Do you need to inject some life into your next family reunion? You might want to try adding an “Amazing Race” element. In today’s guest post, Ann Jeppson, shares ideas that you could adapt for your next family adventure.
by Ann Jeppson
My father’s family has lived in Lehi, Utah for four generations, so we have a lot of family history that is connected to the town. We wanted the younger generations to feel a connection to that heritage. Making a race out of the “learning experience” seemed like a fun way to do it. We called it “AMAZING RACE LEHI.”
We decided upon six locations around town for the teams to visit. We divided into six teams and sent each team to start at a different place with clues that would lead them to each location. We ended the race at the cemetery where most of the people we had been learning about were buried.
The direction clues were in the form of poems like this one for the final leg of the race that ended at the cemetery:
When at last we leave this life
Along with those before,
We’ll find a place among the rest
And the race will end, for sure.
Not great works of poetry, but they got the clue across. We also put in a cross street reference at the end for those who were not familiar with how to get to the places they were seeking.
As the teams raced to their next location, they had a story to read. Here is one of the stories they read as the drove around what would have been the perimeter of the Fort in Lehi:
For reasons unknown, James and Charlotte Gough moved out of the confines of the Fort in 1867. They purchased property (about 10 acres) near State Street. Their first home was a “dugout” which was made simply by digging into the side of the hill, shoring up the ceiling, and boarding up the front.
The location is approximately on the NE corner of 600 North and Center Street. About 10 to 15 feet square with dirt floors and walls – must have been really cozy. Grandma Charlotte Gough records that they used pumpkins for furniture.
Once, a family friend came by the dugout for a visit just before returning to England on a mission. Grandma Charlotte Gough begged him not to tell her mother about their pumpkin furniture.
While living there they began making adobe bricks to build a house on the north part of their property along State Street. The adobe pits were located between 300 and 500 west just north of where the current railroad tracks run.
Along with a family story about the location or the people who had been there, each stop had a challenge.
At the end of the race, we gave each family a copy of the stories they had read about and did some rubbings at the cemetery.
For the most part, it was successful. It was a lot of prep work to coordinate the teams and have a challenge ready at each station. The day was incredibly hot so it was uncomfortable. Getting children in and out of the cars at the locations became a chore. I am not sure how either of these could be changed since the sites were all over the area. Everyone seemed to enjoy it though!
Thank you Ann, for sharing about your fun reunion. What creative ways have you incorporated family history in your family reunion?