Get Stitched // The Stitch Blog

It's Stitch's 10 Year Birthday

Celebrate Stitch’s 10 Year Anniversary With Us! #worldcommunityweek

That’s right, it’s been ten years since we first started Stitch! Can you believe it?

Stitch — or at least the idea that would eventually become Stitch — was officially launched on March 11, 2014, when I wrote a blog article about dating and relationships for older adults, and asked for feedback on a new idea we had for something better.

(The original article was published on an old site that no longer exists, but we re-published the article when the Stitch blog was created a few months later, so if you’re interested in reading it you can find it here.)

The article received thousands of comments, which told us we were on to something.

We immediately set to work on building Stitch.

Once we had built the first basic version of the Stitch website, we knew we needed to kick-start the community somehow. We publicised and held two large “launch” party events for the community in both Sydney and San Francisco, the two cities where our team was based at the time.

But while those events were great, they weren’t the sort of member-driven community activities Stitch members are familiar with today.

The very first true “Stitch activity”, promoted solely to Stitch members via the Stitch website, was held in a small cafe in a part of Sydney called Kirribilli, just near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was history in the making.

First Sydney Community Event
The very first "Stitch Activity"

Joining me and Sophie from the Stitch team were four of the very first members of the community. You might even recognize a couple of them!

Jay (2nd from the right) later went on to join the Stitch Support team, and has helped support tens of thousands of members over the years. If you’re a member of Stitch, chances are Jay has helped you at some point.

And Vivien (2nd from the left) became one of our very first Community Champions, helping start a monthly “Mix & Mingle” welcome event for new members that really helped get the community in Sydney going — and is still running today. 

They both exemplify what we thought Stitch could be from the very beginning: members helping create the very community they wanted Stitch to become. I look back on that photo now and think it’s totally awesome.

From little things, big things grow

It’s astonishing to think that the community we know and treasure today grew from such a humble start. 

Since that photo was taken, Stitch has seen over 220,000 members register to the community, and a dazzling variety of events and activities held across tens of thousands of towns, cities, and neighborhoods around the world. .

Members will often ask me how we managed to grow the community to what it is today, and the answer is simple: start small, keep trying new ideas, treasure every single person you meet, believe in what you’re doing, and never, ever, ever — and I mean ever — give up.

We have needed every ounce of persistence we could muster. Getting a community that is created to benefit its members, but incorporates on a sophisticated website and mobile app, to the point it is financially sustainable isn’t easy, and Stitch came very close to being forced to close its doors on more than one occasion. 

The two years of COVID were particularly difficult, for so many reasons.

But just like all our members, we made whatever sacrifices were necessary, leaned on each other for the emotional support we needed, and we pulled through together.

Today, Stitch has grown to be a community that covers a more diverse range of interests and activities than I ever dreamed possible: from small coffee get-togethers for 2 people to massive disco dance parties in for hundreds of members. Online games, philosophy, wellness sessions, walks, surfing, yoga, literature, opera, skydiving, cycling, line dancing, pickleball, wine tasting, music, peer-to-peer support, the list just goes on and on. It’s incredible to think of what we have all managed to build together.

I feel like shedding a tear just thinking about it. (A happy tear, of course.)

I also feel like celebrating. Which is lucky, because …

It's Celebration time!

You want to know how we’re going to celebrate, don’t you? Of course you do!

Before I tell you, I first want you to take a look at this selection of photos from across the community over the last 10 years. 

It’s worth clicking in to see each photo in full screen, as they really do capture the spirit of the community. You can swipe to the right to scroll through them quickly.

Keep scrolling to find out about the celebrations!

Amazing, aren’t they?

What’s even more amazing is that those were just a tiny fraction of the photos we’ve received from the thousands upon thousands of Stitch member activities across the community over the last ten years. And they are all amazing.

Did you spot the photos that included Stitch members rocking signs, banners, and even umbrellas to showcase the Stitch message? I hope so, as that leads us to how we’re going to be celebrating our anniversary …

Wearing red & rocking Stitch

I know I disappointed a few members in Sydney who were expecting Stitch to throw a party in Sydney to celebrate our birthday. 

But if you know anything about Stitch, you know we always try to ensure that everything we do makes everyone in the community feel included. Stitch members hosted activities in over 4,700 towns and neighborhoods last year, in dozens of countries. 

If we hosted a party in a single location, or even a dozen locations, it would mean the majority of Stitch members would miss out. And that wouldn’t be true to the ideals of Stitch. 

So instead of hosting a single party that most people wouldn’t be able to attend, we’re doing something that is very “Stitch”. We’re calling on the support of our members to help us host HUNDREDS of parties and celebrations right across the community, all over the world.

Whether you are in a tiny community that’s only just getting started and can only host an activity for one or two people, or in a major Stitch city where you might get hundreds of people to attend, you can be involved!

The video below tells you all about it:

OK, OK, if you don’t like videos, you don’t need to watch it. 

You just need to read this:

World Community Week: What You Need to Know

Here is a summary of what you need to know about World Community Week and Stitch’s 10th Birthday celebrations:

  • World Community Week takes place between the 16th & 22nd of June, 2024
  • Stitch will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary by giving prizes and awards to Stitch members who host or attend World Community Week events during that week
  • Stitch will also donate $10 for every attendee who wears red at World Community Week events to the Stitch Community charity, WipeOutLoneliness.org. What you wear is up to you — it can be something small like a scarf or a hat, or something even more noticeable (like one of the red suits I’ll be rocking that week) — as long as it’s RED! We’ll need the event hosts to send us photos of the event so you can be included in the fun, in particular the prize for the best dressed crowd! 
  • To qualify your event as a World Community Week activity, you simply need to host an activity on Stitch and include one of the following in the event title on Stitch: #worldcommunityweek or #stitch10years. (If your event is titled “Walk in the park”, for example, just update it to be “Walk in the park #stitch10years” or “Walk in the park #worldcommunityweek“)
  • Prizes and awards will be based on the photos of the activity (and their accompanying stories), so get yourself ready to wear lots of red and be as creative as you can about displaying signs, banners, and anything else you can think of that celebrates Stitch!
  • You can order Stitch and World Community Week banners, signs, hats and shirts from the Stitch Store, or else download the designs and make your own

Prizes Prizes Prizes!

To give everyone a bit of extra motivation, we’ll be awarding prizes to the organizers of events in the following categories:

Best Celebration — $100 Prize

Best Photo — $100 Prize

Best Dressed Crowd — $200 Prize!!!

We don’t want you to focus tooooo much on the prizes though. We certainly don’t want anyone feeling disappointed that they missed out, when we know you’ll all be deserving of a prize! It’s really just about the fun we want everyone to have from dressing up and getting involved for a good cause. 

We’ll be sharing photos we receive from every event that takes place during World Community Week, and putting them together in an official photomontage to commemorate the occasion. You don’t want to miss being included!

Dressing up doesn’t need to be difficult, either: you just need to wear red. Here are a few photos from a Stitch event in 2018 where we all did exactly that:

Being celebratory doesn’t have to be hard either, you can start by just throwing your hands in the air:

Of course, if you go above and beyond both those things, you’ll give yourself an even better chance of winning the prizes 😊.

Just remember: make sure you add #worldcommunityweek and/or #stitch10year to the title of your activity to be in the running for the prizes.

So start planning now, and let’s make sure we celebrate 10 years in style!

5 thoughts on “Celebrate Stitch’s 10 Year Anniversary With Us! #worldcommunityweek”

  1. Where is a photo of our event in California celebrating Maya’s birthday?
    One of our first events I believe.

    1. Andrew Dowling

      Hi Regina, great to hear from you! Maya’s birthday was the first time we had members from different cities travelling to meet each other, so it’s definitely a part of history.

      It wasn’t at the very beginning (as the community had to exist in the first place before you could all meet each other) but it was one of those special moments that helped illustrate how amazing the community could be. I don’t have a copy of a photo from your get-together, but if you could send one to me via Stitch, I’d be happy to include it in the gallery!

      By the way, you also played a big role in helping us understand how how Stitch might be able to be relevant to members in small communities too, particularly with things like the organization of the Saratoga Springs event. That had an enormous impact on the philosophy behind the sort of community we wanted Stitch to be. If you’ve got any other photos you would like to share, please send them to me too!

      (In case you can’t tell, I’m terrible at keeping old photos — we’ve been better at keeping photos submitted by members more recently, but I don’t have a great record of the photos of the community from right at the very beginning)

      🧡 Andrew

  2. Agnieshka Kiera

    Thank you Andrew – I’m longing to join in and participate/celebrate. But I’m going away for an extended period of time (until the end of August) and think I should join then when I will be able to participate.

  3. Agnieshka Kiera

    Thank you Andrew – I’m longing to join in and participate/celebrate. But I’m going away for an extended period of time (until the end of August) and think I should join then when I will be able to participate.

  4. Claudia Wilson

    Great idea and what a way to celebrate.
    10 years, great achievement and well done.
    I’ll be away and would love to have been involved.
    I’m sure there will be many photos to looksee when I’m back.

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