Last night we had our highly anticipated Speed Friending event hosted at the Mountain Hub. Initially conceptualized by Dauna Ditson, this event (a twist on Speed Dating) had people paired up with one another in order to strike that initial friendly connection.
With a fear that it might be awkward at first, we made sure to have little trinkets and toys at various stations to help ease anxiousness.
When participants first showed up and registered, we had an “Ice Breaker” bingo game in order to help people mingle while waiting for the event to start.
Plus, to provide a little more “liquid” encouragement, if required, our awesome friends over at Taynton Bay Spirits provided delicious samples of their spirits (you have to try the Ginger Matcha tea infused spirit...ooh and the pickled vodka!)
We wish to thank them again for their generous contribution and to encourage everyone to check out their Distillery conveniently located right next to Kinsmen Beach, below the Station Pub in Invermere.
When Dauna and I were initially planning the Speed Friending event we wondered how awkward it would really be. We thought we would have to be pretty heavy-handed in facilitating the event in order to make people feel comfortable.
In order to combat our perceived awkwardness, we concocted little games, chotskies to tinker with, and had pre-written questions for people to ask one another if the conversation ran dry.
But this simply wasn’t the case.
The brave Speed Friending participants showed up open, excited and willing to put themselves out there to meet new people. And meet new people they did!
From the get-go there was no din in conversation. People excitedly greeted one another, enjoyed the drinks from Taynton Bay Spirits and shared authentic connections.
In fact, we even had a difficult time getting the pairs to move onto the next person after three minutes! This was the “Speed Friending” portion. We paired everyone up and timed their conversations for three minutes, at which time they would move on to the next person ensuring everyone had at least three minutes with everyone else at the event.
We may have been a bit discombobulated in our logistics around this (oh math). But we can successfully say that everyone did, in fact, meet everyone - whether in the timed format, or up at the snack table.
This group of people that came together were incredible and genuine connections were fostered.
We also decided early on to donate any proceeds we made to the Invermere Companion Animal Network. This amazing organization of volunteers has been rescuing, sheltering and rehoming companion animals in the Columbia Valley since 2007. You can find more details at their website: http://www.icanbc.com/.
The reception for this event has been wild. See, even in a small town, it’s easy to stick to our circle of friends. We have our daily lives, work, and routines that keep us in a tight track of continuity with the same people.
As a relative newbie to Invermere, and as a person who has moved around a lot, integrating into a new community takes conscious effort. When you don’t have a built-in circle of friends from grade school, or neighbors you grew up you have to seek out new circles of people and often that can be difficult.
Events like Speed Friending encourage people to step out of their normal circles and meet new people they might not have met anywhere else - whether they are new to town, or not. And I find that exciting! And so did our Speed Friending participants.
Connections were sparked! Friendships were made!
If you are interested in attending a future Speed Friending event, reach out and I’ll add you to our list.
Below are some additional pictures from the Speed Friending Event.