After a long day at work, what could be more perfect than a sunset sail on Lake Michigan filled with newfound friends, learning, loads of laughs, and even potential lovers!? For singles adventure group, Social One, this is just a typical daily outing. I got to head along for the ride (or shall I say, sail!) one Wednesday in early July to experience what Social One (formerly called High Life) is all about, and boy was I in for a treat! Arriving at Dusable Harbor just South of Navy Pier, I was welcomed by gracious Social One coordinator, Laura, who acquainted all the members with each other with cheer and charisma. I must say, the care and attention Social One gives to its members is incredibly impressive! Laura then introduced the group to the welcoming captains and sailors at 3rd Coast Cruising, and we each split up into 3 groups and headed out for a 2.5 hour sailing lesson.
Just as my group was about to leave the dock to begin sailing, sure enough one of the members on our yacht, John, found a dollop of bird poop on his head. This moment set the stage for what the evening would be like: fun, silly, and spontaneous. We began the lesson by learning how to raise and lower the sails by maneuvering the line, wench, and cleat. The captain wanted to ingrain this in our heads so much that he even made us do it with our eyes closed and behind our backs. The person who performed this task fast enough without error got a coupon to use at 3rd Coast Cruising! Such challenges were a mainstay of the evening that kept us engaged and always on our toes. Throughout the lesson, each of us also got to be at the helm (wheel) to steer the yacht, and we also learned how to use the compass to figure out the direction of the wind. Throughout the lesson, Captain Jim taught us sailing vocabulary and routinely quizzed us on these new vocab words. My favorite words to learn were the doghouse (the below deck space for relaxing/sleeping/drinking), the bloodgeun (the part of the boom that you DON’T want to hit you), and the winch (which I couldn’t help but mispronounce; I don’t think any more explanation is required). Anita, one of the Social One members on my boat, had mini fear attacks every time the yacht got out of balance and leaned to its side, to the point where it almost seemed as though the boat would flip over. At this, all the Social One members and crew members not only comforted Anita, but laughed along with her at the adventurousness of the evening.
Overall, the lesson was informative and comprehensive, though what stood out about it was that it was incredibly fun! The Social One members I met were sophisticated, friendly, and outgoing. Social One clearly knows how to connect with the right companies when planning their events. 3rd Coast Cruising offered an exhilarating sailing experience, and the captain of my sail, Captain Jim was goofy, approachable, and knowledgeable about all things sail-related. He and his sidekick veteran (and very attractive) sailors told plenty of jokes along the way, making the process of meeting new people less intimidating and the process of learning to sail less daunting. With the help of Social One staffer, Laura, who made sure her members were comfortable and happy through and through, the overall experience was wonderful.
And to add just a bit more icing to the already delicious cake, the sunset and views of the skyline were jaw-dropping. We could not have gone out on a more perfect evening. Clear blue skies progressed to a blue-purple-orange-yellow sunset sky, which then became a night under the stars with the city of Chicago lighting up in the distance. The lively music coming off Navy Pier provided on-deck entertainment as did the dazzling firework spectacle that topped off the day. During the entirety of this evening, I couldn’t appreciate more the wonderful awesomeness that is Chicago.
Now back to the situation at hand, that of finding a compatible mate…
Social One’s idea is that optimal mate-matching occurs through shared interest and hobbies. It makes the process of dating more natural and human, by getting people together to do the things that they love. Founded in 1996 by Mary Vallone who had moved to Chicago from Wisconsin looking to find quality friends and dates, Social One now has additional offices in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, California, as well as in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Personally, as a current user of online dating sites running the gamut from OkCupid to JDate, among others, I was really impressed by Social One’s innovative approach to singles matching. With online dating, it can be incredibly time consuming to have to go through countless profiles and pictures of individuals, correspond for weeks through email or by phone, only to meet in person and, often times, not feel the connection. Social One seems to make the whole process of meeting people more effective and valuable, in a way that better utilizes one’s precious time. Social One allows its members to pick an event that interests them, choosing from a comprehensive calendar featuring over 50 events per month, ranging from skiing to baseball games, pub crawls to ice cream tastings, and even trips abroad to places like Africa and Thailand. Social One members are thus not only meeting people and socializing but are also doing what they love. Moreover, because Social One has approximately 2000 members in Chicago (and 300 in LA and many more in Indianapolis), there are opportunities to meet a plethora of individuals. Each event brings in both new and old faces, so that members can continue getting to know those they may have met previously, while meeting new people along the way. I would compare Social One more to Meetup.com, due to the face-to-face interaction involved in both groups. Social One, however, is more personal due to the availability and friendliness of the staff, and a bit easier to maneuver since it doesn’t require one to join countless groups and receive a plethora of emails. Every event members want to join in can be chosen on the calendar through one easy click.
It should be noted that this group is made up of primarily adults and professionals in their mid 30’s who have a bit of money and a bit of time to enjoy their life and stay active. Being in my early 20’s, I was by far the youngest attendee of the event, and by many years. This was not so surprising to me due to the fees involved in both being a member and participating in the plethora of activities. I only wish more groups like this existed for recent college graduates like myself!
So what do the members themselves have to say about Social One?
One of the sailors in my lesson, a new member to Social One named Pat (who hails all the way from Northwest Indiana!), informed me that she joined because she found there were so many things she wanted to do but had a hard time finding people to do them with. With most of her friends married, she wanted to start being more involved, having fun, and simply “enjoying life.” When I asked her what she thought of her
first event as a member, she happily stated, “I really enjoyed this!”
Dev Chakrabarty, who has been a member for nearly three and a half years, didn’t join the site for dating, unlike some of the other members. He joined it to meet people and find friends to do events with, though he has also dated a couple of people through Social One. His favorite activities with the group have included driving a helicopter, skydiving, hang-gliding, and canoeing. “Most of these are expensive to book on my own, plus planning with friends is hard,” Dev informed me. With Social One, he can leave work at 5, and at 6, find himself sailing on the lake under the warm summer sky, surrounded by single people who share in his interests.
Anita Lester, a member who joined only two weeks ago, has already attended 4 events and has already met a couple people men she is interested in. When I asked whether she’d suggest it to others, she stated surprisingly, “Oh, I’ve already recommended it to 3 of my friends…they’re all just really jealous [of me]!”
John seems to have said it just right when he stated, Social One “stacks the deck in your favor…you meet the kind of people you want to meet.” From the boat deck to the Social One deck, I must say, I had one unforgettable evening with Social One Adventures!
To learn more about Social One adventures, visit their website at https://www.socialone.com/ or call 800-600-FUNN (3866)
Published on Jul 13, 2011