Pack my winter social calendar
November 30, 2014 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Help me find groups to up my community involvement in the dark months of winter.

Most of the things I do for fun are solitary/nice weather activities and as we move into winter I'd like to stop relying on the odd social engagement/netflix for my evening entertainment and get involved in some things going on in my community that are social/group based. Basically, I'm asking this question, but I don't live in NYC, and most of the answers to that are NYC-specific. (I'm in Providence, RI.) I want specific ideas for types of groups I could join and ideas for how to get keyed into existing groups-- I think most of this is going on here, but I don't know how to find it! I'm also on a small-ish budget if that affects your answers.

Things I like to do now: Hiking (I don't really need/want a group to do this with, though), camping, cycling, rock climbing (probably the most social activity I do right now), traveling new places every chance I get, cooking, yoga (not in a class, though, at home on my own), drawing and painting, reading, thrift storing, watching more netflix than I should.

Types of things I'd like to get involved in:
-a group where I can create art in community (either visual or a writing group)
-activism of some type
-a community garden next summer
-a fun choir or music group-- I was in a (interfaith) gospel choir in college and had a ton of fun. I also was in a hand drum ensemble which was fun as well.
-Somewhere I could speak Spanish would be great (I'm not fluent, but I'm conversant)
-a completely fun sports group-- I'm totally unathletic when it comes to team sports, but I'd be into going to a low-pressure game and then out for drinks afterward.
-A group volunteer project

Things that don't particularly interest me:
Theater-- I'm a terrible actor and have never really gotten into the theater scene, though I think I would like set design, so maybe that would be something to look into after all--is this something I could do without any experience?

Church-- I grew up in church and never really liked it; I recently went to a UU congregation nearby hoping it would be different but I wasn't feeling it. I'm also not an atheist so secular humanist groups and such don't speak to me. I also tend to remain unmoved by 'spiritual' things, so lots of alternative groups are out. I would totally attend a Sunday morning nonreligious, nonspiritual nonatheist community discussion group, but I'm not sure they exist.

Group art consumption-- I will wander around an art museum by myself for hours, but please don't make me do it in a group.

Any ideas much appreciated-- again, either ideas for activities or ways to find active groups.
posted by geegollygosh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Would something like a Drink and Draw meetup interest you?
posted by erst at 8:21 AM on November 30, 2014


I'm actually a member of that meetup erst! Unfortunately, it's no longer active so I didn't ever get to go to one of those. I haven't had great luck with meetup in general, though I keep trying.
posted by geegollygosh at 8:26 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


It took me 40 years to find a church that I fit in with. Do keep looking. Now is a great time to shop for churches. Many of the larger ones have their events posted online. Go to every live nativity, candlelight service, and special Christmas concert in your area. Most are open to the public so you will fit right in. One church might stick out enough that you could offer to help with something.

Post your willingness to join in on FB if you use it. Chances are, you have at least one friend who is decorating a float for a Christmas parade or building the set for a live nativity. You can offer to lend a hand.
posted by myselfasme at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would a site like Volunteer Match or Volunteer Finder be useful? It strikes me that you mention activism and working in groups and that you'd like the opportunity to speak Spanish, right? I think it should be definitely possible to combine all three of those if you found the right organization. For example, having a Spanish speaker on staff at the local domestic violence shelter could be extremely useful, or I'm sure that skill might be helpful at a tutoring organization, depending on the communities you serve.
posted by sciatrix at 10:15 AM on November 30, 2014


In answer to your question about helping a theatre group with sets etc. (not acting)--in my experience, there Is always a shortage of backstage people in community theatre. Around here, friends of the director/stage manager usually get drafted to help (ask me how I know!). The amateur theatre community where I live is so warm and friendly and accepting of newcomers--I imagine it's similar in lots of places.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:28 PM on November 30, 2014


Have you tried contra dancing? There's a fair amount in the Providence area and most dances I've been to have a group that goes out for afters when the dance is over, so there's a fun social element even beyond the dancing (which is beginner-friendly and non-intimidating). It hits your active/social/musical/art-making (albeit performing arts) buttons, and contra dancers are often also keyed into local singing opportunities of various sorts, so you could go to a dance and ask around for other music-related activities.
posted by obliquicity at 4:48 PM on November 30, 2014


I was going to suggest swing dancing. REally great winter fun, skill building, social.
posted by Miko at 7:52 PM on November 30, 2014


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