Archive for the ‘Seasonal Ideas’ Category

A Family Reunion Treasure Hunt – “A Fun For All”

February 5, 2010

Searching For Treasure and Sharing Stories – A Perfect Combination

An adventure guaranteed  to capture the attention and the imagination of ALL ages.

Many years ago (more than I care to count) when I was in high school, we’d take turns hosting a Friday night party. We’d divide up into teams and write some fun clues. Next we would spend an hour hiding the clues around town. We’d spend a couple of hours engaged in the challenge of a timed treasure hunt.

I remember our team getting one very difficult clue that was almost impossible to retrieve. The clue had been secured to the minute hand of a large lighted clock on a billboard facing a very busy highway. Climbing up the ladder to the clock face was easy but embarrassing because everyone traveling on the busy highway could see us standing there waving a broom around in front of the clock.  We hoped we’d be able get the clue down before the cops arrived. 

The problem was the clue was placed on the minute hand at about 8:30 PM. We arrived at 9:00 PM when the hand was straight up. So we had to wait until 9:15 PM and had to acquire the assistance of a broom to “wipe” off the clue from the minute hand.  Our treasure hunts were some of our favorite party activities.

Let’s morph the key elements of  my high school treasure hunt into a family history treasure hunt. Here are a few of the positive things you will accomplish with the tried and proven activity from our past:

  • Divide up into teams – a great way to mix everyone up so they have to get to know each other.
  • Provide a challenging competition to keep things interesting and motivating.
  • Each clue leads to a family history site – farm, home, country store, swimin’ pond, grandpa’s secret fishing hole, or other locations with a historical significance to the family.
  • Continue the challenge by hiding clues at the desired location in an old can or other rustic hiding place.
  • Station one of the older relatives at each clue site to share a “live” rendition of a family history event or story that occurred there.
  • Honor older relatives by allowing them to participate and get to know the younger generation as they share stories and experiences at each clue site.
  • Make family history real and tangible by visiting actual locations.
  • Encrypt each clue so it incorporates an aspect of family history that adds some interest, mystery, intrigue or humor.
  • Use old maps, GPS coordinates and /or car navigation systems to add a challenge that involves the assistance of the technology geeks (teenagers).
  • Provide some nice prizes since everyone should win something with a “reunion” significance.

I can’t think of a better way to help everyone become better acquainted with their past family heritage and living relatives.

Please make sure the captain of each team is an adult and/or  responsible driver.

Refer to my free newsletters for more information about using a global Positioning System (GPS).

You can do this! There’s no need to stress if you are not technology savvy. Enlist the help of the younger generation. Their involvement and support will assure the success of this fun activity for all ages.

Do a Google search of the word “Geocache” for more information about high technology treasure hunts.  

Heritage Collector Pro software can assist you with the printing of maps and help with GPS coordinates.

 Let’s all have some fun and go on a treasure hunt at the next family reunion!

A Family History Quilt

February 4, 2010

A Fun Idea For Your Next Family Reunion

Reunions are about family – remembering past and celebrating the present.  A successful reunion helps us renew family associations and introduces our kids to their cousins, older relatives and ancestors.  

Each year we struggle with the same challenge – finding new ways to associate a name a face and history. A few years ago we solved this problem with a quilt. Yes, you read correctly, I said a QUILT.  Not just any old quilt – a family history quilt.  

Baadsgaard Family Reunion Quilt

Baadsgaard Family Reunion Quilt


A few months prior to the reunion, material was purchased, a pattern and color scheme decided, and quilt blocks were cut out.  

I volunteered to find and enhance the photos. Next I took each photo into Photoshop to add curved text of the names, birth, and death date of each relative. I used my color inkjet printer to create t-shirt transfers. Not for t-shirts but for quilt blocks.  

I had stressful visions of scorching and ironing wrinkles onto the quilt blocks. I was most relieved when my wife volunteered to iron the transfers onto the large white quilt blocks. She was careful to select a smooth cloth (broadcloth) so the transfers would be clear and easy to read. She experimented on the first one and then turned each t-shirt transfer into a mini history masterpiece.  

Each block was delivered to another relative to be sewn into the quilt.  

It was gratifying to see the tremendous interest generated by the Baadsgaard Family History Quilt. The quilt was drapped over a quilt stand strategically positioned next to the podium where the program was delivered.  

The final event is always a raffle to acquire funds to cover the expenses and gifts for the next reunion. Several relatives purchased multiple tickets to improve their odds of winning which greatly enlarged the family reunion fund.  

Now’s the time to talk and plan with your family reunion organization about making a family history quilt.  

Try it – you will like it!