Family Reunions Are Fun Again

Friday, June 26, 2015

By Meghan Wilcock

For some people, the phrase “family reunion” may trigger bad memories of sitting next to awkward distant cousins while eating shriveled hot dogs and lukewarm baked beans. To me, a family reunion is an exciting gathering with fun cousins, delicious food, and outdoor adventures. My favorite photos hanging on my parents’ walls are posed shots of us in matching t-shirts from a reunion in 2000. I was lucky to be an 8-year-old who hopped in her mom’s minivan, arrived at her cousin’s house, and was fed and entertained for a week. Now a few years older and disillusioned, I realize how much not-so-fun preparation must go into a family reunion. This realization made me exclaim “oh man that is perfect!” when I saw the Family Camp at Mount Snow suggested as a host for family reunions. 

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to participate in Family Camp’s inaugural weeks, mainly by attending some dinners and leading post-dinner activities. There were no shriveled hot dogs there—I gorged myself with rich veggie lasagna, gigantic, flavorful black bean burgers, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a seemingly endless supply of rolls. My vegetarian diet posed no problems—the chefs offer alternatives for any dietary restrictions! The best part was that no family members had to miss out on any fun; all of the delicious meals are prepared by Mount Snow chefs. They take care of clean up too, so there’s no excuse for mom, dad, or even dear Uncle Joe to skip a round of after-dinner volleyball. 

At my family reunion, my cousin put us up in her own home, let us camp in her yard, sent some of us to her neighbor’s, and the rest of the family stayed at a hotel 20 minutes away. It worked for us, but Family Camp has a much simpler option: Seasons Condos. These condos are fully equipped with all the comforts of home, and they’re in close proximity to each other and the Sundance Base Lodge, the Family Camp “home base.” No one has to worry about cleaning and reorganizing their home to make space for 20 cousins and there’s no need to call three different hotels to find the best rate for the whole family. Family Camp takes care of it all. 

Some of the best parts of my family reunion were the outdoor adventures we took together. When I saw the schedule for Family Camp, I was pleasantly surprised to notice a collection of similar activities. One of my favorites is time at the lake for swimming, boating, tubing, kayaking, and even stand-up paddle boarding. At dinner after the lake day, kids and parents talked about how they overcame their fears, learned new skills, and impressed each other with their strength and agility. Add these adventures to daily activities like hiking, mountain biking, arts and crafts, board games, movie nights, tie-dye, fishing, campfires and s’mores, and you have the best family reunion ever. I can say that because it sounds just like mine. But Family Camp has even more to offer—access to multiple pools, hot tubs, naturespa, Mount Snow Golf Club, and chairlift rides—there is something for every member of the family. Family Camp staff does the organizing, so your family reunion can have all of the fun without any stressful planning.

I realize with increasing frustration that our time together is being lost to our little screens. I cringe to think about today’s family reunions riddled with kids and parents plugged in and tuned out. I love the Family Camp motto “Unplug and Reconnect.” My dinners at Family Camp were spent getting to know the families and listening to them discuss how fun their days were. No one had a phone out—they were engaged with each other. After dinner, none of the kids curled up alone to text their friends; we all went out and played volleyball or hide-and-seek. One night I braided the girls’ hair and painted their nails, all while we talked and laughed. There is no militant enforcement of the no technology rule; it’s just strongly encouraged and as the week goes on, families realize how much more they experience when it’s not through their cell phone screen.  

Family Camp left me imagining how much fun my family would have there, and now I’m dreaming about all of the cousins from across the country getting together at Mount Snow to unplug and reconnect. If you’re planning a family reunion, stop stressing! Family Camp is all-inclusive and fully customizable, so they’ll take care of everything you want and need. Let the Family Camp at Mount Snow do the work while you and your family relax, explore, and enjoy your time together.

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