The level of esteem for the heads of a family is evident when, 105 years after their births, family members still gather to celebrate.
So it is with the Tema family, who have come from around the country every five years to commemorate the births of Peter and Caroline Tema. The tradition was an annual reunion birthday celebration until Peter passed several years ago at age 96; Caroline passed earlier, in her 80s.
This year the Tema family chose Cragun’s Conference & Golf Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd, Minnesota, to host their special quinquennial family reunion. According to the family, this year’s version was the greatest success.
Carol Tema Opheim and her nephew, Bob Tema, Jr., were primary planners of the three-day event attended by 45 Tema family members – 20 from Minnesota and 25 from other states.
Carol said, “One of the most remarkable things was the range of ages. We had Tema family members from four months to 80 years old. Most impressive was that Cragun’s professional meeting planners helped plan an event that was enjoyable for all ages.” Carol said they especially liked the easy access to everything, the beach, pools and the marina. Family members found Cragun’s to be a large resort with a homey, friendly family atmosphere – all in a “Minnesota Nice” environment. Cragun’s meeting coordinator, Tanya Sawyer, provided thoughtful planning that assured everyone would be in lodgings close to one another, either overlooking or located on the shore of Gull Lake. Some members stayed in adjacent cabins. Others were lodged in nearby lakeview rooms connected to the Main Lodge.
The reunion began with a Welcome Party Barbecue and Potluck Dinner Friday evening, outdoors along the lake near two of the Tema cabins. The dinner, planned by Carol and Tanya, featured a Hawaiian theme to reflect the years Peter and Caroline lived there. The highlight was Mai Tais prepared by the grandsons (assisted by Cragun’s bar staff), using Grandpa Tema’s traditional recipe.
“We really felt special when owners Dutch and Irma Cragun visited the party to welcome us to their resort and make sure things were going well,” Carol commented. “It made us feel the personal attention they put into our reunion.”
“The most fun was having a variety of events and activities that appealed to young and old alike,” said Carol. “Everyone loved having group activities in the warm, inviting atmosphere. Yet Cragun’s planned activities so people could still have fun on their own. They came up with just the right blend of time together and time alone,” Carol stated. The group went golfing, pontoon boating, swimming, fishing and had campfires on the beach. Cragun’s golf staff helped plan a complimentary family golf event on the Legacy Reversible 9-Hole, Par 3 Course. The 105th Tema Tours Open Championship, the family-fun tournament, awarded trophies at the evening buffet.
Saturday’s Reunion Buffet was the crowning event, hosted in Cragun’s Main Dining Room next to the deck overlooking Gull Lake. This was the event to celebrate Peter and Caroline, the Tema family and the golf awards banquet.
“From the first phone calls to the final planning points, we were treated cordially and respectfully,” Carol offered. “They handled all the details to make sure our needs were met. From the personal attention of Dutch and Irma Cragun, to the caring staff, everyone at Cragun’s made this a most memorable time for family bonding … We’ll be back for the next one, and hopefully sooner than another five years.”
Cragun’s Conference & Golf Resort in Brainerd, Minnesota, has been serving meeting needs since 1940.