Find Your Crowd March 3rd, 2016 You might think you’re weird, but Akron is chock full o’ nuts by Chris Horne Whether you’re new or native, Akron has many eclectic and diverse groups to join if you’re trying to connect with folks who share your interests. Here’s our totally non-exhaustive list, from people who drink then run then drink to geeks who drink and play trivia to young professionals groups, who we also suspect drink and do things. Are you young, professional, community-minded? Portage Lakes Young Professionals – Yes, if you’re young and looking to connect and network with Akron’s future community builders and innovators down in Portage Lakes then this YP bunch provides plenty of opportunities through meetings and events. But prepare yourself because they can get rowdy in the PLX. Where else would you expect to find the Polar Bear Jump, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House this year (Feb. 20). Follow them on Facebook by visiting facebook.com/PortageLakesYP Torchbearers – Part of Leadership Akron, this young professionals group is an excellent launchpad for community leaders in-the-making. For example, Kyle Kutuchief, who recently became the Akron program director for The Knight Foundation, and Nicole Mullet, who recently took lead of ArtsNow, are a couple of the Torchbearers success stories. So, if you’re between the ages of 25-40 and love helping the Akron community, Torchbearers is the group for you. It’s a selective bunch, though. Each year, only 40 individuals are chosen for each class. Check out torchbearersakron.com for more information. Young Black Professionals Coalition Young Black Professionals Coalition – This non-profit organization of Akron’s young black professionals focuses on the personal, professional and social development of the community’s future leaders, including high school and college students. And whether hosting a kickball tourney or a bowling night for youth, the YBPC throws some of the coolest events in the area while raising money for great local causes. That’s because they’re trying to develop the overall person so their members can better pursue their individual and collective passions. Learn more at ybpc.info or follow them on Twitter and Instagram – @ybpc_akron. Young Professionals of Akron – Their philosophy is simple: The more young professionals are invested in Akron, the more likely they are to stay here and call Akron home. Membership is open and includes a bevy of benefits, including the Rubber City Rewards Card with special discounts and deals at local businesses, members-only events, the DAP’s Do Downtown Card and access to the YPA Membership Directory. Join them online at ypakron.org/join Are you active and fun-lovin’? Akron Bike Party – A festive evening social ride through the city every third Friday of the month at 7:30 pm that meets at the Coffee Pot Cafe downtown. Bring lights and music then watch those 10-12 miles just roll by. Best yet, these cycling weirdos have a different theme every month, like January’s Star Wars and upcoming treats like the Zombie Prom, Island Shirts, Devo, The Cure and Easy Rider. Learn more at facebook.com/akronbikeparty Akron Hash House Harriers – Feeling athletic but can’t put your beer down? Join the Akron HHH, which is a noncompetitive running organization in Akron. Members of the Akron HHH run together, drink together, and have fun together. Join them at their next social hour on January 21 at 2pm at Jilly’s Music Room. After the social hour, they will be taking a run at 3pm. Visit akronhash.com for a schedule of events. Dance Dance Party Party, Akron – Sorry fellers, this is a ladies only jam. What exactly do they do? Well, this group of women gets together twice a month to dance for an hour without judgment, booze or nasty dudes hitting on them. Or even swell guys hitting on them. Again, this dance party is for the femmes. More info at ddppakron.wordpress.com Free Akron Yoga – The name sorta says it all. This community gets together at the Church of Our Saviour (471 Crosby St., Akron) every Tuesday at 7 pm, except around the holidays, to practice yoga for free. This year marks their fifth annual Summer Solstice Yoga Festival. facebook.com/FreeAkronYoga NEO Flat Track Roller Derby – Admire the ladies of the flat track roller derby but not quite sure you’re ready to step into the ring? Learn how to skate like a pro with the help of the NEO Roller Girls who’ll teach you some of the skills they use. Join them Monday nights from 7-9pm. For $5, they’ll prove you with all the equipment you need, as well as a kick-ass workout. For more information, email@example.com Are you a smart, creative and/or entrepreneurial cookie? Akron Inventors Club – Bring your ideas to life with help from this group, which is dedicated to providing educational resources to the inventing community. They can help you develop a business and commercialize products, and increasing inventors’ business skills while promoting awareness of intellectual property tools and encouraging honest and ethical business practices among industry service providers. More at meetup.com/akron-inventors-club Akron Women in Tech. Photo by Svetla Morrison. Akron Women in Tech (WIT) – If you’re a woman interested in learning how to code, join Akron Women in Tech, whose mission is to solve the gender gap in Akron through this organization. Doesn’t matter what your day job may be or if you don’t think of yourself as a tech-savvy person, WIT is all about helping you give it a shot in a welcoming and inclusive environment. Sign up for their newsletter by visiting meetup.com/Akron-Women-In-Tech Launch League – If you have, or are interested in having, a scalable startup — whether software as a service, mobile and web apps, consumer hardware and what have you — the Launch League, which is free, can help. Great folks, as long as you don’t mind bearded dudes with rhyming names. Learn more at launchleague.org Geeks Who Drink Trivia – This Denver-based company hosts bar trivia in over 600 pubs in 35 states, now including Jilly’s Music Room every Tuesday from 8-10pm. If you are a geek and you drink and you like trivia, chances are good, you’ll find fellowship here. Follow their events by visiting the Facebook page of Jilly’s Music room at facebook.com/JillysMusicRoom. Techno Innovative Leaders Entrepreneurs (TILE) – If this sounds like you, or the kind of person you want to be around/become then dig this: TILE exists to bolster the potential of motivated individuals through the support of a vibrant community, experience and collaboration. Akron has long been home to innovation and daring entrepreneurs, so if you want to add to that legacy, give TILE a shot at meetup.com/tile-akron Techtini Tuesdays – An outgrowth of the Launch League community, Techtini Tuesdays bring together the nerds and tech wizards of Akron every Tuesday evening from 5-6 pm for happy hour at Jilly’s Music Room in Akron. Then some of them probably stick around for Geeks Who Drink Trivia. Visit bit.ly/TechtiniTues for more information. 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