In 2009, Laura Thoma-Dickinson was rebounding from a tough breakup and realized, like many other people getting out of a long-term relationship, that she had lost touch with her friends.
She had heard about Meetup.com, an international platform that allows people to create their own groups revolving around a particular interest, from a friend in Virginia.
Thoma-Dickinson of Fort Wayne wanted to get out and meet new people but had no desire to date.
She wanted to try many types of activities and knew there must be other people out there who just wanted to get out for fun.
So the group "Over 21 and Out for Fun" was born.
In the past 4 1/2 years, "Over 21 and OFF" has had more than 500 meetups that include dinners, movies, wine tours, hiking, tea tasting, glass blowing, concerts, camping and book clubs.
"(The group) is open to singles and couples, as it is not for dating, and it offers those that want to get out and do things the option, maybe because their spouse, friends or family just aren't interested in doing the things they enjoy," Thoma-Dickinson says.
And although "Over 21 and OFF" is not meant to be a dating group, there have been three marriages as a result of single people meeting at events, she says.
"My guess is that people feel as if they can be themselves since the 'dating stress factor' is removed," Thoma-Dickinson says. "It's quite the warm fuzzy feeling knowing that something you started indirectly brought two people together."
Thoma-Dickinson says the events are just as diverse as the members who join. There are currently more than 500 members listed.
While the group's minimum age is 21 (because some events involve alcohol), there are members who are in their mid-20s to early 70s.
"The most common thing I hear from people is how diverse, yet cohesive and friendly our group is," says Thoma-Dickinson, 44.
The group does not have a membership fee, and members can pick and choose which events they want to attend. The only cost is the activity itself, although the group does accept donations.
"It allows you to try things out of the ordinary without having to worry about who you can get to go with you," she says.
Want to get involved? Go to www.meetup.com and type in "Fort Wayne." Under the Groups heading, search for "Over 21 and OFF." After you are a member (it's free), you can check out upcoming events and submit your email address to be notified of future events.