TOPS Online Membership > How to Create or Join a Virtual Chapter

How to Create or Join a Virtual Chapter

Does the idea of meeting with your TOPS friends over Zoom – or another, similar virtual platform – rather than face-to-face, sound appealing? For a lot of us, especially those who keep busy with work, children, or other commitments, it’s a lot easier to fit online meetings in – especially with a tight schedule. Furthermore, online membership of any type is perfect for people who don’t live near in-person TOPS meetings. All you need is an internet connection, along with a computer or mobile device and something like Zoom, and you’re back on your way to better health with TOPS Club. You might even be able to connect with others who share your unique circumstances: Have you been trying keto? What about intermittent fasting? Are you living with Type 2 diabetes? Perhaps you could form a small chapter together online.

The Online Group

Online membership with TOPS involves live meetings offered five times a week – or the opportunity to watch recordings of those meetings at a time that’s most convenient. It’s typically a large group of people meeting all at once, and maybe you like it that way. Sessions are led by a TOPS facilitator, and meetings tend to follow the same format: A lesson or program, and then a “friendship forum,” which is when members are invited to take a few minutes to share their successes and/or challenges of the week. Participation is optional.

The Virtual Option – Not the Same As ‘Online’

For TOPS members, or prospective members, who prefer to meet online but in more of a personal, small, self-directed environment, perhaps a virtual chapter would fill that need.

Virtual chapters operate just like in-person chapters – but members use Zoom, or a similar platform, instead of gathering face-to-face. You can decide how many people are involved in your group, assign roles and positions (web designate, chapter leader, etc.), run your own meetings, and operate independently. You’re still with TOPS, but your group will choose many of the terms, when you’ll meet, the bylaws, how you’ll handle different situations and who will lead.

If you’re having a hard time remembering the distinction between “online” and “virtual,” just think: Online is our bigger, TOPS staff-led group. Virtual is smaller and member-led. There might be more of an opportunity for you to build personal relationships within the virtual setting.

What Else To Know

  • You DO have to be a current TOPS member in order to join or create a virtual chapter.
  • Thinking about starting your own chapter? Here’s where to learn more about that option (in-person or virtually). It helps if you have at least three friends interested in joining you, but we can help connect you with those people, if we get enough interest.
  • TOPS Club is a nonprofit organization comprised of nearly 6,000 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. The virtual space is relatively new for us (although again, we’ve been offering bigger, online meetings since 2014). All that said, if you’d like to join a pre-existing smaller, virtual group – if any are available – or launch your own, you’ll need to get in touch with our Field Staff. To start the process, look at this map, below:

Find the Service Program Administrator who oversees your geographical region, and get in touch with that person by email, expressing your interest in virtual chapters.

Online Membership

If it really is the bigger, TOPS-led group you’re after, click or tap here to join or read up about the online experience.