On December 4, 2018 The Summit Old Guard celebrated their 4000th weekly meeting in a room filled to capacity with over 140 in attendance including Summit Mayor Nora Radest, and New Providence Mayor Al Morgan.
The Summit Old Guard has managed to maintain their vibrancy through the years. There were 6 fraternal organizations in New Jersey including Summit, Westfield, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Ramsey, Nutley ,Toms River, and ten out of stage chapters. Their members consist of retired men who join together to share common bonds, information and companionship through weekly meetings and many various activities which over the years included: Chess, Bridge, Bocci Ball, Fishing, Canoing, Mathamatics, Computer Technology, and most recently Walking. The organization has also taken many trips together to New York City Museums, Broadway Shows, and to historic sites in Philladelpha, West Point, and Trenton. They cruised to Bermuda and New England seaports and held annual events including picnics and “Ladies Day”.
The Summit group draws its members regionally. It was founded in 1930 and used to meet at the Summit YMCA, however when the 3-story walk up became an issue for members meetings were moved to the council room of the New Providence Municipal Center. Members have varied professional backgrounds, however, many have engineering backgrounds drawing from the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and telecommunications industries. Merk, Exxon, and Bell Labs are a few of the major employers in the area.
A program was presented which reviewed the history of the organization, and celebrated their many successes as a vibrant fraternal organization. Membership stands at 284, with 2 new members being inducted that day. It was noted that the Internet is a challenge to membership, as it makes it easy to stay home. However caring about learning, and meeting people with varied backgrounds, and interests will help the club face the challenges of the Internet and keep it vibrant into the future. Members are encouraged to invite retired friends to attend a meeting.
Joking that their 100th anniversary would be in 12 years “I don’t think many of us will be around at that time.” A slide show of the past 88 years was presented and members were encouraged to call out names of those remembered, lots of memories and chuckles ensued.
Twenty-year members were presented with pins, and many former Directors who were in attendance shared a few words about their experiences. Some that couldn’t attend sent notes to be shared with the group. All comments and notes had a common theme, the organization had a profound effect on members’ lives, and all were grateful for the experiences and friendships. Art Bauer, a former Director stated in part “ Congratulation on your 4000 gifts to Summit area members. Keep it up!”
If you are a retired male and have an interest in living an interesting life with like-minded men… new members are always welcomed. Put on your business casual attire or jacket & tie (or something more casual from May to September) and attend a meeting.
Meetings are held each Tuesday in the council meeting room of the New Providence NJ Municipal Center at 360 Elkwood Ave, New Providence NJ, starting at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation, followed by programs consisting of stimulating talks by people such as past governors, mayors, politicians, Nobel Prize winners, physicians, judges, professors, scientists, economists, authors, journalists, etc.
After the meetings, many members join together to have lunch at various local restaurants.
In addition to the weekly meetings, there are activity groups for golf, bridge, hiking, trips, computer help, tennis and more.
- Jan. 8 “Nice Presidents Finish Last” – Dr. Dan Cassino, Professor of Political Science, Fairleigh Dickinson University and author. Too often, the most successful presidents aren’t those that we’d want to bring home to meet the family. Various presidents will be discussed to see what we really should be looking for in a president.
- Jan. 15 “Same Bed — Diferent Drems: Is There Anything to Learn from the Canadian Model” – Dr. Michael Hawes, CEO Fulbright Canada and professor at Queens University. He will speak about publicly funded health care, immigration experience, and publicly funded education.
- Jan. 22 “Iowa Class Battleships: Their History and Inner Workings from a US Navy Veteran” – Keith Nitka, US Navy veteran and volunteer aboard battleship USS New Jersey, will describe the Iowa class Battleships as a whole, providing interesting facts on each of the six types.
- Jan. 29 “Great Power Shifts in the International System and Implications for the United States” – Dr. Doug Simon, Professor Emeritus, Drew University, will discuss major power shifts occurring in the international system. China’s challenge to American Global preeminence, the rise of Eurasia, Russia’s efforts to reestablish its spehere of influence and the rise of hyper-nationalism threaten the post-WWII international order and pose major world dangers.