From left Howard Glossop, John Bale and Theo Rathonyi-Reusz are hoping to form a Probus Club in Maple Ridge. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

From left Howard Glossop, John Bale and Theo Rathonyi-Reusz are hoping to form a Probus Club in Maple Ridge. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Proposed Probus Club for Maple Ridge

Probus Club will provide a regular social gathering for those with similar interests

A new social club might be opening up in Maple Ridge.

Probus is a social club for retired and semi-retired people that provides regular gatherings for those who want to meet others that have similar levels of interest.

The word Probus in a contraction of the words professional and business, but membership is not restricted to these two groups of people.

Former executives of industry, government or anyone who has had some measure of responsibility in any field of endeavor is welcome to join.

The difference between a Probus club and Rotary is that the former is just social. It will have no constraints or obligations that are typically associated with service clubs.

“Probus was originally started by a Rotary Club for those people my age. I’m 80. We’re not that active anymore, so we wanted to have a social club rather than a service club,” explained Theo Rathonyi-Reusz, chair of the steering committee of the proposed Probus Club in Maple Ridge.

Rathonyi-Reusz is a member of the Haney Rotary Club.

The first Probus clubs sprung from Rotary Clubs in England in 1965 and 1966, and since have spread worldwide. There are 240 Probus clubs in Canada with an approximate membership of 33,400.

There is a club in Langley, in White Rock and three in Vancouver.

So Rathonyi-Reusz got together with John Bale, another Rotary member, and started making plans.

But they couldn’t find anyone with experience to assist them until last year, when they met Howard and Ingrid Glossop, members of a Probus Club in Kamloops who moved to Maple Ridge.

The group formed a steering committee and talked to Bill Sexsmith, president of the Probus Club of Vancouver. He told them that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have the population to support a club.

Then they found a location, the Meadow Gardens Golf Club, where they will be holding an information session at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16 to see how much interest there is in the community. They are hoping the first official meeting of the club will be the third Thursday in January 2018 and to invite speakers the third Thursday every month thereafter.

Speakers will be based around what is of interest at the time or what comes up in the paper.

“Most of the time we can find a person who specializes in that area. And it could be a doctor or a politician or the people who do the guiding dogs training. Stuff of interest like that,” said Rathonyi-Reusz.

Meetings will generally run two hours and there is no age requirement, although Rathonyi-Reusz says it will be self-restricting based on the time that they will meet.

“We meet from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for coffee. So, it is basically for retired people,” said Rathonyi-Reusz.

“So somebody who is 40 years of age with time on their hands , you know, they are welcome,” he said.

Rathonyi-Reusz believes the social aspect of the club will appeal to those in the community, especially seniors.

“People who are retired like myself for sometime, it gets you out of the door, it gets you active again in other areas,” said Rathonyi-Reusz.

“It’s the social aspect and again they’ll from other groups of interest.”

Special interest groups that have been formed in Probus Clubs have included ladies’ and men’s golf, photography, hiking, discussion groups, tea tasting, book clubs, coffee clubs, walking groups, wine tasting and more.

The committee is hoping to get 60 people out to the first meeting, but could start the club with at least 15 interested individuals.

Meadow Gardens Golf Club is located at 19675 Meadow Gardens Way in Pitt Meadows.

• For more information, call 604-463-6908 or go to probusclubofmapleridge.org.