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Hutt Probus gets Creative During Lockdown!

ACTIVE Retirees belonging to the Hutt Combined Probus Club haven't become INACTIVE just because they are in Lockdown!


2 days after the introduction of Covid-19 Lockdown level 4, several of the Club members met, online, and swung into action, assessing the benefits of the various communication systems. The unanimous decision was that Zoom would be the ideal system for the Club.

Both Immediate Past President Kirby Taylor and President Heather Salmon were determined that the very active Club of 150 members would continue to function as close to normal as possible. The Club decided to purchase Zoom Plus, so that sessions far longer than the standard 40 minutes could be planned.

The leaders of the 21 interest groups were asked to find ways to keep their groups active and most decided to use Zoom. Some members were already familiar with the system. There are now over 100 members proficient, many through tutoring within the Club.             

This was Probus at its best, helping members to keep mentally stimulated, socially involved and open to change by learning a new set of skills.

The various activities over the last 6 weeks have been varied and creative. 3 different Music groups (with slightly different focus) have “met” and enjoyed music within a designated theme; over 20 Current Events Discussion Group members have met 3 times with topics as diverse as Homelessness, Democracy and Universal Basic Income; the Outings organiser has organised virtual journeys to places of interest worldwide; the Book club has continued to meet and the Lunch groups have shared both gourmet and “lockdown” recipes. There have been virtual Cocktail Parties and smart Afternoon Teas. The gardeners will meet shortly.

Cultural interests have been well looked after in the President’s weekly Club Café Conversations, circulated to all members, with links to performances streamed by the NZ Symphony Orchestra, Royal New Zealand Ballet plus various Shows and Films. One of the 3 Walking groups has been running competitions to identify various views and places of interest enjoyed during previous walks. Art and Craft achievements have been diverse.

There have been 2 “Shows” which have really brought out the crowds! The first was by a talented Club member, self-accompanying on his keyboard,  who “broadcast” from his studio at home. Scheduled to last 30 minutes, the programme of old and new songs, tempting viewers to “Singalong”, was stretched, by encores, to 45 very enjoyable minutes.

The largest audience so far, with 76 members on 52 devices, was the Club's Gala Variety Concert, attended by Royalty and gatecrashed by Dame Edna! So much fun and variety, beautiful music  and voices – classical, jazz, country, pop, plus dazzling ballet, even bagpipes! The 12 items ensured there was “something for everyone”.

Jaye Howey says "We look forward to being able to meet in person once more, but meanwhile, Hutt Probus members are thriving in the new “Virtual” world.