Winter Sports Meetups

While many of us are cursing the weather outside and opting to stay warm by the fire, we’re going to check out some Meetups that are doing just the opposite.  

There’s no such thing as winter blues for these dynamic Meetups — serving as a major inspiration for all to bundle up, get outside, and enjoy all that winter has to offer.

iceThe mountains are calling, and if you’re located in Alaska, this Meetup’s mountaineering exploits seem epic. In December, The Alaska Mountaineers took a trip to Echo Bend for ice climbing that involved fording freezing rivers and climbing waterfalls (one member did it in crocs!) 

Who doesn’t want to start off their Monday at work by saying, “well this weekend, when I was ice climbing in Alaska…”?

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Experience Manitoba! Women’s Outdoor Adventure Meetup is living the dream by hosting 
dog sledding Meetups.  

Let’s be honest, screaming “mush” and watching a team of adorable dogs in their element sounds like a great way to spend a weekend with new friends.

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If you’re looking for something a little more chill, perhaps ice fishing is your thing. In Colorado, the Patriot Anglers Meetup recently went on a high altitude search for tiger and brook trout amidst stunning natural backdrops.

This Meetup group provides wonderful opportunities to fish, connect, volunteer and provide support and outdoors activities to veterans, friends and their families. 

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Here are the Anglers enjoying a well-earned pint afterwards.

Meetups around the world are making the most of the winter weather, whether it’s creating the perfect snowman, sitting by the fire, skiing down some slopes, or strapping on a pair of snowshoes.

Just enter the word ‘Snow’ in the search box when looking for a Meetup near you to find your (snow) people too.

“…the thing about cancer is, it’s the club you didn’t want to join”

We host Organizer Lunches regularly at Meetup HQ. It’s a time for us to come together as a company and a community to share a meal and swap stories with local Meetup organizers.

At our most recent lunch, we met Mina Okpi who runs the Young Adult Cancer Collective in New York City, a Meetup group for Millenials with cancer. 

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She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2015, and her life changed overnight. Her health deteriorated, she felt isolated, and she withdrew from her friends. She sought out traditional support groups, but they were often in hospital settings, served an older age group, and did not meet her needs.

She knew something needed to change, “if you can’t get yourself out of bed every day, you are not going to do as well with your treatment.” So she started a Meetup specifically focused on Millenials, and found members who were going through the same sense of isolation from their healthy peers.

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Meetup of Meetups

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Aurelien (Left) and Bora (Right) organizers of Christmas Meetup Budapest 2015

I met Bora in 2014 when I was new to Meetup.

Meetup has meant a lot to us both personally and professionally. I run Skill Goulash and Bora runs the Budapest WordPress Meetup. We’ve learned a lot from each other over the years, and we now organize Meetups together.

Meetup brought us together in a meaningful way that changed our lives, so we decided that for Christmas this past year we would help people connect with each other just like it happened to us.

That’s how we got the idea of “Christmas Meetup of Meetups”, with the objective to gather all of the Meetup groups in Budapest together.

It was a huge success, even though it was our first time organizing this kind of Meetup. So we’ve created a guide so anyone can organize a Meetup of Meetups in their city.

Here’s how to spread the Meetup magic and foster great opportunities to connect with others in your hometown:

 Contact everyone

We wanted to gather everybody from the community, so we set about contacting every Meetup group in the city. Contacting organizers one-by-one took time, so we alerted Meetup HQ to our plan. They were able to help us speed up the process through the creation of an Organizer Meetup group.

Outreach was worth it. All those who answered were excited about the idea and helped us promote the project too.

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Why January Matters at Meetup

January is a very important time at Meetup. Think of all the folks you know making resolutions to get fit, volunteer more, spend time outdoors, take on a hobby, travel or write.

It’s a time for fresh starts for organizers and members alike.

With so many people joining Meetup in January, the tone you set for your Meetup group now will resonate throughout the year.  

The most important thing you can do is get a Meetup on the calendar in January. Now is the time to capitalize on that momentum. 

It‘s also a great time to give your Meetup a makeover and energize your existing membership. Here are a few key tips:

Dust off your Meetup group descriptionReflect on how your Meetup’s focus may have changed over time, and update your description accordingly. Tell your Meetup story, and make sure it’s clear who should join and what to expect from membership.

Also, make sure any offsite resources or images you’re featuring on your homepage are up to date.

Freshen up your topics: Topics play a key roll in attracting new members. They also affect how your Meetup group is listed on the site and indexed by search engines.

Make sure they accurately reflect your membership base so we can recommend your Meetups to people who are mostly likely to join your group.

Reach out to your members: Set intentions for the new year by sending a friendly note to members about your plans. Encourage members to invite a friend by sharing on their social networks or through the ‘Invite Friends’ tool.

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Photo from Sydney Social Kayaking, NYE Fireworks Paddle on Sydney Harbor Meetup

Set your Meetup group up for a great 2016!

And for those of you just joining us, where’ve you been? We have over 200,000 ways Meetup can make your life better in 2016.

Resolve to Meetup.

Chrismukkah Meetups

Seeing that we’re in between Hanukkah and Christmas, we thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase a Meetup celebrating the spirit of both holidays—a Chrismukkah Meetup. 

East Valley Board Games recently hosted their 2nd Annual Chrismukkah Gaming Meetup.

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This year they doubled the fun with an optional gift exchange coupled with a game their organizer, Felicity, made up on her own.

The RulesEach participating member had to write down three surprising facts about themselves, then throw them in a container. While gifts were exchanged, members took turns taking facts out of the container and guessing who’s who.

“The gift exchange was very fun!” Felicity said. “We learned that one of our members kissed Scott Baio at a Happy Days taping when she was 4 years old, and one of our members thought reindeers weren’t real until her mid-20s.”

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The Force Awakens on Meetup

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Credit: Chicago Jedi Meetup (a chapter of the Jedi Federation)

The holidays are approaching. While some people will be scrambling to find last-minute presents, many Meetuppers are taking time out together to travel to a galaxy far, far away — to celebrate the premiere of the newest installment of the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens!

We chatted with some Meetup groups to see what they had in store.  Lightsaber freeze mobs, costumed premiere outings, and trivia nights galore — this is just a taste of the many varied Meetups happening to celebrate this epic event.

Johann from Austin Geeks and Gamers writes: 

Movie nights have always been a staple of the “Austin Geeks and Gamers” Meetup calendar. We have gotten together this year to see Mad Max, Avengers, Ant-Man, Jurassic World, Fantastic Four, Terminator, The Martian, and a few other geeky movies already this year, usually in joint events with the “Dinner and a Movie” meetup group. So of course we have a movie night planned for Star Wars.”

They even themed their regular board game night.

Nerd HQ in Burnaby, BC have extensively prepared for the occasion by scheduling a series of Meetups to watch all of the Star Wars movies through the course of December, finally culminating in their main event watching the premiere together.

The Chicago Jedi Meetup (a chapter of the Jedi Federation) are attending  in full garb, that is, with robes and lightsabers (not to mention the force within). The following day, they have combined efforts with E.D.G.E. Theater to stage a lightsaber flash mob Meetup.

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Credit: The Maryland/Virginia Jedi Chapter 

This is a cross generational fantasy film premiere, and there are so many ways to celebrate this epic moment in movie history. Listen to your inner Jedi voice, and find a Meetup where you can awaken the force with true fans.

*co-authored by Sarah Cassidy and Lydia Kopecky, Community Specialists, and Jedi masters for life

Random Acts of Kindness

The holidays are a natural time for people to look for opportunities to give back to the community and provide support for others who are less-fortunate. Some Meetups are built for these activities all year-round. 

Random Acts of Kindness Volunteer Meetup in Dallas, Texas is one of those Meetup groups. Since 2007, it has had one simple mission:

“To bring hope and a ray of sunshine to those who perhaps may be in need of some…”

Over the past eight and a half years, they’ve hosted over 1,660 successful Meetups, and unlike some Meetups that go on hiatus during the holiday season, they’re more active than ever.

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For Thanksgiving, Random Acts joined forces with local organizations TangoTab and Mission Arlington to deliver free turkeys and hot meals to families in need.

This month they’re bringing together dozens of volunteers to help with Love for Kids, Texas’ largest holiday party for disadvantaged children.

For Christmas Eve, they’re teaming up with another local Meetup group called Volunteer Love  to support a mission to house 500 homeless men, women, and children in a hotel to celebrate Christmas Day in a safe place with clothing, gifts, and “lots of love”. 

The generous spirit of the holiday season is alive and well all across the Meetup ecosystem.

In fact, did you know that Random Acts of Kindness is not a completely random idea? It’s also a movement.

Find, start or organize a local Meetup group, and you may find many great opportunities to partner with organizations to support these wonderful and not so random initiatives, throughout the holiday season and beyond.

VegasHikers celebrate 10 years of Meetups

VegasHikers celebrated three magnificent Meetup milestones this past weekend: more than 10,000 members, over 5,000 successful Meetups, and 10 years of creating wonderful Meetup memories together.

Their anniversary picnic and party was a huge success thanks to the dedication, enthusiasm  and leadership of Alan Gegax, their Organizer.

Pictured below are four couples who met through the Meetup group showing (and wearing) their Meetup pride on their hearts and sleeves.

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“When people share a common interest, it creates a foundation upon which a powerful and lasting bond can be made. Meetup helps people who share those passions find each other, and come together in real life. My wife and I (second from left) met at a Meetup, as did every couple in this photo.”

– Alan Gegax, Organizer

Cheers to many more years of creating life changing experiences for you and your members.

Pardon the turkey – it’s world vegan month

November has thirty solid days of celebrations revolving around bravery, consumption, and facial hair.

Did you know it’s also World Vegan Month?

This Thanksgiving, as millions tune in to watch the pardoning of a single turkey, let’s learn how to live a poultry free life through the holidays (and beyond) with the Vegan Gents.

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Danny and Manny are a plant based cook and fitness instructor duo who host the Tampa Vegan and Plant-based Meetup to empower local vegans and vegan-curious to learn how to make delicious, healthy meals.

How they got started: “We were having a hard time finding a group that fit these standards: veganism, compassion, modernism…but most importantly, open-mindedness.”

How it works: “We offer more than a place to get together, we offer a place to have a healthy discussion and educate one another. A place where both vegans and vegan-curious can come together to learn, share and EAT, of course. We enjoy a hands-on approach. We believe that seeing, smelling and tasting play a major role in retaining information, so we try our best to incorporate all three senses into each Meetup.”

How they celebrate Thanksgiving: “Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. Being vegan only elevated our levels of creativity, forcing us to find new and inventive methods to make the feast happen. We start the day off with croissants and cheese (vegan, of course) served with mimosas, sparkling water and homemade jam. Then we turn on the stove and let the cooking begin. Danny and I are blessed to have a great support system of family members and friends with which to share this lifestyle, along with the great people we’ve met on our Meetup adventures.”

Danny and Manny, we’re so thankful for you. Is it too late to claim a seat at your table?

Meetup Spotlight: People’s Climate Movement Barcelona

As the capital of the Catalonia region, and the second largest city in Spain, Barcelona thrives as one of the world’s most captivating cities.

Between its vibrant architecture, its flavorful cuisine, and its dynamic culture, it’s no wonder that this Mediterranean city is home to over 50% of all Meetup groups in Spain.

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We recently had the opportunity to interview Yve Ramirez, co-organizer and founding member of the People’s Climate Movement Barcelona Meetup group which is a stand out within the Community & Environment category.

As its description states, it’s an “inclusive, horizontal, peaceful, creative & positive grassroots movement, coordinated by 350 BCN, a local action group from 350.org.” Their meetings range from movie screenings, to marches, to workshops on sustainability and Twitter discussions on the importance of climate action.

Meetup: Tell me about the mission of the People’s Climate Movement Barcelona.

Yve: Sure! This Meetup group is a part of 350.org, a global grassroots movement in over 188 countries. Our chapter is looking to propel a movement against climate change, starting with Barcelona, and working with our global partners to spread the mission around the planet. Through the Meetup group, we’ve been able to promote our activities and actions further than our usual membership. Our message relates to the reduction of CO2 emissions, and most importantly, the need for citizen actions in all levels to achieve a change in our global economic and social model.

Meetup: How long have you been the co-organizer of the People’s Climate Movement Barcelona Meetup group?

Yve: We created the group on November 8th, 2014 and I’ve been the co-organizer of the group ever since. So far, we’ve hosted 14 different Meetups, which may not seem like much, but we put a lot of effort into hosting events that are impactful and educational, which can often take a lot of planning.

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