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Thu, Sept. 19

Singles in Business meet for networking, socialization

Ten members of the Singles Business meetup group gathered recently at Applebee's in Prescott for a networking lunch meeting. Standing from left are: Nancy Ibsen, Vera Foss, Roger Skaggs, Carole Danhires and Pauline Hardy. Seated, from left are: Bobbie Knorr, Max West, Sherri Barnes, Betty Parsonage and Nadia Clark.<br>
Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz

Ten members of the Singles Business meetup group gathered recently at Applebee's in Prescott for a networking lunch meeting. Standing from left are: Nancy Ibsen, Vera Foss, Roger Skaggs, Carole Danhires and Pauline Hardy. Seated, from left are: Bobbie Knorr, Max West, Sherri Barnes, Betty Parsonage and Nadia Clark.<br> Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz

Single people in the Quad-City area don't have to join dating services to enjoy the company of others like themselves. The local Singles in Business meetup group provides opportunities from networking lunch meetings to kayak trips.

Prescott Valley Broker/Realtor Vera Foss started the group in April 2008, and already it's a hundred members-strong.

"It's a great forum for people who are business-minded to meet new people, have fun events in a group setting, make new friends, network, and possibly meet your 'soulmate,'" Foss said.

They've had 115 meetups both indoors and outdoors, mostly at restaurants, theatres, parks and members' homes. Thirty people attended the Memorial Day potluck and participated in an impromptu ping-pong tournament. So far, Foss is the undisputed table tennis champ, but she welcomes challengers.

The most popular events seem to involve potlucks. But other offerings include trips to Watson Lake for kayaking, hikes at Lynx Lake and West Clear Creek, bowling, nightclub dancing, game nights, film festivals and more, with from seven to 30 people attending.

"It's not structured," Foss said. "We schedule events month by month, but we're all too busy to have a certain schedule. Sometimes we do things on short notice, such as go to a movie."

At some events, members have contributed items for the Yavapai Food Bank, "to give something back to the community as a group," Foss said.

Members, who are widowed, divorced or never married, can feel free to call other members to pair up, or do things in smaller groups, as well.

"You can have quality time with other people without feeling obligated in any way, so you can ease into getting to know somebody," she said.

Foss is a veteran when it comes to singles' groups. She started and ran Tri-City Singles for seven years. She said that group was going strong when she ended her association because she was in a relationship at the time.

"This is a different atmosphere, people with different goals and ambitions," Foss said. "We call the group 'movers and shakers' because we always make things happen."

With the time of business people limited, it's helpful to meet to network or conduct business while doing something fun, she noted. And many events don't cost anything but gas to get there or food for the potluck.

Also, the group is online as a meetup, so it's not limited to people from the area.

"If someone is coming to town, they can look us up on the Website and join in," Foss said.

Ten members met this past week at Applebee's in Prescott for the first business networking lunch, with both charter and new members introducing themselves in "60-second promotions" and handing out business cards.

Their backgrounds are diverse and eclectic. Some are brand new to the area, while others have lived here for 20 years or more.

Charter member Roger Skaggs is a home and commercial building inspector who owns "Inspect-It 1st." Max West uses his technical background to build "living Websites."

Bobbie Knorr has been selling items on Ebay through her business, "Made in America Only," for 12 years. Pauline Hardy, retired now, ran her own coffee shop next to Knott's Berry Farm.

Nadia Clark teaches French, Emotional Freedom Technique, and has a picture framing business, "Frames A La Carte." Carole Danhives rents her condo in Rocky Point to vacationers and runs a staging, home organizing business, "Housekeeping by Design."

Nancy Ibsen moved to the area from Washington just three weeks ago. A creative tutor/mentor, she runs a home-based internet business doing 3-D modeling for games, but also teaches painting, singing and writing. Her Website is throughlinedesign.com.

A registered nurse, Sherri Barnes also does home health care. Betty Parsonage is an expressive art therapist, full-time student and writer who came to the meeting to propose a group cruise to Mexico.

Hardy found out about the group from a friend and joined "to meet new people" and because she "loves to dance."

West, naturally, found the Website while looking for meetups.

"There are not a lot of organized things for people in the 50-to-60 age bracket to do. Not everyone is looking to get married," West said.

Knorr stressed socializing as her reason for joining in October.

Danhives said she especially enjoyed the Halloween party, with its "Rocky Horror Picture Show" theme.

"That's because you won for best costume," someone teased.

"I did?" Danhives responded, looking confused.

Even though they're new friends, the members' enthusiasm is obvious.

"It's been a fun experience and I see the results in people's faces when they get together, what they're accomplishing," Foss said.

For more information, visit the Website at: www.singles.meetup.com/2039, or call Vera Foss at 928-775-3535.

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