Nashville Hiking Meetup

Nashville Hiking Meetup

This February, the Nashville Hiking Meetup, accomplished a mammoth achievement: their 3,000th Meetup! How’d they do it? Organizer Kelly Stewart says, “Just like running a company, you have to create fantastic products–or events in our case, build a loyal leadership team, and focus on customer service.” The Meetup has been going strong for ten years and currently boasts a hefty membership list at 10,599 and counting.

Browsing through the photos and reading about some of the Meetups they’ve got planned, it’s apparent that they deliver a mixture of warm company, snacks, adorable dogs, serene trails, and lots of laughs. It’s obvious that members love to take in everything that nature has to offer. But in addition to soaking up the good stuff, this Meetup knows the importance of giving back.

(c/o Mike Hicks)

(c/o Mike Hicks)

Through frequent ‘Tails of the Trail’ Meetups, members donate their time by walking shelter dogs on long hikes, in an effort to socialize them and provide them with valuable exercise. The main objective here (other than enjoying the adorable company of the furry friends) is to help reduce the stress and unease that these dogs incur through long periods of living in shelter kennels. Providing these dogs with the opportunity to stretch their legs also stretches their life spans. The end result: euthanasia rates among these animal shelters decrease as a result of happier, healthier dogs.

Connection with the earth and some of its cutest creatures lays the foundation for the desirable “product” that this Meetup’s members seek time and time again. The next time you’re in Tennessee, try the Nashville Hiking Meetup on for size.

Political Meetups

As a platform that specializes in grassroots organizing, Meetup is a natural fit for political campaign supporters.

Every election season sees new Meetups popping up all over the country (and world) for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike.

politics

Photo from The Democratic Socialists of America Meetup

Some Meetup veterans may remember back in 2004, when people around the country self-organized through Meetup to help Howard Dean’s campaign grow as the first presidential candidate to mobilize through a major internet presence.

Dean’s rise from a small-state governor to a serious contender for the Democratic candidacy showed how powerful individual supporters can be when they gather face to face to support their candidate.

During a primary season especially dominated by interest groups and super PACs, it can be easy to feel individual voices aren’t being heard.

Campaign supporter Meetups are helping individuals to launch local communities that amplify their message and build momentum for the candidates they feel represent them the best.

Here are some ways a local campaign supporter Meetup can mobilize behind their candidates:

  • Debate and caucus/primary watch parties: Gather at a bar or a home to watch results roll in or discuss the debates
  • Canvassing: Partner with your local campaign office or make your own flyers, then hit the streets
  • Fundraisers: Host a bake sale or plan a lavish gala — whatever it takes to raise funds for your team
  • Rally!: Make posters and bring your community to a local rally or travel to a major convention to make an impact

Find a Meetup for a movement or campaign that means something to you and your community, or start your own.

In the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Be a Doll, Give a Doll

The Black Doll Affair community is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with chapters across the United States. Their mission: “to change the way black girls are perceived and, more importantly, perceive themselves.” 

The movement has received national attention as a past recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award for their efforts.

blackdollaffair

In celebration of Black History Month, they partnered with Macy’s to host a very special “Be a Doll, give a Doll” event, where members got dolled up in their favorite Black Doll T-shirts to “Be a Doll”, and give back to the community by bringing black dolls for donation. It was a huge success.

In their words: “This is where black girls grow into their true essence and awesomeness! This is where black gives back. This is where Black Dolls have more fun!”

blackheart

Becca and Steve at Wedding

“My fiance and I moved away from Fargo, so we transferred ownership of our Meetup to another organizer. We moved from our family homes originally in New Jersey to Fargo, North Dakota and now to St. Louis, Missouri.

I have Meetup to thank for the family of friends we have forged in both new cities. Were it not for Meetup, we never would have connected with the various people we now have come to know as family; in fact, at our wedding in March, we will be seating at least 10 guests we met exclusively through Meetup, or through other people we met thanks to Meetup.

Meetup has made the transition from city to city incredibly easy, and has lessened the time it has taken for us to integrate ourselves with the local culture. What’s more, we get to find the people and activities in which we really want to engage without having to poke around bars or other local hangout scenes and try to find people who share our interests.”

…………………………

Thank you, Metal Steve

 

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…”?

dogsled


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.

icefish2

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. 

icefish

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. 

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 10.48.41 AM

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.

Continue Reading →

Meetup of Meetups

newphoto

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.

calendar

Continue Reading →

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.

Chrismukkah1

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.”

Continue Reading →

The Force Awakens on Meetup

star wars 3

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.

marylandjedi

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.

tangotab

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.