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Chapter Spotlight: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

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Ken Bowerman and I had discussed Prime Timers for several years. He had some contact with the Twin Cites (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) chapter and thought it might be a good thing for our area, about 100 mile east of there. After talking about it for a couple of years I finally said, "Let's do it".

 

We contacted the World Wide officers and asked for help to begin a new chapter. We also talked with the Twin Cities chapter about getting started. The response from both were immediate and enthusiastic. We were on our way.


Our initial meeting was held at the LGBTQ Community center in Eau Claire on Jan. 8, 2011 at 7:00 PM. I don't recall the exact number who showed up but it was approximately 15-20 men.


Our first gathering as a chapter occurred later in January at Jeff's house for food and card games. We had a good turnout, roughly 10-15 men. We currently have a list of 20 members though an average turnout for events is around six or seven. Even if the number is small, I always remembered Woody's comments about providing activities so that gay men don't have to sit home alone. If there are only two or three of us, that means that we have some compatible companionship.


Over the last seven years, we have had gatherings at members homes. I host an annual summer picnic and Lynn has an annual Halloween party, costumes required. We also have an annual Valentine's Day party which is held at the local Episcopal church, Christ Church Cathedral, which, over the years, has proven to be quite gay friendly. They've hosted the original local LGBTQ Community Center for about ten years before the Center moved to another location.


We also participate in the local Gay Pride event. One year, we provided the food and did the cooking plus invited our friends from the Twin Cities chapter to join us. We also prepare lunch at the local gay bar, Scooters, on the Sunday of Pride Weekend.


Three times a year, usually May, July, and September, we have a designated stretch of highway that we clean up. For a couple of years, we attempted to have a presence at Coming Out Day activities on campus at U.W. Eau Claire. With the renewed interest in attracting younger men to the organization, we might try this approach again.


From time to time, other chapter members have had picnics or other sorts of events in their homes. We also ring bells during Christmas time for the Salvation Army.


Our regularly scheduled monthly events are First and Third Thursdays. For the first Thursday of the month, we gather at Christ Church Cathedral for coffee, drinks, snacks and conversation. This is always interesting as it provides a casual atmosphere where we can share some history and stories about the gay scene in the Eau Claire area. The Third Thursday event is a dinner at a local restaurant which is usually chosen by majority consent at the previous dinner.


If you are from some part of Wisconsin and would like to join us, you are more than welcome. Of course, people from any locale are welcome. However, I find it odd that there are no other Prime Timer chapters in the state. There are several areas around Wisconsin with large and active gay communities, yet we are the only Prime Timers chapter for the state. Our contacts:


George Stamm: 715-828-4633 - call or text
Lynn Retz: 715-529-0145 - call or text
Also, find us and friend us on Facebook

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Last modified on Thursday, 26 April 2018 18:16

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