No matter what your favorite pastime—books, hiking, science fiction or Scrabble—you’re likely not alone. Throughout Georgia, shared interest groups provide like-minded people opportunities for fun in numbers.
One of the fastest-growing ways to connect with others like you is online at Meetup.com. The biggest network of its kind, Meetup boasts more than 9.5 million members in 45,000 cities around the globe, and its purpose is “to revitalize community.” In the Atlanta area alone, groups range from the 230-member Movie Peaches to the 600-strong Pug Owners who, along with their pets, gather for monthly play dates. In Savannah, groups such as the Lowcountry Yoga Society and the Bound to Please book enthusiasts await your visit, and in Columbus, you could find yourself mixing it up with salsa dancers or challenging your thinking among “skeptics.” Wherever you are, just enter your city and area of interest into the search field and you’ll get a listing of active groups and their upcoming gatherings. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, the site offers tools for you to start up your own club. Visit www.Meetup.com for details.
Another way to explore your interests is through volunteerism, and the federal Corporation for National and Community Service
(CNCS) can put you in touch with the opportunity you’re seeking. The website, www.nationalservice.gov, even features an interactive tool to help you find the perfect match; just answer questions such as how often you can volunteer and other work preferences, and the site will link you to programs most likely to suit you – from AmeriCorps to the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), the country’s largest volunteer organization for those 55 and older. Whatever your age and interests—whether you’d like to host an international exchange student in your home or provide customer service in a non-profit thrift store—the website’s search engine will point you in the right direction. Go to www.getinvolved.gov (sponsored by CNCS) to get started, or visit www.nationalservice.gov to see all the programs supported by the agency.
If your search for the pastime of your dreams still isn’t off the ground, consider taking to the skies. Georgia’s Mercy Flights organization, part of the non-profit Air Charity Network™, provides free air transportation to people needing distant medical attention. The Georgia chapter meets monthly in the Atlanta area, and you don’t have to be a pilot to get involved; volunteers are needed for special events, transporting passengers to and from airports and much other “ground” work. For details on the organization and its needs, go to www.mercyflightse.org.
Whether you’d like to explore a new interest or delve deeper into a long-standing passion, there’s sure to be a group nearby made just for you. Take time this spring to gather with your crowd right here in Georgia.