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Finding Relevance

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It was thirty years ago that a professor from Boston, Woodrow "Woody" Baldwin, decided older men could have fun, too. It was 1987 and a different time than today. The gay men who rose up on June 28, 1969 in The Stonewall Riot on Christopher Street in New York City would have felt the gay community had made a good deal of progress in our march toward equality and normalization by 1987. But, there was something missing for the older men that laid the foundation for that progress!

The party Woody and his partner, Sean O'Neal threw for older men was an unexpected success that enabled forty or so attendees to get out of their chairs in front of the television and socialize with others who didn't find relevance in the gay scene dominated by the young in bars and clubs. Fast forward to today and we see that nucleus of men in Boston has grown to a Worldwide organization that is still providing social opportunities in almost eighty chapters of Prime Timers Worldwide throughout the USA, Canada, Australia and in Israel. However, relevance is a topic again. And, once again, it is a changed world with social media communication, legalized gay marriage, less emphasis on the "bar scene", and more acceptance in society. Over the past two years of observing Prime Timers as a whole rather than just my chapter, I have seen chapters struggle to remain relevant while others have thrived. There are chapters that are growing rapidly with calendars filled with varied events that appeal to a wide variety of members of all ages. Unfortunately, there are chapters of men who have enjoyed each other's company for many years and meet only occasionally for lunch or dinner. Finding persons willing to serve as officers in those chapters becomes more difficult as age and energy levels diminish. Younger members are less likely to find relevance to their more active lives in those chapters. Ultimately, a chapter might just go away. Albuquerque disbanded to our great sorrow and so did others.

Your Board has talked about a lot of topics during the Chicago convention where we held many hours of discussion. Another Board meeting by telephone on November 28th continued the discussion as will an upcoming Board meeting on January 19th. What are the goals of this new term in office with your new Board? I call it "Finding relevance for the next 30 years":

To find relevance we must:

1. Establish pipelines of new Prime Timers to

▪ Embrace men in their 40s and 50s as poten- tial members.

▪ Seek out older/younger partnerships as po- tential Prime Timers.

▪ Expand the number of chapters to reach un- derserved members.

▪ Invigorate the Independent Chapter of Prime Timers.

2. Establish activities that appeal to all age lev- els of our members.

▪ Your Board has established a committee to study this task and find example of success.

3. Communicate from the Worldwide level using better methods by

▪ Updating and simplifying the Worldwide web site.

▪ Publishing the Prime Times bi-monthly.

▪ Exploring direct methods of communicating with members from the Board level.

▪ Rearranging liaison duties from the World wide Board to the chapters.

4. Manage the Worldwide budget by

▪ Establishing tighter accounting principles.

▪ Reducing the cost of publications, i.e., Prime Times, Outs and Ins.

▪ Moving to an all-electronic format for commu- nication.

These activities of the new Board are just a beginning of our effort to become more relevant to current members, chapters, and the gay community. In a separate article, the Board chose me to "go first" to tell you about myself. I think it is important for you to know a bit about those of us who have volunteered to represent you in Prime Timers leadership. Each issue of our upcoming Prime Times will feature one or two of our Board members. I'm claiming executive privilege by assigning our next introductions to our new Treasurer, Jim O'Brien, from the Central Virginia Chapter and Vinnie Primerano, Director-at-Large, from the Palm Beaches Chapter. These are two dynamic new members of the Board that will bring new ideas and energy to us. In this issue, joining me in an introduction is our new Newsletter Editor, Adrian Liau.

We are looking forward to a relevant term that leads to the next election at the San Antonio Worldwide Convention on October 29, 2019!

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