by Dick Nickerson, Pembroke DMC

From my experience here in Pembroke, here are a few ideas that might be useful.
I suggest working with your Local Council on Aging or whatever exists in your local area.  If they have a monthly newsletter put in an article.  You might also approach the local churches they might be able to help you spread the word.

Don’t forget to put an article in your local newspaper, radio station and the local announcement page on cable TV.

 The local Senior Center (COA) is a good place to meet.  I suggest meeting at a large conference table or as we do around the outside of a square make by placing rectangle tables together.  We use eight tables that allows us to set 24 to 30 with everyone able to look at each other.  Be sure to advertise that coffee and munches will be available.

For us one hour on Wednesdays work best.  The Southborough, Mass. group meets on Fridays.  Our group starts to show up anywhere from ½ to 1 hour early “so they can get their seats”.

We encourage a free flowing general discussion.  When a member believes he has something that might be interest the whole group he just speaks up.  The leader will sometimes help the member get the attention of others.  The leader should have a good supply of subjects at his finger tips for those quiet moments.  Local newspaper clippings or hot button local issues are useful here.
Try to have a group of hot button subjects that will bring forward spirited debate.  Sometime silly subjects work well.  Our best of all time was discussing toilet paper and whether to hang it over the top or from the back.  This brought out all manner of debate; do remember WWII toilet paper, the toilet paper shortage of about 30 years ago that never happened, do you fold it or bunch it.  Try your own ideas.

Try to develop some regular events.  I our case, we have a very good joke teller who always is prepared with a good story or two at exactly 10:30 and we do a $1 50/50 charity raffle at each meeting.  Other items that work for us are a members brings in items from his menu collection, frequently they are from local restaurants, another member brings in a page from an antique auto magazine and give members a chance to give the year, make and model.  We give a $2 prize to the winner.
We have name tags that are worn by each member; near the end of the meeting a box is passed around to collect the tags and each member present drops in a buck.  About every three months we go to a local restaurant after the meeting.  This is paid for out of the treasury.  Both the collection and the raffle are voluntary; we do not collect any dues.

We sometimes have speakers like local government officials, writers and senior interest stuff but we limit them to about a half hour.  What our members enjoy most is hearing themselves speak.  What could be more interesting than to be able to express your own opinion and not be afraid of that your wife or anyone else would say?  Sometimes is gets a little raw or a member gets carried away with the importance of his own opinion but the group has a knack of policing itself.

If you have questions or ideas you would like to discuss feel free to contact me at


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