By Shirley

IN considers September the beginning of a new year (following the school schedule in the USA), but IN groups accept new members year around. Groups are not alike. We are not a school that has to follow a curriculum, which means that each conversation group, for example, has a different character. There is nothing wrong with trying different groups. If you don’t like one group, try another one. There is no limit on how many groups you can participate in, but be mindful to choose only those you intend to participate in.

In order to protect our members, IN is asking that all group participants be vaccinated against the Coronavirus. As the pandemic progresses, groups are changing and adapting as fast as they can. Not only groups, but people too have changing opinions on what they feel comfortable with. Some people feel comfortable meeting in person if everyone is vaccinated, while others prefer to meet on Zoom. We respect your opinion. You have a choice: There are groups only meeting on Zoom, groups meeting in person, and groups waiting to decide on how to proceed. IN has made an effort to update the website group descriptions, but groups might change how or when they meet throughout the year. You can read group descriptions in our website: international-neighbors.org.

Peruse or window shop all the categories before choosing a group. Some topic areas have similar groups, like CONVERSATION GROUPS. Other areas might have different choices. For example, SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS are diverse, with hiking, cooking, singing and films. Of course, you need to make sure you don’t join more than one group scheduled for the same time. You don’t really have to worry about not being able to join any group. It is true that some groups are full, but there are a lot of other ones to choose from.

To sign up for a group, you have to be a member of IN. If you haven’t registered yet, click MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION and follow the instructions. If you are already a member, click LOGIN and sign in. You will be asked for your email (the address at which you received this Newsletter) and your password. If you don’t remember your password, you can reset it right there. Once you are signed in, you can go back to the front page and scroll down to “Activities & Groups” or you can use the menu tab in the upper right corner and choose an area you are interested in.  You can watch a video that explains each area, and you can read group descriptions. Once you are ready to make a choice, tap REQUEST TO JOIN. You will see the REQUEST TO JOIN FORM with your personal information already filled in. Scrolling down the form, you will see the descriptions and meeting times for all the groups in that category. Read the descriptions, choose the group or groups you would like to join, and then hit the button to join them. Your request will be sent to the group leaders and they will contact you with a welcoming message and all the information you need (When is the first meeting? Where or how are we meeting? What book are we reading?).

If you still have questions after reading the group descriptions, you can either email the area coordinator or you can come by our International Neighbors  September 23rd gathering, and ask your questions in person.

Here is each area coordinator email:

Conversation Groups: Dale at conversation@international-neighbors.org

Discussion Groups: Lianne at discussion@international-neighbors.org

International Encounters Group: Maja at tea@international-neighbors.org

Reading Groups: Carole at reading@international-neighbors.org

Special Interest Groups: Melissa at interests@international-neighbors.org

Tea Groups: Robyn at  tea@international-neighbors.org

Good luck and I look forward to meeting or seeing you again!