Host an Unforgettable Family Reunion in the Lone Star State
"This is our 6th year here at Roddy Tree. Our annual Hill Country Vacation is a family tradition that started back in the 40's...memories we make here will last a lifetime."
The Brandt & Borski Families
"We are all here at the ranch for a reunion and birthday celebration of the Kirkpatrick family, we had six families and four generations, it was grandma’s 75th birthday… the kids loved to explore the ranch… there is something very special about the Texas hill country and in particular this Texas family vacation resort... the fresh air, beautiful blue sky, animals running free and the brightest stars at night... the Lord has blessed us beyond measure"
The Kirkpatrick Reunion
In 2000, Keith and I planned a surprise 50th anniversary party for my parents, Jim and Helen Gambrell. Not only did we pull off the surprise and have one of the best times of our lives, it was the closest we had ever come to having a family reunion, as our family is notoriously spread out across the world. Family and friends were able to make it from all parts of the world. Those memories are priceless, as most family reunions are.
I love having family reunions here at Roddy Tree Ranch, one of the best family vacation resorts in the Texas Hill Country. We can accommodate lodging for small to mid-size family reunions of up to approximately 100 people. Whether you are planning a large reunion or a smaller family party at Roddy Tree Ranch, there are some important things to consider. Setting up "team activities" for the group can make or break a reunion such as a killer volleyball match between the kids and the grownups. Many of our groups plan activities for everyone for a dual purpose; to help people get to know each other and to get folks young and old to get active and get outside. A great example of this was at Keith's maternal Barnes family reunion 12 years ago in Owasso, Oklahoma. The planners had everyone bring baby pictures that they put up on a huge bulletin board. A contest was held to see who could guess the identity of the most babies. The winner would receive a super special silver photo album with Pa and Grandma Barnes on the front of the cover. Jake and Cody, got busy; they came up with a strategy where they were able to trade the identity of their grandmother Dodo's baby picture for the other pictures, and they won by a landslide! They were ten and eight years old and didn't know a soul when they got there, but everyone knew them when they left. They still talk about that reunion with fond memories.
At the beginning of this article, I spoke about a very special party we threw for my parents, Jim and Helen, on their 50th anniversary. I gathered many of the old family and friend photos and scrapbooking supplies and started the first several pages. Over the course of the weekend, many people stopped by the house and put together a page or two. We would sit around talking about the photos, old times, relatives (long gone but not forgotten) while we cut, pasted, and created a fabulous memory scrapbook gift for my parents. It was a spontaneous effort of family and friends that we will always cherish and it tells the first 50 years of their story: What is that worth? Well it is priceless.
During a reunion, the family story is being told and should be passed down to the next generation. Telling the story is the most important element of a family reunion, and there are various ways you can try to accomplish this: You can help this process along by displaying all kinds of memorabilia, showing home movies, creating a collage, putting together scrapbooks, highlighting old photos, serving ethnic foods and playing music to reflect your heritage, putting up individual decorations, getting the elder family members to help fill in the family trees, and telling funny stories around the campfire to continue the family legacy that will inform and inspire the younger generation to continue the family tradition when it is their turn to plan the event and keep the family story going.
Many families have been having small and large family reunions here every year; some are coming up on their 12th year. Let me share some of the things with you that I have learned from them. Planning is the key to the success of a family reunion. As simple as this may seem, it's really important, and like my grandmother Allie Roddy used to say, planning makes perfect and you reap what you sew. The more planning that goes into the reunion, the more smoothly the reunion will come to pass. So Plan Early. I recommend starting a year ahead of time, but 6 months ahead will do in some cases. Of course, the most obvious reason is that the location must be scouted out and reserved. Summer is always the busiest season; so if you are flexible on your times, dates, and seasons, that will help and it could save you money. Another reason is that many people have to save money to travel to the reunion, and some have to reserve vacation time at work. Some family reunions do bake sales and other fundraisers to help out those family members who may need help getting to the reunion. Start enlisting volunteers from the start. Not only will you ease the burden on yourself, but you'll also allow other family members to feel needed and involved. The more involvement a family member has, the more they will buy into the reunion.
Here at Roddy Tree Ranch, although we are not in charge of your family reunion, we are very committed to helping out with the coordination of your celebration in any way possible; we want you to have many wonderful memories to take home with you. From the time you come to check out our place, decide on cabins for certain families, and make your reservations, to the time you leave, we will work with you and your family members. Feel free to take advantage of the many years of experience we have had working with the many families that come here year after year.
Here there are many activities that can be planned for the children, teenagers, and adults. Just use your imagination. They can be structured at certain times, or they can just be there for whoever wants to take advantage of them. They can enjoy washer pitching, volleyball, and basketball courts. They can visit the animals by the stable, feed the ducks, take a dip in one of the pools, or take the canoes or tubes for a cruise down the Guadalupe River. The pavilion is a popular meeting place for family reunions with the basketball court, jukebox, picnic tables and enclosed playground right across the road. There is also a second pool area with an enclosed playground for activities which is right next to the meeting room clubhouse. Make sure to talk to Keith about entertainment that is available, exclusive use of the enclosed pavilion and Lazy Days Canteen, the Clubhouse, the kitchen facilities, the campfire area, the stage, the fire pit for a bonfire, smores and hot chocolate, movie and karaoke night just to name a few.