I found Meetup.com quite by chance. Now for those who do not know, Meetup.com is a Web 2.0 social website in which like Facebook for example, members can find like-minded individuals, but unlike Facebook, then meet in the real world and, well, do whatever those interests are on an ongoing basis. You see, I was looking for a language group as I was forgetting my Spanish faster you could say ‘Dos cervesas y tacos por favor.’ So what better way to practice then to speak the language with other native speakers? Maybe even make some friends to boot.
Anyway, so I decided to bite the bullet and joined the Toronto Spanish Speaking Group. Overall it was good, however Richard the organizer left a lot to be desired. Like not showing up to any of his own meetups for example. In fact he never showed up to any outings and after a few attended events I relented to the possibility he was likely imaginary or the work of someone’s fiction. Specially, as I would later find out, if an organizer does not select a time or location, Meetup.com will automatically pick both for you. That’s what I call full service. But you would have to be abnormally dense not to get bored going to the same Starbucks again and again month in and month out. So I became a bit disillusioned.
Eventually curiosity got the best of me as the thought of organizing a group myself kept on marinating in my head. So without much dramatic ado I jumped right into organizing the TO23-35 Social Group.
Just like all group we started small. However we pretty soon exploded… 100 members, 200 members… then *boom* past 300! As of this writing membership is 667 and counting. Not bad, not bad. Then within the year a second group followed, the TO25-40 Social Group. Yes, the names are pretty almost carbon copies, but the demographic is on average older. How many members on that one? 461! And counting… As you can imagine lots of outings and funny adventures occurred within the group, a highlight would be the couple who not only met but ended up married after meeting in one of my groups. Now that has to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
How do I choose events? Well, a few tequila shots help… no wait…that’s not it. Basically I pick locations through experience. Having been a party kid in Toronto in my younger years helps. I keep track of the never-ending stream of event s going on in the city at any given moment. We have gone patios, lounges, nature walks, indoor rock climbing, roller-blading, museums, movies, wine tastings, dinners, brunches, you name it. Pretty much anything that sounds like a great time to be had by all. That’s the easy part. The hard part is the colourful mating dance I must enlist myself to do with managers of establishments I want to do business with. As locales will not reserve busy nights unless you pay a ridiculous premium in advance or with your first born or a pint of blood from your mother. Selling off a next of kin may also do the trick. They are that anal. Sadly, I can see their point since they do not want to do have empty spaces on a busy night, but that is not the best way to woo future repeat customers. Although so far we have done pretty well. Over 105 events so far!
But all in all, it has been quite the adventure, and an excellent opportunity to meet and see the people and the city of Toronto. I would highly recommend it.
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