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If you’re looking to start your own club or community, you may find inspiration in the story of Ben Franklin’s Junto. Back in the early 1700s, Franklin formed a group of like-minded individuals who would come together to discuss a wide range of topics, from science and philosophy to business and politics.
The Junto served as a platform for its members to share their knowledge, learn from one another, and foster a sense of camaraderie. It’s a model that has stood the test of time, and one that you can use to start your own club today.
Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Define your purpose: Just like the Junto, your club should have a clear purpose or mission. Think about what topics you want to cover, what kind of people you want to attract, and what you hope to achieve through your gatherings.
- Identify your members: Reach out to people who share your interests and invite them to join your club. You can start small and grow your group over time, or cast a wider net and see who responds.
- Set up a schedule: Decide on a regular meeting time and location that works for everyone. It’s important to be consistent so that members can plan ahead and make attending a priority.
- Create an agenda: Before each meeting, create an agenda that outlines the topics you’ll be discussing and any activities or presentations that will be included. This will help keep the conversation focused and ensure that everyone has a chance to participate.
- Encourage participation: The Junto was successful because all members were encouraged to participate and share their thoughts. Make sure to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable contributing.
Interested in learning more? Here are some resources to help you start your own Junto-like club or group:
- “The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters” by Priya Parker – This book offers insights and practical tips on how to create meaningful and transformative gatherings, such as the Junto.
- Meetup.com – This website allows you to search for and join groups that share your interests, including book clubs, discussion groups, and more. You can also use it to start your own Junto-like group.
- Toastmasters International – This organization provides resources and support for public speaking and leadership development, which are essential skills for any Junto member.
Starting a Junto-style club can be a powerful way to engage in lifelong learning, foster deeper connections with others, and improve your critical thinking and communication skills. By following the principles established by Benjamin Franklin, and using the resources and support available, you can create a space for intellectual exploration and growth in your own community.
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