66225, (913) 851-4244, (800) 747-8766
Email: careunion@everestkc.net   (Contact Bill Creason)
     2.  A Reunion With Class, PO Box 2150, Lee's Summit, MO 64063, (816) 510-7821
Email: areunion@msn.com   (Contact Diane Ferguson)
     3.  An Event with Class, PO Box 28312, Gladstone, Missouri, 64188, (816) 455-5549
Email: alum@aneventwithclass.com  (Contact Jesse A Hernandez)
Website: www.aneventwithclass.com
     4.  www.reunions.com is the information page for the National Association of Reunion Managers.  It is another good resource page...

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