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Memories and Missed Opportunities

March 1st, 2017

Rarely do I write blogs that talk overtly about what we do, and ever rarer do I recommend anyone to hire us. As a former staff member of ours would say, “it is way too pitchy.” That being said, a recent conversation nudged me to write this, so I ask your indulgence just this once.

Recently, a very good friend of mine was recalling an experience she had at her child’s family weekend at college. Things didn’t go as she had planned or hoped. Giving credit where it is due, the school did do some things very well. They sent quite a bit of information to parents beforehand including meal vouchers in every packet, along with a lot of information on what was happening and where it was located on campus. She looked through all the information and made mental plans for the weekend. She and her husband had flown quite a distance to the school, and they did appreciate the fact that, as they went to baggage claim, there were electronic signs welcoming all the families to Winter Family Weekend. On campus there was more signage and banners and every registered guest had not only an individual name tag but it also stated their student’s name or who they were a guest of. They had even created a downloadable app with additional information. However, shortly after her arrival things went a little south.

One of the things that piqued the interest of my friend, her son, and some of his friends was an Escape Room the first night. At registration, she asked if they needed reservations or if there was an additional sign up. She was informed that there was not and was instructed to “just show up.” The event was between 6–9 PM that night, so they made their way to the location around 5:30 with a plan of doing the Escape Room and then heading to dinner. When they got to the location there were a lot of people milling about, but seemingly no one in charge and no structure. There was a long line at the information desk so off she went to investigate. She was disappointed to be told that she did, in fact, need reservations and that they only had 2 slots left at 7:20 and 8:40. She put her name in for the 7:20 slot and went back to talk to the group about hanging around until then or simply skipping it altogether. Set up next to the Escape Room were 3 sets of Cornhole Boards, so the group decided to play a few games to kill some time. In the end, they decided to skip the room and head to dinner so the students could get back to campus at a reasonable hour for some of the things their residence hall had planned.

In listening to her tell her story, I couldn’t help but think that here is where the school missed a big opportunity. Nevermind the incorrect information being handed out or the lack of any clear direction; there were a significant number of families that had come to this particular event, yet there was not one opportunity to take photos. Needless to say, I was surprised to hear this. In the fall, Fun Enterprises’ schedule is jam packed with homecomings and family weekends. On a busy Saturday in September and October we can do anywhere from 10 to 15 of these weekends and our most popular programs are photo programs.

When you go to many, or dare I even say most, people’s homes the walls, refrigerator, and staircases are often full of family photos. In our house, when you walk around, you will see a variety of pictures in different sizes and shapes all over the place. You can, in fact, watch our kids grow up right before your eyes. Rarely do people come into our house and not notice or comment on the pictures. Family weekends and homecoming weekends are a great opportunity to capture those moments and memories and let people take them home with them. After all, how often do you have these occasions or chances to be with your child once they go off to college? We all know how quickly things changes with roommates and friends, so these opportunities are truly priceless.

Colleges aren’t the only place that people have those opportunities either; there are business and social functions that would benefit from providing opportunities to make those memories as well. For most significant social occasions people usually hire a photographer to capture those special times for the celebrants or honorees, but what about the guests? At some of these events, you are bringing people together that haven’t seen one another in decades. As people get busy and get older these opportunities may not present themselves as frequently or as easily as they once did. Once an opportunity has passed, in all likelihood it is gone forever. Believe it or not the same is true of business events. Sometimes we forget that our co-workers can and do become a second family and our lives are intertwined.

As I wander around my house, I see pictures of our kids as infants and it doesn’t seem that long ago, but I know it is. I love seeing the changes in them, from little boys to young men. From playing on the swing set in the backyard to playing on a baseball diamond in Georgia. So remember, at your next event make sure that there is some opportunity for your guests, your attendees, your employees or family members to make and take home a memory. Don’t miss another opportunity to make memories!