Special-interest groups are part of the appeal of living in an active adult community. These clubs can cover a wide range of topics, such as gardening, tennis, book discussion, wine tasting, knitting, philosophy, woodworking or travel. If your community doesn’t have a group for your favorite pastime, you may be able to start one yourself.
The process for starting a special-interest group or social club may be different from one community to the next. You can find out the specific steps you’ll need to take from your community association or lifestyle director. However, most active adult communities follow a pretty similar process.
Check to See What Already Exists
Before trying to start your own special-interest club, you’ll want to make sure the community doesn’t already have one covering the same topic. A list of clubs and groups is often available on the community website, posted on bulletin boards or published in the community newsletter. If available, you can also talk to your community’s lifestyle or activities director.
Set a Schedule
Whatever topic you choose, you will have to find out if there is enough interest in it to form a group that will meet regularly. You can talk to your friends and neighbors, raise the topic on a community message board and arrange a meeting to gauge interest. This is also a good time to see who might be willing to help you organize and manage the group going forward.
During your interest meeting, be specific about your plans for the club, but also encourage others to share their ideas. Keep in mind that your group will only work if you can find enough people who share the same interest. For example, a large community may have enough people to support very specialized topics, like book clubs devoted to sci-fi or romance genres, while a smaller community would do better with a general book club where members agree to try reading many different styles of writing.
Discuss how often you expect the group to meet, where you will meet and if there will be any club dues or other member responsibilities. Depending on the type of club, you might meet once a week, once a month or every other month. Talking about the expectations will help you get a feel for how often your club should meet.
Formalize the Club
Once you’ve decided on the group’s general intentions and know that you have enough interested members, it’s time to formalize the club. Talk to your community association or lifestyle director about applying for charter group status. As a charter group, you may have access to special perks, such as using clubhouse facilities for meetings at no extra charge.
Get the Word Out
After your special-interest club has been established look for ways to advertise it. You can post announcements in the community newsletter, put flyers up on bulletin boards, or even create your own website. With a little creativity, you can make it easy for members to advertise the club by making them group t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers.
Getting involved with your neighbors is part of the fun of living in an active adult community. By starting your own special-interest group, you can make new friends and help others come together to share a favorite pastime.