Starting a PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County – by Debbie MacDonald Moynes

Setting the Stage

In my role as Executive Director of The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association I was asked to be guest speaker first at the PROBUS Club of Quinte and then at the PROBUS Club of Belleville. Having joined the Rotary Club of Picton in 1990 I was fascinated at the number of people who wanted to join a social club. The people had fun at the meetings and enjoyed many outings and activities together. I thought then that such a club should be established in Prince Edward County.

On February 20, 2018 the Rotary Club of Picton was having Jamie Doolittle and Richard Furlong from PROBUS Canada as guest speakers. I asked Ralph Hall, a long-time colleague and friend, and President of the PROBUS Club of Quinte, to attend Rotary as my guest. Jamie and Richard talked about the difference between Rotary and PROBUS and the growing numbers and popularity of PROBUS Clubs in Canada. At the end of the meeting I told Jamie and Richard that I would establish a PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County and that day I set about doing just that. Ralph and I talked further about next steps and whether the PROBUS Club of Quinte would sponsor the local club (which they agreed to do). I then called Bob Bird in Arizona to ask him to chair the Steering Committee, and asked Barb Proctor to sit on the Committee as well. Then Rick Moynes, Andy and Pronica Janikowski volunteered to help and we were on the road!

Why Prince Edward County

The County is a perfect location for establishing a PROBUS Club. There are many retired people living in Prince Edward County. We believed that many would be very interested in the goal of PROBUS.

Prince Edward County is the Census Division with the second highest concentration of seniors in Ontario and the sixth highest in Canada. Social isolation has become a hot topic since Britain’s Parliament appointed a Minister of Loneliness. Social interaction is key to successful aging. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada “social connectedness has a positive effect on health. People who remain actively engaged in life and connected to those around them are generally happier, in better physical and mental health, and more empowered to cope effectively with change and life transitions.”

The following is taken from the Manual on How to Start a PROBUS Club.
“A PROBUS club is a local association of retired and semi-retired Professional and business people, and others who have had some measure of responsibility in any field of worthy endeavour – who are of character and respected in their communities. Clubs meet regularly for fellowship and an extension of their interests. PROBUS is not a ‘senior citizens’ or ‘lonely hearts’ club.

The name is an amalgam of the abbreviation of the words profession and business. PROBUS is also a Latin word meaning honest or virtuous, from which the English word “probity” is derived.

Researchers have discovered abundant evidence of the need for retired business and professional people to associate with others of similar vocational or educational backgrounds. Their social or sporting clubs, their voluntary work and their hobbies do not always provide this association. Generally, these people miss the intellectual stimulation, in the broader sense, provided by their former business, professional or executive activities. Within a short time after retirement the desire to meet others in similar circumstances manifests itself quite strongly. This need may be met, for some and in part, by groups organized for former staff by public companies or other large organizations. However, most of these meet infrequently, and the great majority of retired people do not enjoy even these limited opportunities.

The sense of isolation experienced by many people who formerly held positions of responsibility and challenge often leads to emotional stress that can result in actual physical illness. There is a need for peer-group companionship and intellectual stimulation which is growing with increased longevity and the encouragement of earlier retirement. The rapid growth of the PROBUS movement provides further evidence of the need for this kind of association.”

From the PROBUS Canada web site [Advisory: 7.1 Mb pdf] Starting a PROBUS Club.

1. Approach a functioning PROBUS Club to act as sponsor
The PROBUS Club of Quinte agreed to sponsor the PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County. The final decision was made by the PROBUS Club of Quinte Management Committee at a meeting on April 19, 2018.

2. Create a Steering Committee
As noted above I set about assembling a Steering Committee and the following people agreed to sit on it. The Convener as appointed by the PROBUS Club of Quinte was Ralph Hall who lives in The County. The local club was planned to be a combined club with both men and women as members. These are the people who agreed to sit on the Steering Committee:
Bob Bird, Chair
Barb Proctor, Vice Chair
Ralph Hall, Convener & Secretary (Ralph is currently the President of PROBUS Club of Quinte)
Rick Moynes, Treasurer
Debbie MacDonald Moynes, Program Chair
Pronica Janikowski
Andrew Janikowski

3. Develop a list of potential members
As of April 27th, 2018 there were 10 names on the list of “potential members” and more were to be added soon. Work was underway to identify others who might be interested. These would be “retired business and professional people and others of similar interests and background.”

4. Advertise the proposed club
a. Radio interviews – Dave MacKay at 99.3 CountyFM arranged an interview on the Grapevine. Ralph & Barb were interviewed May 1, 2018.
b. Public Service Announcements – Debbie distributed a PSA to 60+ media outlets and community groups (note that the list of media outlets and community groups already exists and did not have to be recreated).
c. Press Release – Debbie wrote a press release which was sent to local newspapers and Countylive.ca.
d. Poster – Debbie also designed a poster (based upon Uxbridge poster), printed and posted it in many places in PEC. It was attached to the PSA distribution as well.

5. Informational (interest) meeting
An Information Meeting was held on Thursday, May 10th at 10am at the Elk’s Lodge Hall in Picton. This location was selected as the location for meetings because it is large enough, accessible for those with mobility issues, has a p/a system and ample parking. Coffee and cookies will be prepared on site. The cost was $80.00/week plus cookies and coffee ($30.00). Over 60 people attended. The agenda included general information. Questions were answered. There was interest in establishing a PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County so work began on holding a “Charter Meeting”.

6. Charter Meeting
The date for the Charter Meeting was Thursday, August 23rd. Click links following to see the Agenda, Constitution and By-laws.

Anyone present at this meeting – having paid their membership fee – was designated as a Charter Member of the PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County. Following this meeting the documentation to support accreditation was completed and forwarded to PROBUS Canada. The Club was established with 88 members listed on the Charter. All who join prior to the first regular meeting of a PROBUS Club are considered Charter Members and we eventually had 111 charter members (as of September 13th, 2018 when the first regular meeting was held). The Management Committee was elected at the Charter meeting with Barb Proctor as the Charter President of the PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County.

Charter Meeting Press Release