LEISURE

Gaggle Girls group nurtures friendships

Members of the Gaggle Girls on a walk at Miramar Lake. (courtesy of Christina Erdey)

Gaggle Girls group nurtures friendships

Scripps Ranch resident Christina Erdey returned to San Diego after having moved away for 13 years, only to find that her old friends were no longer in the area, and she was left with a sense of loneliness and isolation.

After two years of living back in San Diego, Erdey decided it was time to make local friends, and also help other women find friends as well.

Christina Erdey

In July 2018, Erdey started Gaggle Girls, a social group for women of Scripps Ranch and Poway to meet, connect and engage in conversation. In just seven months, Gaggle Girls has attracted about 140 local women.

“Many people who live in San Diego are not originally from here,” Erdey said. “That, combined with the rise of primarily communicating through social media channels and the virtual digital world, people are losing the in-person connection that is important to socializing. ‘Non-digital’ socialization is needed to cultivate authentic friendships.”

Erdey has organized meet ups such as monthly outings to Yanni’s Bar & Grill, and monthly gatherings at the Scripps Poway Parkway Starbucks she calls “Coffee and Conversation.” Saturdays at 9 a.m. (except the third Saturday of each month), she also invites women to join Gaggle Girls on a walk at Miramar Lake. It was during one of these walks that Erdey came up with the name for the group, inspired by the geese at the lake.

“A gaggle is a flock of geese and they were gaggling away, just like we were, so I thought it made sense,” Erdey said.

While she leads in the organization of larger group events, Erdey still encourages all women who join Gaggle Girls to connect with each other individually, to engage outside of the group activities and to cultivate meaningful personal relationships.

“My ultimate goal is to just create a positive, nurturing environment that is all-inclusive and supportive,” Erdey said.

Gaggle Girls is varied in its members, but is made up of single women, women with and without kids, and mostly women between the ages of 35 and 70. Erdey wants to encourage younger women to participate in Gaggle Girls and take advantage of the wisdom and advice the diverse group possesses.

“Right now, I am completely focused on creating the baby steps that it takes for women to build authentic relationships with each other inside of this group,” Erdey said. “We women are too hard on ourselves and tend to have a negative voice in our head telling us that we don’t measure up in so many ways, so we need to create positive relationships with others to encourage each other.”

Gaggle Girls is a passion project for Erdey. While she earns no income from it, puts in several hours organizing events and maintains the Facebook page, Erdey feels tremendous satisfaction putting it all together and seeing the joy in the participants faces.

“People saying thank you to me is payment enough,” she said.

When she’s not helping cultivate relationships among women, Erdey spends time with her husband Jacques, who she said is just as adventurous and young at heart as she is. Jacques is a software engineer who is dedicating his free time to building the future Gaggle Girls website. Erdey is a self-employed information technology instructor.

To learn more about Gaggle Girls and upcoming events, visit facebook.com/GaggleGirls.

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