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Start a Networking or Interest Club

What is it? A shared interest club can be based around essentially anything.  It could be biking, reading, board games or anything else you can find a group of people to join you in doing.  It can be primarily social or service oriented, or it even be focused around something like a sports team.  The idea is that this is a way to engage people with their neighbors by doing something that they enjoy.  Often the idea of community involvement seems taxing.  By focusing that involvement around an enjoyable activity, people are much more likely to join.  Once these connections are created, a better sense of community is created and people understand how to work together for other reasons as well.

How has it been used? Arlington, VA is home to the Arlington Chess Club which has been bringing people together to play chess since 1954.  They partner with other groups to put on a league where teams from across the area compete with one another.  Over 200 people are members of the club and participate in weekly meetings to play.  They will bring in Grand Masters to talk and play with members.  This all helps bring these people together who would otherwise never have a reason to meet.  People from all segments of society can come together around this one shared activity.  (Source: Arlington Chess Club)

Further Reading

Meetup

Organizing a Bicycle Club – International Bicycle Fund

The Bon Appetit Cooking Club Starter Kit

The Philosophy Club Startup Kit – American Philosophical Association