Organizer Spotlight: Toronto Book and Brunch Club

Before she was a Meetup Organizer, Zuzana organized a book club with a group of family and friends. Instead of meeting at each others’ houses, Zuzana arranged for the group to meet at local brunch spots around Toronto. “I thought it would be fun to go around the city and try new spots,” she remembers. “Plus it alleviates the responsibility of someone having to cook for ten plus people.” The model was a hit, but after a while, she was disappointed to find the group’s attendance dropping off. “I was like, ‘you know what, screw them,’” she recalls with a giggle, “‘I’m just gonna take a leap of faith and start a group I think people will like.’” On January 6, 2013 Zuzana founded the Toronto Book and Brunch Club on Meetup. She christened her members ‘Brookies’.

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‘“It was freezing cold,” he recalled, “but I met 15 people and I was so surprised by how welcoming and how excited and curious and motivated toward photography they all were. I was like, ‘This is my world.’ And since then it has been.”’

- Dave Krugman on the Instagram Meetup that affirmed his passion for photography. Via The New York Times.

Interested in photography? Find a Meetup near you. And speaking of Instagram, check out Meetup’s here.

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Organizer Spotlight: Astoria Newbies

When Edina moved to New York’s Astoria neighborhood two years ago, she didn’t know anyone nearby. She was used to having neighborhood friends, and wanted to get to know her neighbors. Things came to a head when Edina read about an exciting Shakespeare performance happening in the park around the corner from her new home. She didn’t want to attend alone, so she started poking around on Meetup. There were a few Meetups in Astoria, but none of them were exactly what she was looking for. So she started her own, The Astoria Newbies. Before she knew it, Edina had five companions for that Shakespeare show.

These days, she has more than 1,200 members and dozens of regulars (including two people from that very first Meetup). Walking around Astoria, Edina finds herself running into friends and acquaintances from her Meetup around every corner.

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Organizer Spotlight, Father’s Day Edition: City Dads Group

Lance Somerfeld and Matt Schneider met when they were both teachers at the same Bronx, New York elementary school. They worked together for two years, teaching sixth grade by day and taking classes at night as they pursued Masters degrees in education. “We bonded,” recalls Lance. “We had a lot to share.”

When Matt’s wife gave birth to their first son, Matt opted to take the childcare leave of absence offered by their school, typically only accepted by mothers. “Matt was a trailblazer,” says Lance. “He took advantage of the policy and became the primary caregiver to his son.” Three years later, Lance and his wife welcomed a son of their own. “I took a leap of faith,” he remembers. “I thought: what better way to be a teacher than to my own son? I walked into the same principal’s office, and told him I was following in Matt’s footsteps to be a stay at home dad.”

By the fall of 2008, Lance’s son was a few months old, and his wife was heading back to work. Lance knew he needed a support network that extended beyond his baby boy. “I’m an extrovert,” he says. “I need a social network of guys I can lean on. I knew I wasn’t gonna have my wife to navigate each day with.” He looked around for a local dads group and came up empty handed. That’s when a friend from his neighborhood told him about Meetup. He broached the idea to Matt, and they decided to start a group of their own. The NYC Dads Group was born on November 24, 2008. Their first Meetup took place a few days later, at Big Daddy’s Diner on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

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Walking happily ever after

Heather Lynn Paladine and Edward Fredrick Berliner met through a walking Meetup. On Sunday, they took another walk – this time down the aisle!

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Photo courtesy of the New York Times

“I’m a shy person, and I certainly didn’t view the walk as a singles-type event where I would meet my life partner,” he said. “But she was intelligent and so easy to talk to. As we walked and talked, I never felt like I was being judged or evaluated.”

Check out the full story here. Congrats to the happy couple! Inspired to join a walking Meetup of your own? Find one near you. You never know where it might lead…