Family reunion news How to organize your reunion

How to Organize your Reunion
Reunion News
YMCA of the ROCKIES–Estes park
Summer 2013
In This Issue
Special Event Opportunities.......2
Helpful Tips From Our
Conference Coordinators............3
What to Expect on Arrival...........4
Our International Program..........5
Billing Information......................6
Our Family Reunion
Conference Staff ........................7
Family Reunion University..........9
Photos by Dill
Our conference staff is here to help!
To book your reunion: 800-777-9622
If you have a reservation: 970-586-3341, x1021
Special Event
Getting the entire family together can be
challenging at times, so when you do, you
want to make sure to take advantage of
every opportunity.
The YMCA of the Rockies has plenty of lodging
choices, beautiful outdoor spaces, activities
and catering to offer you when you plan a
reunion with us. Whether you are celebrating
a birthday, anniversary, wedding, birth, or
remembering those who have passed, we can
help make your celebration
one to remember.
It is with great joy that we welcome you to the Estes Park
Center – YMCA of the Rockies. We are honored that you
have chosen us to host your reunion. I am sure you are
excited and perhaps a bit overwhelmed about your family
reunion. You are in good hands — it’s not difficult to put
a family reunion together— it’s a simple puzzle really—
not one of those puzzles with 1,000 pieces. Putting a
family reunion puzzle together is more like putting a
puzzle together of the United States; you know where
all the pieces go — you just have to find them. My hope
is that with the enclosed ideas and tips, we will help you
assemble the puzzle.
We are so excited that you remarkable people have
chosen the YMCA of the Rockies for your family reunion.
You are the flag bearers, the stewards, the story tellers
of your family. By planning the family reunion you are
adding to the family legacy. You made, or helped make
the decision to bring everyone together. You are the
authors of your family’s story and we are proud to be a
part of that story.
Have a wonderful time at your family reunion this
summer. Let us help with the details so that you can
spend your time sharing the stories of your family.
Want to have a day where
you celebrate everyone’s
birthday from the past year?
Need a special anniversary
cake? Let our baker bake
up a special cake for your
celebration. Love ice cream?
Let us help you plan an
ice cream social where the entire family can
gather together and celebrate.
The perfect place
to say “I do!”
The YMCA of the Rockies can
make this family celebration
a special one. We offer both
indoor and outdoor wedding
sites with spectacular
mountain back drops. Your
reception and catering can
be arranged in a formal reception room, or
in a less formal location like a family cabin or
meeting space. Our chapel sites can also be
used for vow renewals and memorial services.
Summer Cookouts
What better way to get a family together than
outside at a delicious evening barbecue with
great Rocky Mountain views! Our cookouts are
offered Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights
at the Upper Cookout Pavilion. Reservations
are required and fill up fast, so book early.
John Breed
Conference Director
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 No matter what your family wants to
celebrate, we are here to help. Please
contact our Conference Coordinators at
970-586-3341, x1021. 2
Helpful tips from
our conference
Whether it’s your family’s first time
here or your 31st time, there are
countless new experiences to be
had at YMCA of the Rockies!
These tips can drive participation
and make your reunion more fun!
1. Celebrate Milestones
Once the Conference Office receives
your contract, we will send you
a welcome letter and our Group
Planning Guide. This guide is
chock-full of important information
about planning your upcoming reunion. It is essential
for the group leader to read through the guide in its entirety
and follow the group timetable.
Plan around a special date. Important
birthdays, a 50th anniversary, acknowledge
graduations, births, baptisms, christenings
and marriages.
2. Build in Expenses
Group leaders should build in the cost of
postage, special events, treats, etc. This way,
participants aren’t constantly asked for more
money. If there is extra money left over, you
can always throw a pizza party, offer root beer
floats or put it towards the next reunion.
Planning Guide Forms
If your group is staying in lodge rooms, a meeting room is
included in your rates. If your group is staying in a reunion
cabin, meeting rooms are not provided. If space is available
one may be rented. You can find the Meeting Room &
Equipment Request Form on page 5 of the guide. This form
covers the setup type as well as any additional equipment
that you may need. All tables and chairs are included with
the use of the room, but these rooms are empty so you need
to tell us what you need! To reserve audio visual equipment
such as a speaker system or karaoke machine for a family
talent show, please complete the Audio Visual Equipment
Request Form on page 6. If your group is staying in a cabin
and would like to rent any of our equipment, please do! If we
have availability, we will deliver the requested items to you.
If your group would like to have any snacks or refreshments
during said talent show, you can order them. On page 8 of
the Planning Guide is a list of various à la carte items and
snack/meal packages. If you’d like to have an ice cream
social or popcorn with a movie, all you need to do is tell us
how many people and when, we’ll do the rest. Will people be
hiking or shopping and have to miss a meal? No worries! We
have an option for a sack breakfast, lunch or dinner which
would replace the missed meal from your meal plan. Simply
let the conference office know by 12 PM the day prior.
The Room Roster Form is one of the most important forms
to submit. We need to know the names and numbers of
individuals in each room for several reasons. One reason is
for your safety and in case of an emergency so our operators
can get a message to you. Another important reason is to
be as accurate as possible for billing. Our system charges
per person and if this information is not accurate your billing
process could be delayed.
Any group that makes purchases from the YMCA of the
Rockies must complete the tax affidavit and declare their tax
status. An original of the affidavit on Page 7 of the Planning
3. Programs and Activities
We can contact the program department to
help you plan some great activities. How about
icebreakers on the first night? Family campfires,
hayrides, guided hikes, zip line, or craft
sessions are also available.
4. Invite non-related family
Neighborhood families you grew up with and
friends are all additions that can add great
value and fun stories to the reunion.
5. Delegate Tasks
Find and use the hidden talents of family
members to help you make your reunion run
smoothly. For example, the accountant can
figure out the money; the sales person can
make phone calls; assign a social media
savvy participant to set up a Facebook page,
family blog or newsletter and upload details
and photos.
6. Have a memorial service
Our chaplains would be happy to help you
with a special service for family members who
have passed away.
Continued on page 4
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 3
How to Avoid Delays Upon Check-in
By the time you arrive, the conference department should have all your information
and billing agreement. If you have set up your contract through our online
reservation system, you will NOT need to provide us with a room roster. Each
member of your party should have made their own reservation and been assigned
a room.
A Room Roster Form is required if you have set up your contract where you are
responsible for your entire party’s room assignments and everything will be paid on
ONE master bill, OR you are responsible for all room assignments and then each
person will pay for his/her own bill. If we have not received this form, we will need
a list of all members of your party along with the room numbers that you have
assigned to them BEFORE we can check you in and give you your room keys.
Why is your Room Roster Form important?
What to
expect On
Check-in begins at 3 PM and
can be as late as 6 PM. When
you arrive please check-in at
Guest Registration located in
the Administration Building.
• If you are on a meal plan, we need to know the exact number of meal tickets to
issue you and make arrangements with food service.
• The accuracy of your bill depends on the number of people you have in each room.
• In case of an emergency we need to know who is where so we can
contact them quickly. We also need to be able to contact individuals in your group
in case your family or friends are trying to reach you.
Please let us know if most of your party will have their own cars or if there is a bus
that will remain on grounds during your stay. It is also important for us to know if
the majority of your party is taking a shuttle service from the airport to Estes Park
Center. The reason we ask this is for your safety in case of an emergency.
Billing Verification and room keys
We will review and verify your billing option with you at check-in. Most family
reunions do not fall under tax-exempt status, but if yours does we must have your
completed and signed tax-exempt affidavit at check-in.
Estes Park Center can
accommodate up to
5,000 guests every night.
We offer:
• 9 lodges
(totaling 602 rooms)
• 10 reunion cabins
(ranging from 5 to 17
bedrooms per cabin)
When all members of your party have checked in, you will receive two keys per room
(additional keys can be supplied with advance notice.) You will also receive a map of
the grounds, a program activity bulletin and
an evaluation form. If you need additional copies of these pieces please let us know.
Check-out time is 10 AM at Guest Registration in the Administration Building. Full
payment is required at the time of departure. We accept cash, personal checks,
travelers checks, MasterCard, VISA, Discover and AMEX. We also accept multiple
forms of payment (ie: 2 checks, 3 credit cards, etc.) All guests are welcome to stay
on the property and use our facilities for the remainder of the day.
Helpful Tips Continued from page 3
Guide workbook must be completed, signed and submitted prior to check-in for each visit.
Special requests for rooms, i.e. handicap accessibility, stairs, and mobility issues are also important to know as soon as
possible. In our office we try very hard to keep blocks of rooms together, while keeping in mind these special needs.
It is very important to read through the Planning Guide well in advance of your group’s arrival. If you see something
you’re interested in, return the form as soon as possible since space and availability are limited. If the forms are not
pertinent to your group’s needs, then don’t worry, we’ll let you know what we need from you. The Planning Guide was
created to assist you with your planning, to answer questions and to help you host the most memorable and meaningful
family reunion possible. We look forward to working with you, answering your questions and learning about you and
your family!
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 4
YMCA of the Rockies
The last two words in the YMCA of the
Rockies’ Mission Statement are “for all.”
“Life at the Y has opened my eyes.
They taught me how to be more
responsible, to care about others
by listening and being patient, to
help others when they need help
and to share the joy of life every
day and everywhere.”
- Fallou, Senegal
“I had the privilege of meeting
donors, board members and senior
volunteers ... If it wasn’t for them I
believe my stay would not have been
so wonderful. The care and love
they showed was beyond anything I
had ever seen.”
- Melissa, South America
The YMCA of the Rockies
International Program was
designed to provide opportunities
for people of all nationalities,
cultures and religions to learn
about American culture and
practice the English language.
It enables our American staff
members and guests the
opportunity to build relationships
with people from around the
globe and strengthen their world
Through this program our staff
and guests interact and develop
a world perspective by breaking
down barriers and promoting
peace and mutual understanding.
Participants in the international
program gain programmatic,
administrative and communication
skills, returning home with
increased self-confidence and
the initiative to lead in their
Cultural exchange experiences
are provided through events such
as the International Fair, where
staff members set up displays in
the Administration Building and
talk to guests about their home
country. In August 2013 we will
also be hosting an International
Dinner for guests and staff where
the culinary treasures of each
country will be featured and
Our 2013 summer international
staff represents many countries.
For more information
Click here to visit us
FOR Youth Development
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 5
Billing Information
The YMCA of the Rockies offers three payment options. During your conversation with our Group Sales department your
contract will be customized to your group specifications and preferred payment option. When you have chosen which
billing option best suits your needs, please complete the Billing Information Agreement found on page 7 of the Group
Planning Guide, and return it to our Conference Department at least 3 weeks prior to your arrival. NO CHANGES CAN BE
MADE within three weeks of check-in or during your stay.
online reservation
If you choose the online reservation
option, each attendee will be
responsible for making his/her own
reservation and for any balance due
at the end of their stay. The deposit
for the room will also already be on
their reservation.
•Any charges that are made by
the individuals such as horseback
riding, craft fees, etc. will appear
on their reservation.
•Any charges made as a group; such
as refreshments, group activities,
cookouts, etc. will be charged to
the master reservation and are the
responsibility of the group leader.
•Please let us know if you want
any of your booking fee payments
applied to individual’s bills prior to
your arrival.
Group Leader Pays all
If you choose this option you as the
group leader will need to give us a
Room Roster Form in the Group
Planning Guide with the names of all
the people attending. You will be the
person responsible for payment of all
charges incurred during your stay. All
charges, including incidentals will be
itemized on your bill so you can see
the breakdown. As the group leader
you will be the only one required to
come to the Guest Registration Desk
to check-out.
NOTE: Reunion Cabins
If you have booked any of our reunion
cabins, you do not have a billing
option. All reunion cabins will be billed
as a unit price and the total charge
will be the responsibility of the group
leader. Unit price can not be split
amongst individual guests. If you
would like individuals to pay towards
the total, you will need to provide
the individual with the amount they
should pay. The individuals can then
come to the Guest Registration Desk
and ask to apply this amount to the
master invoice.
It is our goal to help make your stay as enjoyable as possible. If you have any
questions, please contact a Guest Registration Manager or Supervisor by
dialing x1007 from your room phone.
A Conference Office Representative is also available at x1021. The
Conference Office can answer billing questions or have an invoice prepared
for you in advance of your departure.
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 3
Group Leader Makes
reservations but
Individuals pay
If you choose this option the group
leader is responsible for giving us
a Room Roster Form in the
Group Planning Guide with all of
the names of your party and their
assigned rooms. It is very important
that we receive this 3 weeks prior
to your arrival.
•Attendees will be asked to checkin individually at the Guest
Registration Desk. If you, as the
group leader choose to receive
the keys for everyone, you will be
responsible for giving the correct
keys to each guest as stated. This
ensures that each individual’s bill
at the end of their stay will be
•Each attendee is responsible
for his/her own room charges
and incidentals, and will pay the
balance due at departure.
•Any additional charges made as a
group; such as refreshments, group
activities, cookouts, etc., will be
charged to the master reservation
and are the responsibility of the
group leader.
•Since we will not have billing
information for each attendee, you
as the leader will need to provide
us with addresses and phone
numbers for all attendees for safety
reasons. Please also let us know if
you would like any of your booking
fees to be applied to individual
•If we do not have this individual
billing information and one of
your attendees fails to pay the
balance upon departure, you as the
group leader will be responsible for
payment. 6
our family reunion
conference staff
John Breed
Conference Director
“I enjoy the varied
John’s family started coming to the YMCA
aspects of serving
of the Rockies in 1960, when he was four.
you as guests. ”
Almost every summer John’s family left
the heat of Southern Illinois and headed
west to the cool mountain air and relaxing
Administration Building porch. Over the summers, John worked
in just about every department at the YMCA of the Rockies. His
subsequent 30 year full-time career with the YMCA of the Rockies has
been with the Conference Office.
“I enjoy the varied aspects of serving you, our guests. It is challenging,
exciting, sometimes simple or subtle but always magnificent. Thank
you for the opportunity to be of service to your group. Outside of my
duties at the YMCA of the Rockies—I am a church organist at the local
Episcopal Church. I love to travel the world (with an affinity for France)
and I’m quite the railroad buff. I am also accused of knowing someone
everywhere, and of being a human GPS.”
Emily Herman
Events Coordinator
Our operators are on duty 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. If you need
assistance contacting a department dial
“0” from any on-grounds phone. If you
have an emergency situation, please
dial “222” from any on-grounds phone.
Copy and Fax Services
Copy and fax services are available at
the Guest Registration Desk.
Computers and printers are available at
no charge in the Administration Building
for printing boarding passes.
Personal Check Cashing
Personal checks can be cashed at the
Guest Registration Desk for up to
$100 with the proper ID.
“ Knowing that I get
to help bring people
together is what
makes coming to
work each day so
Emily has worked at the YMCA of the
Rockies since she graduated college
in 2008. She started as a seasonal
employee in our conference services
department and transferred to the
conference office in 2009. Emily works
with a wide range of large groups, families and weddings.
“My life can be described in three simple words­—faith, family and
friends. When I am not working I love to be outdoors, skiing, hiking,
camping or just reading a book. My faith is what drives me every day
to learn and grow. I love challenging myself to try new things and
stepping out of my comfort zone to see what I’m fully capable of.
Continued on page 8
WiFi is available in the Administration
Building during operating hours, and in
all lodges and the majority of reunion
An ATM is available in our Administration
Building for your convenience.
Post Office
There is a post office on-grounds
located below the Walnut Dining Room.
Summer hours: 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM.
We do have a Notary on staff. To
schedule an appointment please dial “0”
from any on-grounds phone.
From left to right: Dylan Starks, Starlin Dotson, Alison Ostman,
John Breed, Joni Fontaine, Janet Taylor, Emily Herman
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 7
Conference Staff Continued from page 7
Working with large groups, families and weddings is very
rewarding, I get to help people create memories and
experiences that they will carry with them for the rest of
their lives.”
Alison Ostman
Conference Coordinator
“I love meeting new
Alison has a degree in
people and hearing
Communication, and
why they love the
Outdoor Education and
YMCA of the Rockies
Recreation from the
so much! ”
University of Minnesota,
Duluth. She started
working for the YMCA of
the Rockies in 2007 as a Family Programmer and
currently works in the Conference Office.
“I’m originally from Minnesota where I grew up on the
water and loved spending time outdoors. I moved to
Colorado after graduating because it seemed to be
just the right fit—Colorado has it all! The people who
live here and vacation here are some of the nicest and
most caring people that I have ever met. Many of our
guests have been visiting here for generations and
hope to continue that tradition with their families and
organizations. Other groups are coming here for the first
time to experience the magic of
the Rockies.”
Starlin Dotson
Conference Coordinator
in Recreation and Parks Management. One thing that has
always stuck with me while working on my degree is my
professors reinforcing in us that as recreation majors ‘it is
our duty and goal to provide a great experience’. It is my
goal to provide group leaders and guests at the YMCA of
the Rockies with the best experience they can have.”
Joni Fontaine
Conference Coordinator
Joni helps YMCA guests with
event planning by answering
questions, acting as liaison
between departments and
being there for the many
questions that come up in
the process.
“ Family Reunions
are my favorite
because I have the
opportunity to meet
so many interesting
and fun people.”
“I am a Colorado native, love the outdoors and
serving others. Both my husband and I work at the Y and
feel very fortunate to be in such a wonderful environment
and to be able to share our outstanding facilities with
others. Family Reunions are my favorite because I
have the opportunity to meet so many interesting and
fun people and make their experience a smooth and
enjoyable one. I love to hear about the various family
traditions and, more often than not, the generations of
family history with the YMCA of the Rockies.”
“Please use our
tips to help you
with your family
gathering. ”
Starlin started working for the
YMCA organization in 2009,
he recently joined us here at the YMCA of the
Rockies in 2012. Starlin’s previous experiences with other
YMCAs help to make him great at customer service, and
conference and event planning.
“I am originally from Maryland where I earned my degree
Family Reunion News Summer 2013 8
Family Reunion
WhEn: Nov. 1–3, 2013
Where: Estes Park Center, CO
“The entire experience was so
beneficial. All materials were
well organized and clear.
Family Reunion University
helped us in our planning
process by providing us
with the ability to see
accommodations and food
first hand and talk to the
staff one on one.” – Karen
“We want our reunion to
be wonderful. This was
exactly what we needed.
So many possibilities! ”
– Joan
Join us for a fun weekend and learn easy reunion
planning tips from our expert staff!
Our Family Reunion University weekend includes:
Two nights lodging
Five buffet style meals
A tour of our reunion facilities
All your classes plus advice on custom programming,
the booking process and a Q & A session.
“ Family Reunion
University helped to
put the pieces of the
puzzle together.”
– Stan
Cost: $125 per participant
Reservations: 800-777-9622
by Dill
Family Reunion University graduate class