By the time they reach retirement age, many Westport men hold positions of power and prestige. CEOs, CFOs, masters of the universe — they are enormously experienced, and wise beyond their years.
But those years tick by. The day they retire, these men have time on their hands, in a suburban town they may not know well, and where every other adult seems to be working or caring for kids.
If they’re really wise, these guys join the Y’s Men.
On Tuesday, the Y’s Men celebrated their 35th birthday. Many of their 460 members — and wives, significant others and friends — jammed the Unitarian Church to eat, be entertained, and do what they do best: listen, talk and learn.
From its formation in 1977 — and its 1st meeting in January 1978, with 9 men — the Y’s Men has grown into one of Westport’s premier social and service organizations.
Every Thursday morning, guest speakers enlighten members on an enormous range of subjects, stimulating great discussions. In just the past year the group has heard from Connecticut’s governor, attorney general and chief justice, and a Federal Reserve Board governor.
The Y’s Men sponsor activities like hiking, skiing and bridge. There are clubs for international politics, investments, Apple technology, books, collecting, cameras and memoir writing. Y’s Men travel — locally, throughout the US, and abroad — on trips that combine education and sightseeing.
There are monthly dinners, summer evening picnics at Compo, singing with the Hoot Owls, listening to jazz, gardening, boating, golfing, tennis and ping pong.
And members throw themselves into a variety of service activities, from delivering food to the needy and transporting patients, to cleaning up public spaces.
What was most impressive on Tuesday, though, was the camaraderie and enjoyment the Y’s Men drew from the club, and each other.
“I had a great group of professional friends,” president Jeff Hare said. “Now I’ve got another great group. I feel as engaged with things today as I ever have.”
Another member — chowing down on a buffet line that stretched nearly the entire length of the meeting hall — said that although he lived in Westport his entire working life, he’d never really known the town. Now, he said, he knows its history, its people, its organizations, its rhythms, its beauty — and he is proud to help it, however he can.
Every member has a talent to share. MBAs help with finances; designers run the website; engineers offer insights during a discussion on oil drilling.
The Y’s Men are proud to be one of the largest and most successful retired and semi-retired men’s groups in the state.
They’re proud too that members span a broad political spectrum. Debates can be challenging. But, one member said, “If I’ve learned one thing in this group, it’s that you’re never too old to learn.”
(For more information on the Y’s Men click here, or contact Roy Fuchs by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone at 203-856-4321.)