There is no reason retirees cannot be connected to the community.
Some 300,000 people worldwide have found an avenue to remain active and socially connected – 86 of them in Salmon Arm.
By joining Probus, men and women who have retired from a profession or business, meet once a month in the morning for fellowship and to hear guest speakers.
“It’s basically for self-edification to continue learning,” says charter member Peter Kilby of the club that he and Bob Priest started nine years go. “It’s a social club.”
And that’s one of the big benefits of the organization, he says.
Although the club is an offshoot of Rotary, an organization that emphasizes service to the community, there is no such expectation with Probus.
One of the other benefits and one Muriel Dodge is very familiar with, is that it allows newcomers rapid entry into the community.
Current director of Probus Canada’s Okanagan Region, Dodge came to Salmon Arm in 2003 from Williams Lake, where she’d been involved with economic development.
Soon after her arrival, she was introduced to Probus.
“I stepped right in, it was like I’d known these people all my life,” she says with enthusiasm. “I arrived just after the club started and we still have 28 or 30 charter members.”
Not only has the local club thrived, but has helped six others in the Southern Interior.
And, with local membership nearing maximum capacity, Probus is looking for the ideal location for a second club.
“We’re starting another one maybe in Sorrento, Blind Bay or Salmon Arm,” says Dodge. “We will put out feelers and see where most of the people show interest.”
As well as lively discussion and developing and maintaining friendships, mini clubs have been created to cater to the interests of smaller groups.
“If people have a particular area of interest, they can use Probus as the vehicle to create a group,” says Dodge. “One popular one is the Gastronomes, where a person uses their home to host potluck meals with a theme. They’ve had to cap it at 25 members.”
A discussion group called W@W (Wednesday at Wendy’s) is also popular.
“We have solved more of the world’s problems; we talk about everything from baby food to dynamite,” Kilby says with a wide grin. “We avoid politics and religion. It gives us more time to talk about sex.”
Added to the smaller book and music appreciation clubs, the larger group gets together for special events – a beach barbecue in summer, car rally in the fall and a Christmas party in lieu of a December meeting.
“We do a lot of laughing, it’s amazing, it enriches my life,” says Dodge. “It provided a bridge with working, that was basically always with younger people and getting to know and enjoying things with people my age and older.”
Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of Probus is invited to call Peter Kilby at 250-832-6407, Muriel Dodge at 250-832-4144, or Bob Priest at 250-833-4246.