While in Pennsylvania over the holidays, I got up early one Wednesday morning and drove with my dad to visit his “Tip Club,” as I’ve heard him call it. A local chapter of LeTip International, Inc., this particular group of a few dozen business professionals meets weekly for breakfast at the local Moose (or Elk? I can’t remember).
The official purpose of the group is business, of course, making contacts and networking. You pay a fee to join, the group votes on new members, and there can’t be an overlap of professions represented. And it’s a pretty diverse group of folks, I must say, from a lawyer, a funeral director, and a real estate agent, to a printer, a florist, and a dry cleaner, to a landscaper and a guy who works in waste management. My dad, a jack-of-all-trades, is there as a web/social media guru.
We had stayed up a little late the night before the meeting, and my dad said to me a few times, “You really don’t have to go with me in the morning if you don’t want to.” I knew I didn’t have to. I could sleep in if I wanted to. It was vacation after all. But eventually, maybe the third time he mentioned it just before heading to bed, I said, “Dad, do you want me to meet your friends? Is it important to you?” He paused and then finally replied, “Yes.”
Because here’s the thing: this breakfast group is community. What the group has in common, apart from being business professionals, is that they’re all jokesters and a pretty rowdy bunch. For example, once a month each of them pretends to be someone else in the group and gives a little “commercial” for that person’s business. It is funny. It is creative. And it’s a bit raunchy at times.
But they’re also a sincere group. One of the first flower arrangements to arrive after the death in our family on Christmas morning was from LeTip. The funeral director who took care of our family was from LeTip. Sitting a few rows behind me at the memorial service was someone I’d met at LeTip.
This is community, friends.
And I know you’ve got similar stories.