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Uxbridge PROBUS Club

Uxbridge, Ontario CA

https://www.uxbridgeprobus.com/

? members in club

5 members of PROBUS Global

Type: COMBINED

Mill Run Golf Club,269 Durham Regional Rd 8, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R1

2nd Wednesday, 10 AM


The Uxbridge PROBUS Club submitted this article to the Spring 2022 PROBUS Global Newsletter in answer to the question, What outstanding things has your club done to keep your PROBUS club "alive" during COVID?

TWO YEARS OF COVID-19 AND WE’RE STILL GOING STRONG!

A History of PROBUS Uxbridge

We are a relatively new club, inaugurated in 2018, and part of what was a significant expansion of the PROBUS across Canada and many other parts of the world.

Uxbridge is a town of about 12,000 located about 70 km, north and east of Toronto, Canada, and since a significant percentage of our town is comprised of retirees, it would be a logical place to plant a club.  An information meeting was announced, and over a hundred people came out on a March weekday morning to find out about it.  We were very fortunate to attract a dedicated group of volunteers to organize things, and also had a lot of mentoring help from our host club in nearby Port Perry.  Within a year we had grown to over 250 members, with many active interest groups and social activities.

Covid hit with our March, 2020 meeting, which had to be cancelled.  In the chaos of that spring we were busy, as a management team, refunding monies we had collected for now-cancelled trips, learning to use Zoom for our team meetings and other gatherings, and trying to understand how permanent this mess was going to be.  Gathering and safety rules change weekly here in Ontario, which made it difficult to plan anything beyond Zoom meetings, although through the summer some outdoor activities were held with small groups.  We re-started our monthly club meetings in September with a hybrid effort, where we had a small live audience and recorded the meeting for later distribution as a YouTube video.  Starting in October we created a Zoom format meeting for all members, adding a second speaker to our format, and using the chat room feature as our social time.

Before the pandemic hit, we were averaging about 50% attendance at our monthly meetings, and surprisingly that number held up through 2021, if you total the live attendees to the Zoom meeting with the numbers choosing to watch the video afterwards.  Our membership held up as well;  We took a dip when some folks chose not to renew in June of 2020, but right now our membership roll is 220, which is most gratifying.

There are a number of clubs in our region, and we were able to keep in contact with them, sharing newsletters and ideas, and finding innovative ways to entertain groups on Zoom.  Trivia contests, BINGOs, and other games popped up.  Card players were able to use apps to keep their clubs together.  Book clubs met over Zoom, as did wine clubs.  Our own social committee decided to buy a Jackie Lawson subscription.  This is a system whereby they were able to send animated musical greeting cards, in an unlimited quantity, for an annual fee, and we got ahold of everyone’s birthday and started sending them out.  The feedback has been phenomenal, and we also do blanket mailings to members on special days like Easter, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and other more obscure times, but always with positive results.

In September of 2021 we held a car rally with over 50 participants, and tried our first Hybrid Zoom meeting in November.  About 50 attended live, but our sound equipment would not cooperate, so the video could not be used.  Our plan now is to start monthly meetings in April (22) and if we can’t get Zoom to cooperate we will do a video recording of the meeting and send it out to the membership.

Our interest groups are busier than ever, and the social committee are starting to plan bus trip outings again, hoping to resurrect some of the cancelled events of two years ago.

Also, as soon as the supply of vaccines was available, we made it a firm policy that in-person attendance required double vaccination and documented everyone’s compliance.  This was also received very positively.  We have been having in person gatherings in smaller groups, and everyone feels very secure because of this.

No one knows what the future holds, but whatever happens, the need for human contact and interaction continues to be one of the strongest forces for community.  This is the strength of PROBUS, and we’re very proud to be part of it.

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