Has anyone ever started a "meetup" group? (or been a member?) - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-04-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm thinking of starting a mamas group for crunchy mamas. My current city is pretty remote, and we have a few more mainstream mom's clubs here already. But I've never done this before, and I know no one here! So just wondering if anyone has done this before? Is it weird to start a "group" of just me, and hope someone joins? Would it be off-putting to call it a crunchy group? I really want to meet mamas who are at least semi-crunchy. What are dues for? Are they to make sure that only sincere members join, or do you actually use them toward activities? Where do you meet, like at my house or somewhere else? What other things does the group leader need to do?

Thanks for the help mamas. I know you'll point me in the right direction.

oh....p.s. if I am moving soon (unknown due to DH's job) is it bad to start a group that I might have to leave in the coming months?

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Old 05-04-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I was part of a few meet-up groups when I was in Portland, Or. Here they have nothing right now either.
The only problem I had was that some of the groups charged way too much IMO because they were so small. I know the costs were to offset the fees from the meet-up and other hosting sites, but I was not willing to join any groups that charged more then $10 a year unless they were providing more then just the organizing for the group. For example there was one that I thought about joining, but they wanted $25 a year and just met at local parks for playgroups.
I love it when they say crunchy, though sometime it is a bit intimidating because I went to an activity that was see what we are like before you join for a group that said they were semi-crunchy and very excepting and then got chewed out for being a meat eating and non-unschooling family. So if other people have run into those types of crunchy people only then they may be afraid to join your group, but I would just go with your gut and give it a shot.

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Old 05-04-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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I don't think it's weird to start a group at all! I've belonged to several Meetup groups, but never started one. I might call it something like "Kind of Crunchy" though, b/c I think sometimes "crunchy" can be intimidating or have negative connotations. I always thought the dues were for the Meetup online hosting costs.

My playgroup used to rotate weekly playdates at houses, and there were enough of us that you only had to host once every couple of months. I would probably meet somewhere at first until I knew/felt comfortable with people. You could meet at a park, mall, bounce house, or activity like a farm tour. I'm in a Meetup group now where the organizer is super active and she calendars tons of stuff--U-Picks, farm tours, farmers markets, museums, etc.

I'm a mod for a Yahoo group now and basically all I do is schedule stuff. Since Yahoo is free we don't have any dues, but I think Meetup is better for your situation since Meetup will find and contact people w/ similar interests. My Yahoo group was a split off from a bigger group so we all already knew each other.

Good luck, and keep us updated!
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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I have tried. No bites. It's been almost two years I think, and I can still hear the crickets...

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Old 05-04-2010, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
I have tried. No bites. It's been almost two years I think, and I can still hear the crickets...
Well, I'd join your group, if you're in Texas.

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Old 05-04-2010, 10:35 PM
 
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Well, I'd join your group, if you're in Texas.
That'd be quiet a drive! I'm in Southern IL. Otherwise, it'd be nice to get together for a crunchy meetup group. Nothing remotely like that here for hours around.

I don't do dues. I made up a poster. I think I called it SE IL Holistic families or something (it's been so long since I started and have no members, so I can't even remember!). I put them up at the library, etc. Just listed some topics on there like breastfeeding support which we don't have here (no LLL even). I was going to hold meetings at the local coffee shop or maybe ask the library if we could meet there. I tried to get the college to let me do meetings, even if I paid, and they said no. Otherwise, park playdates. I did a yahoo group...

If you may be moving, you might want to wait and see. How far are you talking? Too far to continue the group once you move?

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Old 05-04-2010, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes...Texas to Tennessee. Or, Seattle, if DH can find a job there, since it's kind of a dream location for us.

*Sigh*. There are so many MDC mamas who would be so cool to know IRL. And it seems like so many of us are isolated. Boo.

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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I have tried. No bites. It's been almost two years I think, and I can still hear the crickets...
No bites on Meetup? I get spammed weekly from them--"look who wants AP meetups in your area!!!" Groups are tough, though. I've joined at least 4 meetups, maybe 4-5 mom groups, and really only clicked w/ one. The organizer for the one I mentioned schedules things 2-3x weekly and at least a month in advance, and although there are 25+ members it seems like the same 3-4 attend things. Not even me, I'm a lurker.
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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I started a Meetup and it was either free or nominal to start -- I was thinking I'd get a group going (I called it Mindful Moms to seem crunchy but not obtrusive haha) and I did have some takers. There was a group of 8 or so (which is perfect I thought!) but pretty much none of them were my type. That first meeting at a public park I had yelling, smacking, spanking, overall lazy crap going on and although I tried a few more times I was pretty over it. My son was younger at the time, if I were to attend the same type of thing now I'd have to leave immediately (with a nearly 4 year old). I met one person who I've had loose contact with mostly because we each have had young babies in the last year ----

I think it's worth a try. You can quickly move to a yahoo group as we did and do another Meetup as you feel you need to. Or post stuff on bulletin boards!

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:51 AM
 
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It was funny, there is nothing in my area and then at one time two different moms started war-ing meetup groups so they sabotaged eachother and it was just weird. Reminded me why I have a hard time with meeting random women (the catty-ness, the high-school type stuff).

It had potential, and if I was a more outgoing person I think that even the couple of events we went to before it all went south could have had us connected a lot more.

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Old 05-05-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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It couldn't hurt to try! I recently joined my city's AP meetup group, and I love it! There are events almost every day, and it's pretty active. It's been a great way to meet people, and anyone can suggest an activity, so there is a great variety of options.

I know it can be hard to find people, but I was honestly reaally surprised at how many breastfeeding, cloth diaper, AP moms there are around here! It's not known for being the crunchiest of places and it's not that big either!

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Old 05-06-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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I started a meet-up group based on babywearing. Some of the parents that show up are crunchy, but not all. Some parents come by multiple times, others show up once to get the help or advice they need, and disappear.

I charge $20 per family per year because I lend out carriers to people, run a website and use Constant Contact for our e-newsletter. The Y donates space and I donate my time to run this group.

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Old 05-06-2010, 04:42 AM
 
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That'd be quiet a drive! I'm in Southern IL. Otherwise, it'd be nice to get together for a crunchy meetup group. Nothing remotely like that here for hours around.
Aww, Kittywitty! I'm in western Indiana and we don't really have anything like that here either. I have a few crunchy friends in my town, but we (sadly) rarely get together. I'd join you if it wasn't an atrocious drive.

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Old 05-06-2010, 12:00 PM
 
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I'm in a crunchy meetup & I love it. And I just joined another, smaller meetup that's story hours and stuff. Very fun!!! One has dues (that I think many people don't end up paying) and the other doesn't, I personally don't think there should be dues unless it has a very specific purpose (i.e. if you will be regularly supplying craft materials or snacks). Both are "private" so only members can see the calendar, I'd definitely recommend that. You can also mark people as 'no-show' & see how many RSVP's members have, so you can keep track of people who aren't serious about it & remove them from the group.

I'd suggest in your group description to describe what kinds of activities you'll be doing and what types of members you are looking for. So if you're OK with "crunchy" mamas that use disposable diapers & have plastic toys but not OK with moms who spank or CIO, write something to that effect (make it light-hearted & humorous though!) If you're worried about "crunchy" being off-putting, you could call it an AP group or natural mom group or something more open.

Also, schedule lots of activities (these can just be your daily activities, like "we're going to XYZ playground on Wed., to the zoo on Fri.," etc.) and expect that no one or just 1 or 2 will show up at first. My (admittedly limited) experience is that it takes a while to build up momentum & it's hard to get people to show up if they have story hour every Tuesday and that's when all your meetups are. People seem also more likely to show if lots of other members RSVP yes, so if you have a few friends/family you can invite to the group to help get you started, that would be a bonus.

Oh and you can meet anywhere... parks, zoo, library, hiking trail, your house, mall, etc. We usually have activities all over the place and people tend to go to the ones closest & most convenient for them (and often prefer cheap/free activities).

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Old 05-06-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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If starting a meetup group does not work out, I would suggest maybe meeting with some of the mainstream groups if you are looking for a social outlet for you and DC. I am part of a mainstream club and many of the ladies CD, Co sleep, BF, Babywear, HS. We have also been able to show some of the new moms or more mainstream moms some new ways of looking at parenting. Other moms in the groups do not do these things and have no interest in doing it themselves, however, they do not judge or criticize. Our group is part of a large international organization that draws many different types of moms, but what is amazing is that we are all accepting that each one of us is trying to do what is best for our family and child. Again not trying to discourage you from starting your own grup, but also telling you that a crunchy mom can have a positive experience if the group is a nice group of ladies to begin with.

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Old 05-06-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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Also I missed the part about you moving... I'd be hesitant to start up a group if you're moving in a few months just because it can take several months for the group to get really active -- so by the time you have a bunch of members & start to really enjoy it, you'll be leaving. But for the group's sake it's not too big a deal, you can just turn the meetup over to another active member who would take over scheduling activities.

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Old 05-07-2010, 01:07 AM
 
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I'm also in Texas and was thinking the same that I feel so isolated some times. Go for it start up the group. If you move than just hand over the group to an active member.

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Old 05-07-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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I'm a member of a moms group with about 40 members. Our group has at least one event to choose from every single day except for Sundays. Of course not everyone comes to every single activity, most people only go to one or two a week. (We choose one event a week to go to.) We have all kinds of events -- simple playdates at members' houses, holiday parties, picnics at the park, bowling, movies, meeting to shop with or without kids, moms' night in, couples dinners, meeting at places like a children's museum or a playground or even a restaurant with a playground. We don't pay dues, so I can't help with that. We do each bring something to eat to playdates or any get-together involving food.

Good luck! I think you'll be able to find plenty of moms to join
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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I've been thinking about joining one. I live in a medium-sized area (Richmond VA), so there are a few groups out there... it's kind of weird though because I'm too "crunchy" for "mainstream" and too "mainstream" for "crunchy."

It's like I'm mostly mainstream I think except for some things that just appall me and I couldn't handle, like hitting the kids or CIO. And I would likely end up getting upset talking to someone who was all into that. I mean I'd be fine if it's just that they were formula feeding or not babywearing or thought my cloth diapers were weird or were way into kids' TV shows, because that's just parenting differences to me. But the hitting/CIO I have such a strong emotional reaction to.

Arg. I don't know. I may give it a shot, if I don't like it, guess I'll be out 10 bucks or so.

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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No bites on Meetup? I get spammed weekly from them--"look who wants AP meetups in your area!!!" Groups are tough, though. I've joined at least 4 meetups, maybe 4-5 mom groups, and really only clicked w/ one. The organizer for the one I mentioned schedules things 2-3x weekly and at least a month in advance, and although there are 25+ members it seems like the same 3-4 attend things. Not even me, I'm a lurker.
I did a couple years ago, but nothing here, so I haven't bothered paying to have a meetup for down here!

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Aww, Kittywitty! I'm in western Indiana and we don't really have anything like that here either. I have a few crunchy friends in my town, but we (sadly) rarely get together. I'd join you if it wasn't an atrocious drive.
I swear to god I don't stalk you...but I think you're about 1.5 hours from me. Maybe 2 hours? I don't know. I make dh drive.

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