Arts & Entertainment
G.R. Prime Timers Chapter Continues To Grow
Originally printed 10/31/2013 (Issue 2144 - Between The Lines News)
Organize it and they will come. That's what happened with the Grand Rapids chapter of Prime Timers.
November marks the third anniversary of this social group for gay and bisexual men. The Grand Rapids chapter joined the worldwide organization, which has more than 75 chapters throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, Europe and Australia. Its purpose is to provide a safe way for mature gay and bisexual men to meet for fun and fellowship.
The national Prime Timers was founded in 1987 by Woody Baldwin, a retired professor in Boston who longed for a way for older men like himself to meet others. He began the Boston chapter by placing ads in local newspapers and encouraged his friends to join. Expecting only a small group of men to attend, he was surprised when over 40 showed up. Clearly, there was a need for such a group.
The experience of Prime Timers in Grand Rapids has been much the same. "The fact that we've grown to 75 members in just three years is telling," said Neal Rogness, an organizer of the Grand Rapids Chapter. "It really is meeting a need that had been unmet. To me, it's a way of networking with mature or older gay and bisexual men. We try to provide a very safe environment, because people are across the spectrum in terms of their comfort level of being out. Some people grew up in a different time when it wasn't as easy to be out as it is today."
He said members range in age from their 30s to 90s, but the majority are in their 60s to 80s. They have monthly gatherings including a business, breakfast and dinner meeting at local restaurants and they also try to plan an event meeting once a month where they might attend a play, concert or take a tour as a group. In the past they've toured Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, attended a play at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and checked out the art on display during ArtPrize in G.R. On occasion they attend events in other cities such as Kalamazoo. The chapter draws members from throughout West Michigan.
"Members look forward to the gatherings. There's often food involved and that tends to bring people out. It's just a nice time to sit and visit and get caught up on how people are doing," Rogness said.
Members come from all walks of life, work at a variety of jobs and many are retired.
Rogness, who is a professor himself, said he wishes the group would have existed 20 years ago when he moved to West Michigan. "I struggled a bit trying to meet people," he said. He added that Prime Timers also appeals to him because membership allows him to visit the meetings and events of other chapters across the country. "It creates a built-in network of individuals to meet when you visit other cities. It's a nice way to make some new friends in an otherwise foreign place. That aspect was a selling tool for me in wanting to help form the Grand Rapids chapter."
An additional feature of Prime Timers are boat cruises the national organization schedules for members throughout the year. President of the Grand Rapids Prime Timers, Dave Luby has taken two such cruses and had a great time. "I did one cruse with 45 guys and another with 100 guys. It's a wonderful way to bond with your fellow men who come from all over the U.S.," he said.
Luby agrees with Rogness that membership in the Grand Rapids chapter has grown rapidly because older gay and bi-sexual had few places to meet others like themselves. "With some guys who are middle aged or just retired from their job where they were closeted, they don't know where to meet others. For many of our members this group has opened a whole new chapter in their life."
Membership in Prime Timers starts at $20 a year. For more information about Grand Rapids Prime Timers go to http://www.primetimersgr.org or call 616-466-4180. To learn more about the Metro Detroit Chapter visit http://www.infoprimetimersmetrodetroit.org or call 248-224-0273.
- Ann Arbor VA Offers Dignity To Those Who Served
- Gadgets, Apps Lead the Way In The World Of Fitness
- G.R. Prime Timers Chapter Continues To Grow
- The Classes Continue: Clinical Issues And Sexual Orientation Therapist Trainings at Affirmations
- Local Fitness Center Uses New Machine To Slow Effects of Aging
- Laugh Harder, Smile Brighter
- Get Your Volleyball On
- My Journey To Sobriety
- Wining And Dining To Stop Diabetes
- Signs of Love: Recession-Proof Job And A Website To Learn From
- Training For A New Life
- Dealing With Intimate Partner Violence In Focus
- What Healthcare Reform Means for LGBT Communities
- Panel Sheds Light on Legal Issues for Older Adults
- Agency On Aging: Asking the Right Questions Can Help LGBT Seniors
- Disabled People Need Inclusive Support
- Walking Together
- USAID Announces New Partnership to Promote LGBT Human Rights Abroad
- NHL Partners With Advocacy Group to Stamp Out Homophobia
- Michigan's LGBT Older Adult Movement Moves Forward
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- AIDS Partnership Michigan
- Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion - HIV/AIDS PROGRAMS
- HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC)
- Michigan AIDS Coalition (MAC)
- Animal Shelter
- Humane Society of Huron Valley
- Lynn B. D'Orio, JD, PLC
- Avalon International Breads
- Macomb Bike & Fitness
- Carpeting & Rugs
- Modern Floors Carpet One
- Ann Arbor Saline Family Chiropractic Center
- Arbor Crossing Chiropractic Life Center
- Health Source Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab
- Madison Heights Chiropractic
- Triangle Chiropractic
- Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
- Birmingham Maple Clinic
- David Harris Ph. D.
- Denise Joseph, Ph.D.
- Rosemary A. Jozwiak and Associates
- Joe Kort, Ph.D. & Associates, PC
- Short-term Interactive Couple's Therapy
- EMDR Therapy
- Lynn Vaughn, Ph.D.
- Cruise Planners
- Wake's Travel - Cruise Planners
- Irwin Goodman, DDS
- Arbor West Dental
- Bright Side Dental
- Demi C. Kazanis DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
- Thane Ostroth DDS
- Ron T. Williamson DDS
- Electrolysis Clinic of Birmingham
- 59 West
- Hiller's Markets
- Vital Performance
- Todd's Services
- American Mattress Gallery Inc
- New Beginnings Counseling Center
- Crane Optical
- I've Gotta Get Organized, Inc.
- Pet Supplies
- Premier Pet Supply
- Crown Pharmacy
- Northland MB Pharmacy
- Paul Benson, D.O.
- Dr. Curtis Hunt
- Manzo Eye Care
- Physicians/Gynecology & Obstetrics
- Partridge Creek Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Retirement Community
- Sweet Home LLC.
- Safe Sex Store
- Dirty Boyz Play Clean
- Senior Living
- Nannie's Inn - Alternative Senior Housing
- Senior Services
- Nannie's Inn - Alternative Senior Housing
- Lux Laser Spa
- Substance Abuse
- Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion Bureau of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment & Recovery
- Erase The Ink MD
- Women's Health
- Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan
- Namaste Yoga
- World AIDS Day
- Holiday Gift Guide
- Health and Wellness
- Pride Guide
- Pride Source Votes