This month Debe Maxwell and Margaret Rome are hosting the ActiveRain April Challenge "What Does ActiveRain Mean to You? April 2022 Challenge". For this challenge we are to create a collage telling what ActiveRain means to us. After reading some of the blogs already posted for this challenge, I decided I would focus on an part of ActiveRain different than what had already been addressed by others. However, my friend Grant Schneider must of had similar thoughts to mine and beat me to it.
I have been a Member of ActiveRain from almost the very beginning of this site, and the one thing I have appreciated most about ActiveRain is not only the friendships I have made on this site, but the opportunity to make in person connections I would have never have made if it were not for ActiveRain. Most of the in person connections and friendships I have made I credit to the ActiveRain MeetUps we use to have, and have continued to have on a more spontaneous and individual bases as of late.
As you can see from my collage above I have attend a boat load of MeetUps, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. The pictures in my collage represent 22 different MeetUps I have attend, and there are at least 4 or 5 more I cannot find pictures for.
MeetUps have been responsible for me being able to meet ActiveRain members from all over the country. For example the Queen of the MeetUps, Dagny Eason, is responsible for me meeting several local members, as well as some not so local. The picture to right is of the first MeetUp Dagny held at her home in September 2011. Dagny's MeetUps were the best attended MeetUps of all the ActiveRain MeetUps. They were regularly attended by several near by members in CT, NY, and RI. But she also had members from as far way as Vermont (Lisa Friedman) and Bob Crane from Wisconsin. However, the one MeetUp which I attended which had the most ActiveRain members from all over the country was a MeetUp hosted by Debe Maxwell and Lisa Von Domek during a NAR Convention in Boston, MA. At that MeetUp I got to meet Peter den Boer, Endre Barath, Jr. & his wife Diane, Lisa Friedman, Sheila Anderson, Debe Maxwell, Debbie Reynolds & her husband Jack, Lisa Von Domek, Nina Hollander, Jeff Dowler, Doug Dawes, and Dusty Rhoton for the first time. I also got to reconnect with a couple of ActiveRain members I had met before, Grant Schneider and his wife Phyllis, and Conrad Allen. We crisscrossed the map with that crowd a few time.
There were no set locations for MeetUps. They were held in homes, vineyards, sport's bars, and restaurants to name a few locations. The MeetUps varied in size from well over 20 members, to MeetUps of less than 10 members. We even had special visitor from as far way as the North Pole when Santa Clause decided to crash a couple of the MeetUps.
Today MeetUps continue but less frequent, and less organized. Today the ActiveRain MeetUps tend to be more of the one-on-one MeetUp when a ActiveRain member is traveling through a state or city, and meets up with an ActiveRain member(s) whose blog they follow. However, there are still some ActiveRain MeetUps today which are larger in nature, such as the MeetUp Ed Silva organized when Carol Williams drove through CT on her epic cross country trip. Or the one Ed organized when Michael Thornton was in CT for a conference in April, 2013. Also another special MeetUp was organized for Scott Hayes in December of 2014.
MeetUps were a very special part of ActiveRain for me, and I for one hope they return on a regular bases like they were before. New ActiveRain members are really missing out on not having experienced at least one of these MeetUps. MeetUps are responsible for me hanging around as long as I have, because of all the friendships I have made, and still hope to make.
By the way you might also notice a picture of me in my ActiveRain T-Shirt. This was not at a MeetUp, but getting an ActiveRain T-Shirt was a special memory, so I thought I would throw it into the collage.