Probus comes to Perth
The idea of creating a Probus Club in Perth came from Wilf Parry after he had heard of a successful club operating in Collingwood, Ontario. In 1995, he formed a group to explore the feasibility of organizing such a club in Perth. This group consisted of George Callan, David Crowley, Ed Danner, Ralph Fish, Frank Houghton, Grover Lightford, Gordon McKibbon, Bob McMahon, Wilf Parry and David Rapkins. To obtain an understanding of the structure and operation of Probus, Wilf and Ralph attended a few meetings of area clubs. It is to be noted that at this time there were 49 Probus clubs in Canada. After several exploratory meetings, the group agreed to form a Perth club. A letter soliciting interest was sent to a number of Perth and district residents.
Our first action was to approach The Rotary Club of Perth to sponsor our application and provide initial funding. With the support of Rotary, the structure was agreed upon and various responsibilities were assigned to founding members.
On February 7, 1996, an inaugural meeting was held at McMartin House in Perth. Approximately 70 men attended and the reaction to having a club in the Perth area was very positive. The group was addressed by the Honourable Judge John Matheson who spoke on Canada/Quebec Relations. On April 3, 1996, the Club was officially constituted with the election of officers to the first Management Team as follows:
The Rotary Club of Perth was requested to apply for official accreditation for our club. The Probus Club of Perth was duly registered as Club Number 64 in Canada. All persons who had joined the Club as of April became Charter Members. The May meeting saw the debut of a regular segment of each program known as Personal Profiles, during which members introduce themselves by means of brief biographical sketches.
In January 1998, Probus meetings moved from McMartin House to the Perth Public Library.
—The above was prepared by Wilf Parry
Spring Fling 2012
On May 15, 2012, Probus Perth had the privilege of hosting the annual Probus Spring Fling. From all accounts it was a very successful event. A separate website www.probusperth.ca/springfling was created for this event and it has been preserved for historical reasons.
The Origins of Probus
Retirement can come too early for many people who want and are able to remain active. Probus clubs are organizations for men and women who have retired from their profession or business and want to maintain a social network with others who have similar interests. Each Probus club is originally sponsored by a Rotary club. Once established, the Club becomes an autonomous organization and its members take over leadership. Potential Probus members are not required to be past members of Rotary. Each Probus club meets at least once a month for fellowship and to hear guest speakers. Today, there are over 300,000 members in approximately 4,000 Probus clubs worldwide.
Clubs using the name Probus were first formed in the early 1920's in Saskatchewan, Canada, and in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A., the latter devoted to helping people with mental retardation, physical disabilities, and autism. Because they were not restricted to retired Professional and Business leaders, (Probus), and had a different objective, they are (were) not associated with our present mainstream of Probus clubs worldwide.
On 6th May 1965, Fred Carnill organised the first meeting of the Campus Club in Welwyn Garden City, England. The Campus Club is affiliated to the English Probus organisation and members can and do wear Probus tie and badge and receive the newsletter, but is otherwise an independent organisation. In "A Simple Idea" founder, Fred Carnill writes,
The first non-sectarian Probus Club specifically for active retirees was formed in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Caterham, England to allow retired professionals to continue to meet together for fellowship. In "The Birth of Probus", founding member Harold Blanchard writes,
Due to the success of these two clubs, which incidentally never merged, Probus Clubs were promoted through Rotary in adjacent towns. There are now approximately 1,700 clubs in Great Britain.
In 1974, Probus expanded into New Zealand and by 1976 the idea had spread to Australia. Although Probus membership has its greatest concentrations in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, clubs today exist in all parts of the world, including the U.S., Belgium, India, Cyprus, Japan, South Africa and several other countries in Africa and Asia.
The first Probus Club for seniors in North America was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Galt in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada in 1987. Growth in Canada (since 1987) has resulted in the successful development of over 148 clubs across Canada with over 18,000 members with an average club membership of over 100.
Probus Clubs worldwide are not service organizations and are non-sectarian and non-political, although members are often active volunteers in many community organizations. Clubs are formed to provide social events and schedule speakers to keep members up-to-date with community issues and happenings. Many clubs have formed smaller interest groups for hobbies such as sports, entertainment, bridge, fishing, travel, computers, etc.
Probus Clubs are in essence autonomous and as such have no central governing body, but Probus Centers have been established internationally by country to disseminate information and assist clubs. Probus Canada, for example, provides a national insurance liability plan to cover individual club meetings and activities. Offices are staffed largely by volunteers, and operating costs are met by member contributions. The Probus worldwide web page (www.probus.org), contains information on Probus, and includes contacts for many international Probus Clubs, the Informal Probus Network of chat groups, and several segments dealing with information about forming a Probus Club, Probus services, etc.
—The information in this section is based on material found on the Probus Canada website.