HUNTSVILLE – With Probus club membership reaching capacity in Huntsville, a new club is in the works.
Walking into a meeting of the Probus Club of Muskoka North, the Huntsville Forester was greeted with a hug and the words, “Welcome! Come in and join Probus.”
But club president Paul Stueck said it is becoming difficult to welcome new members when both the area’s clubs – Muskoka North and the Probus Club of Huntsville – are at or reaching capacity.
Stueck said the Huntsville club has about 190 members and the Muskoka North club has about 220 members with a waiting list of about 35 people.
“It seems there is a demand here and the thing we don’t want is to appear exclusive. We aren’t, we welcome everyone,” he said. “We’re going to see if there is enough interest out there for another club.”
Probus is an international association of retired and semi-retired people, according to the Probus Canada website. The association’s name is a combination of the words professional and business, but organizers say membership is open to anyone with some measure of responsibility in any field of endeavour.
The purpose of a Probus club, states Probus Canada, is to provide regular gatherings for those who want opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances and similar levels of interest.
“If we can manage to form a third club, if there are enough people interested, then let’s do it. And then there will be more and more people who will find out about it, find out that it’s fun,” said Stueck.
He noted Probus is not a service club like its cousin Rotary.
“It’s strictly social interaction and getting to know people in the area,” he said.
Stueck said the clubs are meant to be welcoming and continually strive to embrace those in the community who are looking for a network of acquaintances and friends with which to share their interests.
He joined the club six years ago for that fellowship.
“This is a group of people that is looking for people to get to know, to feel more comfortable. That’s what we suspect will happen with this next club because our waiting list continues to grow and for the most part it is made of people who are new to the community,” he said.
One of the most interesting aspects of the club, said Stueck, is the interest groups. Those include groups for hiking, canoeing, kayaking and cross-country skiers, groups for bridge, genealogy, and computer skills as well as groups for dining out and dining in, among others.
Regular meetings include guest speakers, social aspects and activity information. The club also hosts events such as barbecues for members.
Stueck said members of the North Muskoka club would act as supports for the new club, but the new club would take the reins by forming an executive and establishing itself.
Those interested in learning more about Probus and perhaps joining the new club are encouraged to meet at Sutherland Hall on High Street, Huntsville, on Friday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m.
The first Probus club was founded in England in 1965 by a group of retirees who started by meeting for coffee.
Probus was introduced to Canada in 1987 by Rotarian John Reynolds Morris. There are now more than 30,000 Probus members in 217 active Canadian clubs.
For more information about Probus in Canada’s mandate of fellowship and participation, or to find more information about Probus clubs in the area, visit the organization’s website at www.probus.org/canada.htm.