I'm an electronics/software/optics/biology hacker originally from LaGrange, now working in the SF Bay Area at a medical device startup. It would be fun to check out Squidwrench next time I'm back home.
Squidwrench's mission is to promote the interaction of creative and technical people in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Squidwrench is a home-grown community of creative people. Our modes of creation encompass painting, composing and performing music, building high-tech toys, building low-tech toys, and probably a lot of other stuff, too. There is no limit to the problems people can solve, given the resources, the inclination, the assistance, and the inspiration. At Squidwrench, we hope to make all of those things available to our members, as well as to our local and global communities. People often find themselves constrained by a lack of space, tools, and manpower. It is also far more likely that people will come up with ideas and attempt to execute those ideas when they are surrounded by people who can encourage them and give them direction.
Squidwrench has weekly meetings in which our individual members do self-directed projects in the company of old (and new) friends. Think of it as tinkering in your basement on something, except now you're out of the house and talking to others that may even be able to help you!
Our weekly meetings usually don't have set topics or presenters, but when they do, these meetings are listed as special meetings so everyone knows what we will be doing that week.