What is Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa?

cbrlogo2Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa is a local chapter of an international “round table” society for the highly intelligent that makes no distinction as to race, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, economic, educational or social status. We are chartered by American Mensa, Ltd. to operate in and around Charlotte, North Carolina.  Our local logo represents the Queen City and the Blue Ridge skyline.

What is the purpose of Mensa?

Mensa International has three specific purposes stated in their Constitution:

  • to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity;
  • to encourage research into the nature, characteristics and uses of intelligence;
  • to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members.

The Mensa Education and Research Foundation (MERF) is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Mensa Limited, and addresses the first two purposes. MERF is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and funds both research and scholarship programs.

American Mensa Limited itself is a registered 501(c)(4) not-for profit social organization. Being chartered by (and a part of) AML, Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa is primarily a social group. Our local goal is in that third purpose… to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for our members.

Where is Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa, again?

280Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa (C/BR Mensa) is part of Region 5, which covers Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Specifically, C/BR Mensa operates in areas where the zip code starts with 280, 281, 282, 286 and 297, plus zip codes 27013, 27020, and 27054. That includes all or part of 23 counties from Lancaster (South Carolina) north to the Virginia state line.

It covers almost the entire Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area, including Concord, Gastonia, and Rock Hill, (SC). The counties surrounding Morganton, Lenoir, Wilkesboro, and Boone are included in C/BR Mensa but are not part of the MSA.

Who is in Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa?

Of 133 local groups nationally, C/BR Mensa ranks 46th with a membership over 330. Members range in age from under 18 to 90 or more. Our members work as accountants, bankers, computer programmers, systems analysts, educators, chemical engineers, lawyers, physicians, musicians, occupational therapists, students, homemakers, insurance agents, real estate agents, secretaries, psychologists, and mechanics. A few are even retired. ☺

For avocational interests, computers and literature top the list. But C/BR Mensa also has members who enjoy astronomy, art, aviation, cooking, crossword puzzles, chocolate, ecology, education, economics, golf, genealogy, history, homebrewing, mathematics, motorcycles, mythology, opera, the occult, psychology, parapsychology, physics, flying, science, science fiction, travel, trivia, writing, woodworking, wine, and weightlifting – among other things.

How do Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa members keep in touch?

Our monthly newsletter, IdioM, has been a strong competitor for national Mensa awards. It keeps members in touch by publishing the calendar of events for the month; describing who, what, when and where about past and future events and meetings; and serving as a forum for the many viewpoints of members.

We have our own Facebook Group, Twitter feed, and YouTube Channel, and send event reminders through Constant Contact. You should find link buttons for most of those in the sidebar on the right.

And, you’ve already found our website!

What events do Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa members hold?

Regular events include casual dinner meetings, a business meeting, a speaker meeting with a planned program, Games Night (bring the one you want to play), and seasonal get-togethers for a summer picnic and a holiday party. Special C/BR events in the past have included a Mensa Murder Mystery Weekend at the beach, a celebration of Decadent Decades (including reports on Atlantis and the crumbling of the Berlin Wall), and A Weekend in Ancient Egypt (to see the splendid Ramesses the Great traveling exhibit and to try some mummy-wrapping of our own).

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) — both local and national — provide another way for members to get together. One local favorite is the Gourmet SIG, for those with a special interest in good food. They select a theme for each month, and normally meet (privately) at the home of a member. But some of their events are held in restaurants known for their international or ethnic foods. And every year, one special meeting is built around AMERICAN food – they do the cooking for our annual summer picnic! That’s why they are a local favorite even for the members who don’t attend their other events.

What about starting new events?

We try to make it as easy as we can. Members are welcome – no, encouraged – to plan and hold events of their own. A member says the casual dinner meetings are too far away? We help them contact others in their area to start something closer. Someone wants to start a book club? We’ll help get them in touch with the other heavy readers to organize a meeting. Pub crawl? Tell us when and where, we will help get the word out through the IdioM, Facebook, and Constant Contact.

Sounds Good! How do I get involved?

There are lots of ways.

For a casual way to start, you are welcome to join us at an event and introduce yourself!  The Home Page here will usually show the next event, and the majority of them are open to the public. We don’t mind drop-ins at all! Events that aren’t open should be clearly marked, such as events held at a private home.

For a slightly more gradual method, contact us for information! You can email the current Local Secretary (i.e., the chapter President) at locsec@cbrmensa.org, and they should be able to answer just about any general questions you might have. Event listings will normally include a contact person – typically with an email address, sometimes with a phone number. Touch base with them for information about the event itself, such as how to recognize the group. You are also welcome to contact the Webmaster, at webmaster@cbrmensa.org. I may not know the answer, but I will find out for you!

And eventually, we hope you will decide to investigate membership options. Look under the FAQ menu for pages on who qualifies and how to join. A lot of us are a bit introverted, so we will understand if you just want the monthly magazine. And who knows, the local newsletter might get you interested in meeting us later.