By Dan Smoker
Director of Development
How many of you out there have large families? I would have to raise my hand for this. While my immediate family isn’t huge, my parents had 20 siblings combined, meaning I had a plethora of cousins to play with when I was younger. Large families are great. Connected large families are even better, but that is difficult when the family is spread over 10 states and two countries.
How we overcome that is with a triennial reunion. This year was my mom’s side of the family’s reunion. The family (12 siblings!) splits the duties every 3 years among four geographical regions. We were “in charge” this year. As you can imagine, with more than 100 people attending, it is quite the undertaking! We are fortunate that e-mail is now on our side, but even e-mailing all of these details makes for a full inbox! This is where CX.com came in. I made a group for the reunion about 6 months ago, and it became where people would go for any and all reunion details. One “invite” email was sent, and it was that easy — all of the siblings, their children and grandchildren could easily register and choose to be notified via e-mail whenever anything was added.
We held this year’s event at a large park in Ohio with tons of local attractions. I was able to upload maps, directions, etc, to help everyone in planning out their trips. Another file was created for housing options, again with an easy title that even the older aunts could easily locate. ☺ As the reunion neared, we sent an e-mail to all registered users asking them to bring photos from years past when my grandparents were still alive to compile for the reunion.
The weekend finally arrived, and so did everyone, safely and to the right place, thanks to the maps and directions folder. We were inundated with wonderful old photos of reunions past, Christmases, and so many other family events from the last few decades. Many out-of-date hairstyles, clothes styles and younger versions of ourselves passed through our hands. I quickly scanned them onto my computer and got them uploaded to CX.com via the handy desktop sync app. The highlight for many of us from the weekend was a slideshow we put together for Saturday evening, which wouldn’t have been possible without the folders option on CX that was easily accessible and usable. And now all of those old photos are available for everyone to access at any time. What a great tool!
Once the last goodbye’s were said, we all went home to our different states (countries, for some!) The younger of us cousins, with our “fancy” digital cameras and smartphones, uploaded pictures directly to the site, allowing us all to see the different points of view from throughout the weekend.
All in all, CX made the reunion so much easier to coordinate and orchestrate. I even got some of my antiquated little Auntie’s to sign up (quite a feat for Mennonite women like them!) I know my family appreciates how easy it is to use, whether uploading photos or documents, storing personal documents, chatting online, or whatever else they may need/use, it is the epitome of user-friendly. We are already planning for the next reunion in 2015…on CX.com, of course!