Much of the world went online more than two decades ago but with recent events related to the pandemic, even more things have shifted online. Pre-pandemic, if we wanted to venture out and join a club for sports, hobbies or for socializing, we could look for a local club, sign up and join. Now, joining clubs comes with a Zoom link. The benefits of doing anything online is that it’s safer, easier to organize and more affordable. The one disadvantage is that some of your favorite clubs might have shut down or be hard to find given recent changes.
So, one solution is to form your own online club. Here are four ways to get started:
- Choosing a topic/interest to center your club on – The first big decision when starting any kind of club is to decide what your interests and goals are. It can be as simple as an online social gathering over Zoom where each week a new topic is discussed, and you are the moderator. Or it can be a book club, a club dedicated to cleaning up the community or doing exercises or even playing online games with each other weekly. Whatever you decide, make it clear what the mission is and how you will carry out that mission.
- Selecting a platform for an online club – You can simply email your members regularly for updates and all meet up over video conference using Zoom or Skype.
- Getting the word out – As mentioned above, organizing a club online is must easier than doing one in person mainly because members don’t have to be local. They can be from anywhere. Once you’ve chosen a focus for the club, start putting feelers out there on social media asking who might like to join the club. And of course, you can’t leave out your own network of family, friends, and colleagues. Start gathering names and email addresses. You may also consider inserting information in neighborhood newsletters at the local -community centers or nearby 55+ communities.
- Planning for meetings – Once you get a group of members, it’s time to start preparing for club meetings, activities and/or projects. Set a schedule, stick to it, and use video conferencing as a way to stay connected and keep members accountable for any activities they might be assigned. Communication is key for online clubs in order to keep members engaged.
Staying connected during a time when many are staying in their homes is critical. It’s time to be creative with our time and be proactive about staying connected. Starting an online club is a perfect way to do just that all while spending time doing what you enjoy most. And odds are if you enjoy something, there are many people just like you that will enjoy it too.
Inter Valley Health Plan conducts an array of free online classes suited for older adults. They range from Friday Fitness classes where they teach one new exercise every month, and others focused on heart and brain health, diet, art, book clubs, and much more. Click here for their schedule.
Visit Inter Valley’s blog at https://blogs.ivhp.com/blog-2/ for tips on health, lifestyle, Medicare Advantage and living a life full of vitality.