Happy New Year! In January, Mensa Connect expanded its reach to all members via Local Group Communities. Previously, Local Groups had to specifically request their own Communities on Mensa Connect (https://www.us.mensa.org/connect/mensa-connect/), and half of our local groups had done so, with three of those in active use. Now all groups have access, and all members are automatically part of the Local Group Communities. The default setting for all members is Daily Digest, so you would only receive one email per day. If you wish, you can change your setting by going to the link above and selecting your community, and clicking the Settings box next to the Community title. There you will be able to change the email frequency to Real Time (so you’ll get all messages as they come in), or No Email (which would still allow you to see any messages by logging in to your Community directly). You can also designate a different email to receive messages, if you wish.
The Communities are a useful tool, with the ability to set up Events and Libraries for local group documents such as Local Group bylaws or meeting minutes. Access to these are limited to active Mensa members assigned to your groups, with the option of adding other members at the discretion of the Community Administrator, which is by default the Local Secretary/President. Non-members are not permitted access to the Communities, so make sure you renew on time!
Tools such as these are only valuable if they are used, so I encourage everyone to make use of this resource. Let me know if you have any questions.
While local groups put their upcoming events on their calendars, some require more advance notice. For instance, CultureQuest XXXI is coming! Registration opens on February 3, with the event itself taking place on May 3. Local Groups can have as many teams as they like, though teams are limited to five participants each (with two alternates). CultureQuest is often inaccurately referred to as a trivia contest, but it relies more on common knowledge than most trivia. It was inspired by the book “Cultural Literacy” by E.D. Hirsch, which posits that most cultures have general knowledge used in communication, regardless of whether the people have specific knowledge about the topic. (For example, almost everyone in Western Culture will understand when you call someone Sherlock or Einstein, even if they’ve never read A.C. Doyle or picked up a physics book.)
Some local groups are VERY serious about this (Central Florida’s “Tragic Kingdom” team has taken the first-place prize for the last six years running!). Others have more fun with it, coming up with the funniest responses they can think of if they don’t know the answers – some of which are read out during the Awards ceremony at the Annual Gathering. And some groups have AfterQuest parties where the whole local group is invited to participate in answering the questions after the official event is over, to see if they would have gotten questions the teams had missed. However your group approaches it, I hope we can get at least one team from each group this year.
Also looking ahead, I encourage you to participate in National Volunteer Week in April, the Tampa Bay Mensa RG in May, and the Annual Gathering in July. I’ve run out of room to provide more detail, so that will come in future columns.
Until next month (or until I see you online),
Thomas George Thomas