Who are the Rhode Island Prime Timers?
Back in 2006, Robert Black (presently group treasurer) was contacted by Charles Anthony and Steve Dubois, both CT Prime Timers and asked if he was interested in starting a Prime Timer group in Rhode Island. At the same time, he also contacted a Ray Lyons and had us talk to each other. We met at the Panera Bread in Smithfield in February and talked about starting the group.
Once we said we would start a Prime Timers, Charles Anthony he said he had Boston members that were also interested. Our first meeting was at Ray's house in Providence in May where he invited friends of his. It was not a Prime Timers meet, we just mentioned that we were starting a group of older gay men, and asked if they were interested. A few of them did say they were interested.
Ray had a friend that owned a night club (Pearl on Charles Street) in Providence that we could use as a meeting place. We contacted Anthony and set up to meet on a Sunday in July.
There were 16 of us at that meeting: Roy Moeckel. Ray Lyons, Robert Black, Steven Straznickas, Rene Savoie, Daniel Scharples, Frank Girard, Jim Norris, Maurice Jandreau, Raymond Pankiewicz. Ray Lyons was our first President.
In July of 2016 we celebrated our 9th anniversary as a Prime Timers chapter.
Who are Prime Timers?
Prime Timers was founded in 1987 by a retired professor, Woody Baldwin (for more information about Woody, please visit his website here). He felt a wide gap existed in today's society, which caters almost exclusively to youth. This worship of eternal youth is never more flagrant than in the gay culture. Woody began the Boston Chapter by placing ads in local newspapers and soliciting his many friends. He expected only a small handful of men to attend the first meeting and was surprised when over 40 showed up. This indicated to Woody a need for social and cultural organizations to aid and support the aging gay and bisexual man. Now this organization has grown to over forty chapters worldwide, located throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
Travel opportunities for members are vast. Individual chapters welcome the chance to meet visitors from other chapters. Letters asking for local information and recommendations will be well received and promptly answered. Chapters enjoy showing off their communities and having visitors come away with a feeling of kinship and brotherhood with their newfound friends. The Prime Timers Worldwide Convention is held to discuss business and attend workshops geared toward Prime Timers. Our Conventions have been in Vancouver BC, Dallas TX, and Washington D.C., and more. And each year during Mardi Gras in New Orleans hundreds of Prime Timers gather to celebrate life, freedom and each other. We now reserve an entire hotel just for Prime Timers. Keep an eye on our on-line PTWW Events page, since much more is being planned for our worldwide members, chapters, and affiliates.
Our organization is emerging as a leading force in the gay and bisexual communities, and while we are not a political organization, we are concerned with society as it effects the aging gay and bisexual population. As our organization grows, we will be leading the pack in seeking answers to the needs and problems of maturing gay and bisexual men. It is hoped that soon a Prime Timers Chapter will be in every major metropolitan area in the world.