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.”

Newly elected management committee of the PROBUS Club of Prince Edward County receive their PROBUS pins.