Recently, I’ve been working on plans for the Gerig reunion. Reminder emails have gone out, number of people have been tallied, and I’m really excited it’s coming together! I have reserved the campground… We need at least 5 tents, and right now we have four (not including us, as we aren’t sure if I’ll feel well enough to camp or not). It’s not like we’ll get kicked out if we don’t have enough tents, but I had to pay for minimum of 5 so I’ll just be out the money. :-( But that’s okay.
Allow me to ramble a little. I feel like explaining my thoughts. :-)
I’ve had people wonder why I push for camping for the Gerig reunion, since not everyone likes it or has the equipment for it. It’s not because I love to camp. I mean, I do love it, but I’m also a fan of mattresses and sleeping raised off the floor, and indoor plumbing and electricity. :-) All are good things in my book. No, my reasons for wanting to camp for the Gerig reunion are much more selfish.
The thing is, we are coming from a long distance usually. Since our friends are mostly in or near Indiana, it only makes sense for us to be the ones to travel. If I’m going to drive 10+ hours one way, I’d really like to see everyone for more than only a few hours. :-) I prefer more one-on-one time, so I tend to break off with one or two people when I find myself in a group situation, which means if I only have 4 hours then I don’t really get to see everyone.
The alternative: spending the weekend together. Then we get 15-20 hours together throughout the course of the weekend. Because we’re also setting up tents, cooking food, walking together to the restrooms, etc. it’s not just idle chit-chat time. I don’t really know Sara well, but last year she was headed to the campground store to get some cups for hot chocolate. I offered to walk with her, and we ended up having a nice conversation which I really enjoyed. And, if I get fed up with people, I can retreat to my tent or somewhere else and get some time by myself without feeling like I’m wasting precious moments. Perhaps it’s because I AM so far away from my Taylor friends for the rest of the year, that I appreciate the moments I have with them even more.
Also, another reason for camping is that it’s close enough for (most) people to come, but far enough away that they won’t be as tempted to just “come for the day”. If we camped in, say, Indy, I could see a lot of people saying “Well, I live 20 minutes away, so I’ll just save my money and stop by on Saturday.” I mean, I would do that! (Except that my love for camping would probably supersede my desire to save money or go for the more convenient option.)
Those are my reasons for wanting to invite everyone to a weekend away, versus just a party on Saturday. In order to get this type of thing, there are a few choices:
* Everyone rent a hotel room/cabin/whatever – the most expensive option, and since most of us are still just starting out, we don’t have that kind of money
* Someone with a really big house that everyone can stay for the whole weekend – I don’t think anyone in our group has a house like that
* Camping – the most cost-effective option, hence the one we go with
There are problems with the camping option, i.e. the rustic-ness and the fact that you need equipment. Not everyone is cut out for or enjoys camping. And especially if you have kids – I don’t know this firsthand, but my guess is kids make camping much more difficult. To be honest, I have always known we’d only be able to camp for the reunion for a few years before interest would fade and we’d have to do a Saturday-only thing. My selfish reasons are causing me to hang onto it as long as possible, but I know I need to admit defeat before I lose everyone. :-)
So, perhaps next year we’ll start looking at other options. Maybe we can come up with something that will allow us to hang out over a span of three-ish days, while still meeting the needs of everyone else.
Here’s my dream one day. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to do it – if it’s even allowed. But wouldn’t it be totally awesome to hold the reunion one year at Gerig Hall? Do it one summer – we stay in the dorms, make our meals in the kitchen, hang out in the lounge, just like old times! Couples can share a room, families can use the other rooms in the suite for the kids. Wouldn’t it be fun? Ah well, a girl can dream!
What about you? Have you successfully been able to hold an annual get-together with out-of-state friends? Am I unrealistic in my desires? Is there a happy medium?