Columbians get involved with

Sunday, July 5, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 4:32 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 5, 2009
Members of Coffee and Games and More, a Meetup group, share a laugh as they try out the board game Rummikub for the first time June 27 at It's a Grind coffee shop. From left are Christine Goyette, Pamela You, Colleen Brown, Kate Brown and Greg Leonard. The group has been meeting and playing games since November. "We always laugh so much, we always have fun," Leonard said.

COLUMBIA — When Christine Goyette moved from Germany to Jackson, Mo., in 2006, she knew one person: her husband.  

“It was really hard for me to have left Germany and to come here not knowing anybody, and to basically start from ground zero,” she said. groups

Columbia Law of Attraction Meetup Group

  • 34 members

Columbia Raw Food Meetup Group

  • 72 members
  • Organized by Jane Smith
  • Phone: 875-8787
  • E-mail:

1960s Chi Mu Fijis

  • 22 members
  • Organized by John Putnam

Columbia Atheists

  •  47 members
  •  Organized by Greg Lammers
  • Phone: 289-7633
  • E-mail:  

Columbia Italian Language Meetup Group

  •    9 members
  •  Organized by James

Alpine Shop Outdoor Adventures

  •  28 members
  •  Organized by Brennan VanMatre

The Columbia Network Marketing Meetup Group For NUTRAZON

  •  1 member
  • Organized by Mike Bell

20’s and 30’s in CoMo

  • 25 members
  • Organized by Sarah Wells-Morgan
  •  E-mail:

Columbia Tennis Meetup Group

  • 10 members
  • Organized by Wayne Blinne

Columbia Singles Meetup Group

  • 113 members
  • Organized by Mark Potts
  • E-mail:

Columbia Dog Lovers Meetup Group

  • 151 members
  • Organized by Kim

Boone County, MO:  Libertarians and Campaign for Liberty

  •  99 members
  • Organized by Glenn Nielson
  • Phone: 777-7908
  • E-mail:
  • Web site:

Coffee and Games and More

  • 61 members
  • Organized by Colleen Brown

The Columbia Byron Katie Meetup Group

  •  22 members
  • Organized by Christine Goyette
  • E-mail: cg@

Along Life Travels

  • 5 members
  • Organized by Justin Cobb
  • Phone: 529-9336
  • E-mail:

Circle of the Morning Star

  •  5 members
  •  Organized by Brian Daniels

Columbia Walking and Hiking Club

  • 81 members
  • Organized by Christine Goyette
  • E-mail: cg@

Hot Mamas of Mid-Mo and Our Lil Cuties

  • 27 members
  • Organized by Jackie Minor
  • Phone:  480-5382
  • E-mail: Jacqueline.Minor@SlumberParties.Com

Plan B Ecovillage

  • 30 members
  • Organized by Liz
  • E-mail:

Callaway Citizens for FairTax Meetup Group

  • 7 members
  • Organized by Beverly Martin
  • E-mail:

Central Missouri Riders

  • 105 members
  • Organized by Tammy
  • E-mail:

The Freedom Campaigns – Missouri

  • 22 members
  • Organized by Dan Sexson
  • Phone:  636-936-0955


Goyette decided to take initiative, meet people and make friends in her new hometown.

“I knew when we moved I needed to find a different way. …  I did some research when we moved, trying to find a way to meet people in town and find something to do,” she said.

She discovered, a Web site dedicated to interaction all over the world. Founded in 2002 in New York City, the social networking site allows people to locate others with common interests in their communities.

The goal is to revitalize the sense of community around the world using technology available to many people.

Three inventive Internet enthusiasts — Scott Heiferman, Matt Meeker and Peter Kamali — were inspired to create after reading Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone.” 

The 2000 book describes a nation of citizens who have disengaged from community interaction. Putnam, a Harvard political scientist, argued that Americans have backed away from voting, serving on committees and participating in other group activities. 

Heiferman and his friends decided they could do something to change that, to give people a way to reconnect.

“Meetup is not about virtual relationships, but face-to-face, honest-to-goodness interaction between neighbors,” the Web site states.

This is just what Goyette and millions of others around the world are a part of.

The site reaches more than 11,000 cities worldwide, with 5.7 million members participating in groups every week. More than 8,000 topics are available.  

Columbia has 25 meetups on subjects that include the arts, business, hobbies, culture, health, education, technology, science and sports. There are places to discuss politics and religion, rubber stamping and raw food. There are groups for singles, dog lovers, Italian speakers, atheists, bikers and those who practice witchcraft.

Colleen Brown founded the Coffee and Games and More meetup in November. The group meets on Saturdays in a back room of It's a Grind to play Jenga, a game of stacking wooden blocks in towers.

"It is an activity that doesn't put too much pressure on someone in terms of requiring that they talk or interact with strangers,” Brown said.

In January, Goyette founded a meetup group for fans of Byron Katie, and in March, she co-founded a walking and hiking group. Both had immediate success in gaining membership, she said.

Additionally, she has joined six more groups, including a raw food collective and Coffee and Games and More. 

They have become a source of both activity and interaction with real people in the community, she said.

“It is great to see people getting together outside of their homes to come together as strangers and really transform into a group,” Goyette said.

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Maria Oropallo July 5, 2009 | 1:29 p.m.

As a believer in face2face, I'm glad to see so many micro-communities have been formed. As an active member of two local internet forums, I've encouraged and been encouraged to "meet" IRL and they have been wonderful and fun experiences.

Richard Florida's "Rise of the Creative Class" stipulates that the key to economic growth lies in the ability to attract the creative class and finding ways to encourage and nuture micro-communities.

Perhaps these groups will become the basis to exciting new economic, cultural and educational growth of our community.

Thanks for the links - already joined two!

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