"There’s a surprising story behind the successful launch of Armadale Probus by Malvern Rotary last month. There were 90 at the launch meeting and 39 active retirees signed up straight away.
The grunt work involved saturating the district with 6,000 flyers. This effort was led by Bruce Cameron of Keilor East Rotary, who turns 87 in September. His wife Lois is not far behind. They tramped the streets letterboxing 1,500 flyers each over two days. Their daughter Julie Loft and son-in-law Robert Loft also did 1,500 each.
“I think that job will be my last Probus launch,” says Bruce – he’s previously launched 10 Probus clubs. “My ability to walk vast distances and deliver these flyers is getting limited.” He’s kept fit for years doing 4km walks twice a week.
Other Probus Clubs he’s started include Keilor East (2013), Sanctuary Lakes-Pt. Cook (2014), now with 120 members; Taylors Lakes (2013); Maribyrnong-Riverside (2014), and Avondale Heights (2016).
In 2012 he was President of Keilor Probus. It capped members at 80 with a waiting list of 35. He was sure there was room for another club. His recruited 90 people at the launch meeting, and today Keilor East Probus has 201 members, with 170 at a typical meeting.
They operate from an air-conditioned marquee at the rear of the historic Keilor Hotel, which dates from Cobb & Co. days. Bruce rejects that large clubs create anonymity. “We can offer sub-groups things to do of every kind every day of the week,” he says. “If some suggests wine appreciation , we can probably get 10-15 starters straight off.”
The committee delegates out its workload. Four people work on organising local and overseas tours, each taking on a specific event. One group is just back from Kangaroo Island and another plans a NZ tour.
Bruce also finds no problem with the typical majority of women members. “It makes no difference on activities. In the walking group most of the 35 are women but we all join in harmony. We’re happy that the club has not involved cliques – people have ample potential friends.”
The club also takes care to offer economical activities, as some members live on the pension. The club is subsidising some events to get its cash balance down to $12,000 from a somewhat excessive $22,000.
Bruce was national Probus treasurer in 2014 and vice-chair in 2015. Rotary and Probus have been just part of Bruce’s activity. He chaired creation of Holloway Aged Care, now with 70 residents, and got a primary school built in Arnhem Land for the Donydji people. In 1996 he was awarded an OAM for community service.
Footnote: Docklands-based Bearbrass Probus is recruiting after launching in February."