Before Adventure Club, there were three main reasons I hesitated trying new things:
- Like so many women my age: I’m busy. I didn’t have a lot of time to make a commitment to try something new, like take a class or join a group.
- I didn’t have extra money for classes, or for the equipment needed to try new things.
- I liked the idea of trying new things, but not really doing it. When given the choice to try something outside of my comfort zone, I could always find an excuse not to.
Adventure Club started as an idea for a few friends to encourage ourselves to push ourselves to step out of our comfort zone without making a big commitment. At first, I thought of the idea as a recreational program through an organization, like a community center or parks and rec, but it got too complicated. Simplicity was the key. This would be like a book club with activities.
My friend and I decided we would commit to putting something together with some other friends. We would make a date once a month to do a mystery activity. Our only rules were that it couldn’t be over $50 (It’s since changed to $35), and it couldn’t require special physical strength or stamina without notice. At that time, I thought I would be planning all of the activities and occasionally somebody would relieve me. That turned out to be no problem at all.
As we started talking about it, friends asked if they could bring their friends on the activity. What we thought would be six to eight people we wanted to include, ended up a much larger group. In the end, we had about 20 people in our Facebook Group. Thirteen participants, including four that I didn’t even know, came to our first activity.
That was fencing. Most of the people I knew (including me) didn’t even know we had a fencing academy in Humboldt. I don’t know why I got it in my head as an activity, but I was curious so I googled it. (That’s a great way to find instructors for ideas you have.) I called the owner of the academy, and explained that we didn’t want a class, but a one day workshop. I told him we would have about 10 people participating. For many businesses, they have to put a lot of time and effort into recruiting participants, so somebody delivering 10 participants with no work was an easy sell. He opened his studio on a Sunday and charged us a nominal fee.
Some people loved it. Some people hated it. Everybody was pretty excited to tell people that was how they spent their Sunday. The companionship was a surprising side-effect. We didn’t know each other, but by putting ourselves in a vulnerable situation (and we were ALL in the same situation), everybody seemed more open to meeting new people, too.
After that event, I found that I never had to plan another activity again, if I didn’t want to. The more people learned about the group and joined, the more they wanted to share their own interests or plan activities for them.
Adventure Club started in April 2013, and we’ve had an adventure every month. Today, we have about 150 members in the Facebook Group, although only had 61 of those have attended an event. Our average attendance size is between twelve and twenty people. A majority of participants have attended more than one event, although most will miss for several months at a time depending on their personal schedules.
We’ve gone kayaking, brewed beer, took a chocolate class, painted pottery and we even played Cops and Robbers in the middle of the night! We’ve also made some great friends, and networking connections.
Adventure Club has been successful in serving its purpose, to get us to try things outside of our comfort zone, and more.