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HISTORY OF SHARON MEN'S CLUB

The Sharon Men’s Club was born out of the recognition that retirement can create a void in one’s life. After working for years, we are confronted with the reality that our daily routine has changed, and we need to find new ways to occupy the large amount of time that has suddenly become available. We no longer go to work. We no longer have associates, employees, or colleagues (some of whom are friends) surrounding us daily. Old relationships fade, and we try to cope with this void. We try to find a new group of friends and develop new relationships.

In 1992 Norma Fitzgerald, the Director of the Council on Aging for the Town of Sharon, recognized the need for a social group to help retired men meet their social needs. She enlisted the support of Dave Berger, a retired pharmacist, and David Clifton, the Recreation Director. Together, they developed an organization that would help retirees navigate their retirement.

The initial plan was to provide a social outlet, but little did they realize the scope of the journey they were embarking on. Little did they know that they created a group that would support one another and that by showing an interest in each other's well-being, as was initially envisioned, the group would enhance wellness, improve cognition, and enhance the quality of life through conversation and friendship. They created a group that

would be there as a friend when members experienced illness or the death of a loved one. A group that would help prevent isolation and loneliness.

From its earliest beginnings, Dave Berger was a cornerstone of the group. He reached out to his friends Henry Goulston, Dave Migdal, Saul Fingold, Richard Shear, Harold Schneiderman, and Maurice Palter, and in 1992 they formed a social group. This social group became The Sharon Men’s Club.

They recruited more of their friends as new members. There are many anecdotes of new members attending meetings and seeing someone they recognized. Members met shipmates, classmates, and childhood neighbors.

They came from all social classes, social and economic backgrounds, and political perspectives, but in the end, they were all simply members of The Sharon Men’s Club. Together they established a framework of activities to keep people interested, and drafted rules and regulations -- some of which have changed, and some of which continue today. This framework helps maintain the central focus, friendship, and mutual support.

In the bylaws from December of that year, the goals were simple – The Club would be an exchange for ideas and activities beneficial to the membership’s recreation, education, entertainment. Keeping people active will promote well-being and minimize the sense of loss and loneliness that aging brings. Who are the members, what do they do, how do they communicate? Start with a core of men from Sharon, or formerly from Sharon, then add a sprinkling of members from most of the nearby communities-- Stoughton, Randolph, Canton, Walpole and others, and the result is a membership that ranges in age from 60 to 100 years old.  Most of the members are retired and hate to miss a meeting.

 

What does the SMC do?

The answer is as diverse as the members themselves. Apart from a period in 2006-2007 when they met at Temple Sinai during a major renovation project, the SMC has been a permanent part of the Community Center.

One of the earliest community-related activities was the formation of the choral group. This is a group of 20-25 club members, spouses, and significant others whose song book consists of tunes from the 30's through the 50’s. In addition to performing for the Club, they perform at nursing homes, VA hospitals, as well as for the Council of Aging

 

Club Meetings

The Club meets weekly, with a presenter at each meeting discussing a multitube of topics such as fire safety, senior health care, selling your home, and movies set in or around Boston. The Club provides a light breakfast at each meeting.

On the first Tuesday of each month, there’s a breakfast get-together with spouses, significant others, and friends who can all relax and enjoy each other’s company and a hearty breakfast.  

Club Activities

The Club sponsors outdoor activities such as golf, bocce, biking, and tennis according to the time of year. Our indoor activities include pool, whist, cribbage, investment groups, chess, bowling, a discussion group, and a choral group. There is something going on each day of the week. The Club's official communications vehicle is the monthly newsletter. The first editor of the Sharon Men’s Club newsletter was Abe Gamzon. The editor’s mantle was passed onto Harris Cohen. A few years ago, the Newsletter was renamed the Nexus. The word "nexus" is defined as the center of a network, and the new name represents the spirit of the Sharon Men’s Club, a place for friends to come together, interact and communicate. A true Nexus!!

Why three hundred Members?

Originally, the only limitation specified was a quorum of ten members required for a meeting. As the successes of the membership committee continued, the numbers grew beyond three hundred. Because of fire laws and limited parking, membership was capped for Sharon residents plus non- residents at three hundred, the capacity of the Community Center ballroom, current members nominate new members. Once accepted there is an administration fee that includes a hat, name tag, first year's dues and, most importantly, the secret password!!!!!

What About Trips?

From the very beginning, trips have occupied a prominent place in club activities. Through the early years trips or visits were scheduled each week. These included tours of a Polaroid plant, The Boston Globe, Southeast Regional High School, Fuller Art Museum Tour, and the U.S. Post Office Distribution Center in Brockton, Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, and tour of Norwood Hospital Cardiology Dept. Other destinations have included Pawtucket Red Sox, Mohegan Sun, Boston Pops performances, the show "Phantom of the Opera", trips to Ottawa, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Boothbay Harbor, Branson MO, Niagara Falls, Washington, DC. Providence Water Fire, Provincetown Parade, Salem Halloween Trip, Brockton Symphony, Walpole Foot-lighters, North Shore theater, and many others.

Club By-Laws

Membership is open to any/all residents of Sharon 60 years or older, former residents and residents from nearby towns are placed on a waiting list once the three hundred member is reached.

In the beginning, SMC Officers consisted of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Treasurer, to be elected annually. Meetings, with a quorum of ten members, were open to residents, former residents, visitors, and guests. Committees included Nominating, Audit, Ways and Means (fund-raising), Hospitality, Membership and Program (labeled the “most important committee” with function to provide recreation, education, and entertainment.

By 2012, a few things were modified and a new set of By- Laws were released. The official name was now the Sharon Over 60 Men’s Club (or simply the Sharon Men’s Club). The stated goal now read “create an atmosphere for the exchange of ideas and the adoption of activities which will be beneficial to our membership and to our community.” Membership is now open to all men who are 60 years age or older, reside in Sharon or formerly resided in Sharon. Non-residents are eligible when membership is less than 300 -- this number may be modified by majority vote of the Administrative Committee without bylaw change. Other parts of the new rules -- widows and “significant others” of deceased members eligible to attend all functions at member cost.

 

Administrative committee membership has been modified to include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Asst. Treasurer, Secretary, Asst. Secretary, all elected for two- year terms. The current set of By-Laws (By-Laws) (create a link to the by-law page). In addition to these officers, the positions of Parliamentarian, Member-at-Large, Sargeant – at Arms and SMC Historian were defined.

The By-Laws allow the President to appoint additional members to the Committee and shall appoint a representative of Council of Aging to attend meetings (non-voting). While Members may attend, requests for change in policy, procedure, or expenditure to the Member-at-Large for Executive Committee action. Requests may also be made during a regular SMC meeting.

 

What’s this about a secret password?

Yes, there is a secret password which is revealed when members are voted into the club. We can’t give away the password here (it’s a secret!), but we can give you a clue - - it’s related to a newspaper ad congratulating the Boston Red Sox for winning the World Series in 2004. You’ll have to come to a meeting to find out more.

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