My Daughter Got A New Puppy 4 Month Old Birthday How to Play Together and Stay Together (PTST): 5 Strategies for Reunions

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How to Play Together and Stay Together (PTST): 5 Strategies for Reunions

Happy Connect Wednesday! It’s been a few weeks since I connected with you and I have to say that I miss talking to you. However, the good thing about being connected is that we always have a chance to reconnect with each other. Yesterday I contacted a friend of mine I hadn’t spoken to in many months. However, because we were friends, our conversation fell into place as if we had just spoken to each other yesterday!

How many of you have friends, family members, and maybe even former classmates or colleagues that you’ve lost touch with? I’m sure you have at least one person you’d like to reconnect with. Well, for the next 5 weeks I’m going to share 5 simple strategies on how to build, maintain and strengthen any group relationship! Basically, I’m going to teach you “How to Play Together and Stay Together” (PTST)!

Strategy #1: Get it together!
“80% percent of life’s satisfaction comes from meaningful relationships” B. Tracy

The first step to learning how to PTST with any group is to first JOIN! Now this may seem pretty obvious, but it is also the most difficult of the 5 strategies to accomplish. Why? Because unfortunately free time is no longer something that is valued. Society, as a whole, does not see the need or importance of having free time in their lives.

Reunions are simply leisure events simply to allow everyone to “reunite” or “get together” after being apart for a period of time. Getting together or reuniting should be a priority and not an afterthought!

So you need to SCHEDULE a recurring event (monthly, annually, and bi-annually) so you can “check in” WITH THEM. If it’s been a year, two years or even 10 years since you last saw each other, then it’s time to catch up! Many things have happened to you, your family and friends. This is the perfect time to update everyone on those celebrations! Reunions can help individuals balance their lives and help us achieve a better quality of life. So step up and take on the role of GROUP CONNECTOR and get everyone together regularly so you can interact socially WITH THEM, improve communication WITH THEM and have fun WITH THEM!

Strategy #2: PLAY!
“It’s better to play than to do nothing.” ~ Confucius

The second strategy for PTSD is to PLAY! Now I’m sure most of you are thinking this is a juvenile strategy. However, PLAY is not nonsense, but a very serious concept. PLAY is essential to human existence! Think of your best childhood memories – I bet you were playing!

A very positive characteristic of the game is that it has the ability to create order. PLAY has its own rules. With this seriousness and order it is natural and rules are established. As a result, the most important characteristic of PLAY is that it has the power to separate itself from ordinary life. So during PLAY you can forget about everyday worries: bills, deadlines and schedules. You can enjoy your set 100% without the distractions of life.

Because PLAY has its own rules, it is able to break down barriers. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 80 years old – the game can bring you closer and create understanding. Recreation, or PLAY, enhances the overall well-being of all participants, regardless of the activity. Through organized activity, personal goals for health, relationship building, and individual growth and learning are created and maintained.

How many other reunions or gatherings have you attended that were just plain boring? Nothing to do but eat and maybe talk? Have you stepped outside of your familiar group and talked to any new people? Did you think you could have saved money and travel time because you could have done the same thing while staying at home? Bottom line: PLAY makes reunions more interesting!

Strategy #3: GET INVOLVED!
“You can find out more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” ~ Plato

We have learned that to play together and stay together (PTST) we need to #1-JOIN and then add #2-PLAY. These two strategies provide a wonderful opportunity for the next strategy to come to fruition. Strategy #3 is INCLUDE! Involvement is an active action. It requires work on your part as an individual member of your group. You have to get into the game on purpose! So why is it that some people can easily jump on and others have a hard time getting off a park bench? It is not that one person is more social than the other, or that one is less willing than the other. The reason why some members get involved and others don’t has to do with one thing – motivation!

There is a psychological basis for engaging in leisure activities – otherwise known as motivation. The reason we get up and participate (or not participate) is because we are either intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated in leisure and recreation. If you are intrinsically motivated, then there is something inside of you that drives you to get involved. For example, achievements that are driven by a sense of mastery, competence, or self-determination are intrinsically driven. Extrinsic motivation, however, is when external factors such as prizes or opportunities are the main reason for participating in leisure. So what drives you to get involved?

Strategy #4: FLOW!
“The ego drops. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inexorably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is engaged and you are using your abilities to the fullest.” ~Csikszentmihalyi

Strategy #4 is FLOW! There must be a marriage between the strategies. Just like in a marriage there should be a committed relationship between #2-PLAY and #3-INCLUSIVE! Hungarian professor of psychology Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced bird-sent-me-high-ee-mouthful right?), writes about the idea of ​​FLOW in “Flow Theory”. FLOW is defined as “being fully engaged in an activity for its own sake.” It is a state of consciousness where you are completely absorbed in what you are doing. All other thoughts or emotions are excluded. During FLOW, time can either stand still or time can move extremely fast. Your group should have such a good time they won’t want the reunion to end!

To promote FLOW, there should also be a balance of skills and challenges in each activity. If the challenges are too high, people may feel a form of anxiety, and if the challenges are too low, some people may experience boredom. Each activity should include a level of creativity, challenge and happiness for all members. So avoid scheduling a chess tournament if only one family member knows the rules. Make sure your games or activities during PLAY reflect a balance so that everyone wants to GET INVOLVED!

So why is strategy #4 important in a reunion? Well, FLOW has the power to free someone from fear or failure and replace it with a sense of empowerment and now that we have incorporated PLAY into our reunion participants will be able to take feelings of personal satisfaction while engaging. We PLAY to have fun…but we also PLAY to win!

So we’ve talked about the importance of strategies #1-Join, #2-Play, #3-Inclusion, and #4-Flow. Keep them in mind as you plan for each generation (if more than one) represented at your reunion. Provide the right activities to match the skill level of the participants and challenge them enough so that they do their best to win! Everyone should walk away feeling like a winner! Those who experience FLOW will seek it again. You want to make sure they know they can experience it at your annual reunion again and again and again!

#5-Stay together!
“Win together, lose together, play together, stay together.” ~Debra Mancuso

The strategies provided have been developed to help you and ATA build, strengthen and maintain your relationship through reunions. Strategies 1-4 allow everyone to come together, reconnect, have fun, and live in the moment as we build memories with those who matter most.

The ultimate strategy for learning how to PTST is #5- STAYING TOGETHER! Unfortunately, this step is often lost at the end of reunions. After the last hot dog is eaten and the last game is played, everyone disperses and goes back to their busy lives. Lives filled with responsibilities that leave little or no room to maintain the bonds that PSTS has helped you and THEM build.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but out of sight doesn’t have to be out of mind, and you don’t have to wait until the next reunion to connect with those you care about. There are many ways to stay together, or connected, without doing it physically. Thanks to continuous improvements in technology. It’s easier than ever to stay connected to our demanding lives. Here are 6 tips to help you and THEM stay connected until the next reunion:

1. Group Website: Hosting a family website is a great way to share information. Members can post pictures and announcements throughout the year. How wonderful would it be to be able to share in the precious moments in each other’s lives? Share small victories, graduations, new arrivals and weddings with YOU throughout the year.

2. Group Newsletter: Whether printed or electronic, a newsletter is another convenient way to stay connected. Groups can even outsource this task. Get THEM to submit information they find newsworthy and have a professional compile the information and send it out as a newsletter.

3. Group Emails: Make sure you get the email addresses before you leave the reunion. Don’t be afraid to send them a note letting them know you’re thinking of them. Email is another good way to stay in touch with little or no effort.

4. Social Media: Create a Facebook group page—make it exclusive for NOW. Twitter is also a good option. Start following people you know, love and admire.

5. Mini reunions: plan a little trip or get together with those who live nearby that you might not see often. You may not be able to gather hundreds of people, but you can bring a smaller group of them together for fun and leisure.

And, for the non-tech-savvy:

6. Pick up the phone: In the age of online media, email and texting we sometimes forget about those who are not tech savvy. Call one of them.

Recreation and leisure are essential in building strong communities. Leisure aims to empower the community and its members. So, after all the hard work of JOINING, PLAYING, INCLUDING, and being in FLOW, you mustn’t forget that you did it all for the greater result – which is to stay together. So promise yourself that you will stay connected WITH THEM throughout the year. Most importantly, don’t forget to save the date for next year’s reunion: There’s nothing better than looking forward to seeing them again.

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