The Baltimore Singles Network (BSN), previously Single Professionals' Network (SPN), evolved from Single Professionals of Maryland, started in 1987 as a series of informal cocktail parties at the home of a recently divorced woman. Since 1990 it has been essentially in its present form, as a means for single people to network with others in a low-pressure, activities- oriented atmosphere.
The Network is designed to be flexible, inexpensive, rewarding, and FUN. Suggestions for improvement are welcome, and commendations or constructive criticisms are always appreciated. We encourage members to get involved ACTIVELY, by sponsoring events, providing information, and attending activities. This is YOUR network. YOU can help to make it what YOU would like it to be.
This organization originated as Single Professionals of Maryland. According to its newsletter, Volume II, Issue 5, dated May 1988, it was founded by a recently divorced woman named Lois, who started by having cocktail parties every few months. The first major party was in April of 1987. As of May, 1988, there were over 300 members. The goal of the organization was "to provide college educated, positive minded, professionals a myriad of ways in which to interact". Activities were "designed for both professional and social networking in a 'no pressure' atmosphere". The newsletter subscription cost $15 per year, parties cost $20 each, and the membership fee was $60 per year. My last newsletter for this organization was dated April 1989.
My first contact with the Single Professionals' Network (SPN) was through a newsletter dated May 1990. At this time, Lois was listed as a director of "Adventures in Pleasant Living", which sponsored several events. The main contact person for SPN was John. Later newsletters suggested that membership was open to all (professional) single persons, or that the only requirement was to make one copy of the newsletter for a friend, or bring a friend to an event. The network's purpose was stated to be "solely to inform network members of what events are open to them". Membership, defined as receiving the newsletter, extended six months after last attendance at an event.
In the September-November 1991 Newsletter, it was announced that John would be moving to California, and would not be able to continue to publish the newsletter. At that time I volunteered to take over this responsibility. I had not been very active in the Network, but knew several people in it. Since that time, I have attended and sponsored many events, and have seen the database grow from about 500 records to nearly 2800 at present. Since June of 1992, about 100 questionnaires have been returned, and our policy of annual membership fees, started in January of 1993, has resulted in over 200 members. The overall mailing list this quarter was about 300.
Starting in January, 1994, we changed our name to Baltimore Singles Network. This name was thought to indicate more accurately the present composition of the group, which is very diverse in terms of occupation. The average age of those who responded to our questionnaires remains about 40, but my observation of people at activities indicates that most people in attendance are in their mid to late forties. We do have a considerable number in their late twenties, as well as many in their fifties or sixties. Attendance at events is usually 15 to 30 people, but may be as many as sixty or more, especially when combined with other groups or when advertising is extensive.
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At one time, we considered a service by means of which members could locate and contact other members according to certain criteria based on the information in the general database. The database contains last and first names, address, city, state, zip code, public and private phone numbers, first contact information, membership status, membership date, most recent activities attended, date modified, and expiration date. This service was never promoted or used, but is still available if anyone is interested.
To make use of this service, the DATABASE SEARCH criteria (M/F,
ZIPCODE, EXP DATE) may be submitted to the database manager, who
will determine the number of matching records. The interested
member may then submit suitable material WITH ADEQUATE POSTAGE,
and the database manager will create labels and mail the information.
A moderate fee may be charged to cover costs of labels and handling.
The steering committee has the right to examine and reject any
The following service was proposed several years ago, and the only action taken was the mailing of several hundred questionnaires over a period of about one year. About 100 were returned, but data was not entered in database format. The following description is offered as a starting point for a possible future service, with refinements and changes in light of the rapid emergence of the Internet. Suggestions and comments are welcome.
"An expanded service may be offered by the Network in the future. A comprehensive questionnaire may be mailed to all people on the BSN mailing list, and possibly others, with questions about personal interests and vital statistics. Members of the service would be able to access this database by supplying DATABASE SEARCH criteria as outlined above, or by purchasing an abbreviated copy of the database in dBase III+ compatible format on IBM PC compatible media, or in printed form, for ones own use. The distributed copy would only include FIRST NAME, ZIP CODE, all personal interests and vital statistics, and a CODE NUMBER. If a member wishes to contact someone in the database, he or she would submit the CODE NUMBER, a nominal processing fee, and a posted letter, which will be forwarded to the selected member."
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An ADVERTISEMENT for the printed newsletter may be submitted at least TWO WEEKS BEFORE the newsletter meeting. Ads are FREE for ACTIVE members. For all others it is $0.25 per word, 20 word minimum. The steering committee reserves the right to edit or reject any ad for any reason.
Personal ads in the BSN web page will be accepted FREE for members. Non-members must become members by paying $10 or by sponsoring an activity, and submit actual mailing address and phone numbers. Preferred method of submission is by E-mail, or computer disk. ASCII text, HTML, and Microsoft Word formats are acceptable. E-mail addresses should be used for responses. If you do not have E-mail, you may use the club's address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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House parties are one of the most popular activities sponsored by BSN. They are inexpensive ways to meet other single people in a comfortable atmosphere. In order to make them continue to be successful, some guidelines should be observed. Please remember that you are a guest in someone's home, and respect their furniture and other belongings. Smoking is discouraged, but may be permitted in designated areas or outdoors at the discretion of the host or hostess.
When bringing food and beverages to share, please try to be reasonable. If you will be partaking of the food at the party, you should bring food worth at least $3, or a prepared dish, or an additional fee of $5. If you will not be eating, this requirement may be waived or adjusted. We appreciate the time and expense some people put into dishes they prepare and share with members of the Network.
Alcoholic beverages are generally not provided, although sometimes wine, beer, etc. may be made available for moderate consumption. Generally, you should bring your own alcoholic beverages for your own use, or to share with others if you wish. DO NOT take advantage of other people's generosity by bringing a bottle of soda, and then drink their more expensive alcoholic beverages.
We are particularly in need of volunteers for house parties in
the Towson, Cockeysville, and Parkville areas. We will supply
ice, paper goods, and assistance in setting up before and cleaning
up after. We will also reimburse the host or hostess for special
food platters, incidental expenses, and cleaning services, generally
not to exceed $2 per guest. Please call any steering committee
for more information.
The following guidelines were drawn up by a house party committee in May of 1994. Although the original group is no longer active, individual members may volunteer to perform this function at house parties as required. House party volunteers receive the benefit of free admission to the party, and one year membership in BSN. Volunteers must coordinate with the host or hostess in advance of the party, and must be willing to purchase and bring supplies, arrive early, keep things under control during the event, and stay after to clean up.
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