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Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

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Meetup site fodder for Lawrence social group

August 17, 2009

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Kimberlee Bourdon, Lawrence, second from right, talks with other members of the Lawrence Women’s Social Meetup Group during an outing Aug. 5 at Ingredient, 947 Mass. Left of Bourdon is Shani Millstead, Lawrence, and to her right is Jeannie Chan, Lawrence.

Kimberlee Bourdon, Lawrence, second from right, talks with other members of the Lawrence Women’s Social Meetup Group during an outing Aug. 5 at Ingredient, 947 Mass. Left of Bourdon is Shani Millstead, Lawrence, and to her right is Jeannie Chan, Lawrence.

Who’s on meetup.com

The Lawrence Women’s Social Meetup Group can be contacted at Meetup.com.

Here are some other Meetup.com groups we found in or near Lawrence:

• Lawrence Divorce Support & Social Group (39 members)

• Bavarder, Lawrence’s French conversation group (74 members)

• Lawrence Raw Food Meetup Group (69 members)

• Metaphysics and Shamanic Meetup Group (42 members)

• VegLawrence (102 members)

• Kiddos and their Wranglers (20 members)

When Melinda Gaddy moved to Lawrence several years ago to attend graduate school, she was soon acquainted with her Kansas University classmates.

But eventually she found what she really needed was a social circle outside of academia.

So Gaddy turned to Meetup.com, where she founded the Lawrence Women’s Social Meetup Group in January.

“I’ve been pleased with the response. We’ve slowly grown to a group of about 50 women since we’ve been in existence,” Gaddy says.

Gaddy uses the Web site to organize and communicate with the group’s members. Meetup.com bills itself as the “world’s largest network of local clubs” and has as part of its mission to “use the Internet to get people off the Internet.” It has 5.7 million members who meet in 58,936 local groups in more than 11,500 cities.

The Lawrence Women’s Social Meetup Group meets monthly, and gatherings have included wine tastings, Sunday brunch, hanging out at a local coffee shop and even some sand volleyball. Whitney Fox, assistant organizer of the group, is facilitating a book club for the women.

“The book club is open to reading all genres, and our interests are diverse,” Fox says.

One of the things Gaddy enjoys the most about the overall group of women is their diversity.

“We have members who are graduate students, moms, married and single women, women who have lived here a long time and some who have recently moved here. We welcome diversity in the group,” she says.

Fox says the group provides a safe and fun way to expand social networks and meet women with similar interests.

“I was looking for a way to meet new people with whom to socialize and hang out. Living in a college town, it’s difficult to meet people who aren’t just here for four years. This is a fun group,” she says.

And fun is one of the things that keeps Jeannie Chan coming back to group gatherings.

“Every time, I go I have a fantastic time,” she says. “Not being a student it’s hard to find a social circle in Lawrence. I wanted to find a way to network with local young professionals, and I’ve been able to make fast friends in the group.”

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