This is the final button you press when you’re creating a new group on www.meetup.com. The internet has been bringing people with shared interests together virtually for years now. However, Meetup.com is different. It’s focused exclusively on bringing people with shared interests together in-person, face to face, here in the real world, here in the Lower Mainland.
Out near Brentwood SkyTrain station, a monthly UNO card game club meetup runs at a local Starbucks. Andrew attends because he’s already beaten all the staff at his house and is looking for new competition. James attends because he’s a newcomer to Canada from Singapore, and hasn’t found many UNO enthusiasts amongst his workmates. The first player to win five games takes the evening’s series. The prize is usually something tasty and easy to share.
Across town at Joe’s Table Cafe on Kingsway, people from all walks of life have been dropping in to attend the monthly jigsaw puzzlers’ meetup. They either bring their own projects to work on, or take part in some friendly competition in the 100-piece race. Jigsaws are a meditative activity. Having something for the hands to focus on often helps shyer members participate more in the conversation. Jon has been doing puzzles for decades and loves the chance to get out of the house. Liu enjoys the chance to practice speaking English in a casual group setting. Most agree that while they had never thought of doing jigsaws alongside other people, they now often prefer this to working alone at home.
At “Draw by Night”, local drawing enthusiasts meet, eat, drink and draw at long tables covered in utility paper. Art supplies and snacks are provided free of charge by the event organizers. A DJ spins sets of music, while a VJ projects idea-inspiring visuals onto a giant screen in the corner. These visuals relate to the bi-monthly event’s quirky art themes, like “Cat-nado” or “Bugs Gone Wild”. There’s lots of laughter, conversation and compliments on people’s creations. Jon from the jigsaw puzzlers’ meetup has been drawing at home and as part of his daytime community integration program for a decade. Now he’s also a “Draw by Night” regular, enjoying the opportunity to work alongside, get feedback from and chat with other artists in the hip Vancouver Film School Café in Gastown.
To join one of the meetups mentioned above, or find one that matches your interests, visit Meetup.com and search based on your interests. What if there is no existing meetup group that shares your interests? That’s easy – you can start your own meetup! The process is really simple – start creating real, face-to-face community today!