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I created a Google Group for Maintainers and Aspiring Maintainers

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Sunday, June 06, 2021

I'm sure I'm not the only one saddened to see the announcement posted early this Sunday morning that SparkPeople will be shutting down in August.

I want to start by saying that I am very grateful to the people who created SP, and all of the resources they built and maintained that helped me gain my footing in health and wellness. I did start out in 2009 using the food tracker / nutrition pie chart, and reading the articles, and participating on the teams, and my life is much richer for it. This has been a very special place on the internet, a community of overwhelming positivity, and having been a part of it has deeply touched me and influenced who I am, today.

If you read the announcement carefully, you'll see that they're asking people to join FB, "as we work to build community features on SparkAmerica." So it sounds like there isn't currently a community platform for anyone over there, even people from the US. I personally find FB as a platform too toxic and ephemeral for my taste, so I created an alternative this morning.

I've created a Google Group so we can continue supporting maintainers and aspiring maintainers. Please note that EVERYONE presumably aspires to maintain - even if that day may seem far off. The AG&M+TM team has been inclusive, and the Google Group is too. Please don't feel like you have to be "at or near goal" to join! Just have maintenance on the horizon, even if you're just preparing early.
Here's the URL:

Note: If you have trouble joining using the above link, send me a SparkMail message with your email address and I'll send you a direct "invitation" to join, via email.

Feel free to share the link, join, use it as needed, to replace the AG&M+TM team, which apparently will be going away. It won't be the same as SP, but at least we can continue our connections in an email and forum-based place.

I see no reason why the Hall of Fame and challenges cannot continue; they're on Google Docs, anyway!

This community is what has made SP so special. It's the only reason I came back, when it became technically feasible. These days I track my food and my activity elsewhere; I get my fitness and nutrition information elsewhere. It's the PEOPLE, from all over the globe, and the connections we have built over decades that I cherish. I'm not going to just let that disappear, without trying to find a way for us to stay in touch, on a platform that is about communication, and positive support.
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Edited to add a link to the landing page for the Group:
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    46 days ago
    Thanks for doing this! I just sent the request to you via my PC...thought I did it via my iPad the other day but I don't think it worked now that I looked over the link on my computer! :) Another thing to learn! Which is OK...teamwork makes the dream work!
    48 days ago
  • JUNETTA2002
    Thanks for sharing
    52 days ago
    Thank you
    52 days ago
    The news of Sparks closing as we have come to know it ... emoticon
    53 days ago
    Thanks for the info!!
    53 days ago
    So grateful that you started this Google Group to keep us challenged and motivated!
    53 days ago
    Thank you!!
    54 days ago
    Hey ๐Ÿ‘‹ just a thought there are other alternatives besides F.B. Look into Zoom as a possible group setting as well as Rumble. These are considerably safer F.B. Is risky. Thank you for all your doing it is a shocker after all these years in Spark since 2010. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    55 days ago
  • BOSS61
    So I have been a SP frequent flyer for a decade; many of you have seen my blogs. The social fabric of SP works for some people. Many more depend on the nutritional database, which seems irrevocably doomed to go poof into oblivion.

    Thanks for doing the hard work to set this up for people interested.
    55 days ago
    As someone who defected from Facebook, I'm happy to see there is an alternative. Thank you for creating the group! I just hope we can find a way for our Daily Check In threads as we did here. Those have been the most beneficial things for me here on SP, and I've made many on-line friendships that I value.
    55 days ago
    I think I already responded to a request to join this group. I also want to stay in touch, but not on FB. I will not use Spark America on FB. I agree with others; FB is too toxic. That's one thing I've enjoyed here was the lack of meanness/discussion about the election, Corona Virus and vaccine, etc. It was nice to have a relief from all that. Also, for those of you who want to keep in touch with me, send me an email here before SP closes down, and I'll give you my personal email. Some of you, I've become to know quite well (as well as we can online), and I don't want to lose touch with you. I have a Fitbit, and have the app on my phone. I may just use it for tracking my food and exercise. I synced my Fitbit with SP, but it hasn't always worked so well.
    55 days ago
    Thank you for the option of the Google group. I am contemplating how to move forward. It's so disheartening. I requested to join the FB page but I have been minimally on FB since the 2016 election and all the dissension that was created. Don't need that stress.
    55 days ago
    Yep - the real reason I'm on spark is for the friendships I've made. I've sent in my request to join.
    55 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    55 days ago
    Thank you. I need a plan B! Thank you for setting that up!
    55 days ago
  • NEWNANCY2012
    Thank you - I un-joined and then rejoined with my SP ID - I will get a chance to learn how to use this Google group. I used my nancyleeghantous@google.com account
    55 days ago
    Thank you so much appreciate what you have done :)
    55 days ago
    Thank you, Joined.
    55 days ago
  • MRSM84
    This community is exactly why I came back as well! I deleted MFP and added SparkPeople because I remembered all of the amazing people and support over here. I joined the Google Group and I'm hopeful for the future :) . I'm just glad we will still have a way to keep intouch with each other :) .
    56 days ago
    Thank you for doing this and like others, I cannot seem to be able to join your group as is. Perhaps when you get a chance, a step by step instruction may help a bunch of us at once.

    I just checked and magically, I'm on!
    Thanks again.
    56 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2021 5:14:05 PM
    While I've only been actively involved in SP groups and challenges for about 5 and half years, in spite of being a SP member for more that 10 and a half years, I have made MANY friends and would hate to lose my connection to them. As a Canadian, I don't even have the option of joining the new site from the comments that I read on the article (thanks for sharing that link) the new site is "cold". I haven't used FB in years and I'm not sure that option is even open to me because I'm outside the US. I'll definitely be checking out the google group. Thanks so much for making a way for at least some of us to remain connected. My social activities shut down 15 months ago and being able to connect with my groups and be involved in challenges has helped to fill that social void even if only online.
    56 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1884311
    Thank you so much, Anja! I jumped the gun a minute ago with a comment on that blog asking about the Facebook alternative. You're right, of course. Facebook is not a great platform. I'm on there occasionally, but only for my business and one other thing. You have to be very careful about accepting friends there cause it's always hacked.
    With your opening the Google Group, there will probably be others doing the same for their teams. With luck, it will sustain everyone during this change and beyond. emoticon
    56 days ago
    Thank you for doing this. I am trying to do as little as possible with Facebook, for many reasons, although I stay on for the cancer groups. I am glad to have a non-FB alternative.
    56 days ago
    I tried joining the Google group but it gave me an error. I've always used my yahoo account for Spark so I might not be recognized. Facebook groups just don't do the same thing for me! Meanwhile, I'll be looking for an alternative blogging venue.
    56 days ago
  • GLORYB83
    Thank you so much for sharing the alternatives. I won't join on the FB one for the same reasons as you. As for your group on Google, that is wonderful of you to start it up but I won't be joining. I wouldn't have the same friends I do on SP and at almost 86, I treasure their friendships and daily chats - that is my lifeline to staying 'afloat'.
    56 days ago
    Thank you for providing this "lifeboat" alternative
    56 days ago
    What a nice positive approach to a very sad unexpected surprise. I am very sad. I am Canadian so the new platform is not even an option for me. I guess I'll be moving on to Fitness Pal. I can hardly express how I'm feeling right now. I was able to join the link but soon discovered I don't belong in the group either. You can delete me. I wish you well in your future endeavors.
    56 days ago
    Yes, we all have contributed our part to making SparkPeople the kind, supportive, knowledgeable haven we've enjoyed over the years. We can do this elsewhere too!

    Thx so much for starting up the Google Group!

    56 days ago
    Just stunned and sad.
    56 days ago
    I tried going to your link but it says I need permission to join the group.
    56 days ago
    There's no way I'll ever to facebook, so that counts me out. I am very sad to lose contact with all my friends here.
    56 days ago
    I am sad.
    56 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11945874
    Thank you so much for sharing- and for providing an alternative. I am occasionally on FB---though not present much. There is just too much 'garbage' and toxic material. (I only tuned in to a few friends, some from sparks)........ I value and have come to love my spark friends, many of which I have known since 2012 when I joined. I DO want to stay in touch as much as possible, .... I appreciate all your work and making this link available.
    56 days ago
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