Meet a host: ‘I didn’t want our group to disband so I put my hand up’

Oct 23, 2019
Starts at 60's Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups are a great way to meet other like-minded over-60s. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t receive a request from one of our Starts at 60 community members to hold one of our monthly Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups outside of business hours. We appreciate that not everyone over 60 is going to be retired and that many of you are still working (well into your 60s and 70s too!), just ask our events coordinator, Karen, who in her own words is “well over 60”.

Rest assured, holding an after-hours meet-up is not impossible. There are a few Starts at 60 community meet-ups being coordinated at weekends and after 5pm. However, it’s also true that these weekend and after-hours events do not attract the same attendance numbers one might expect.

What all our Starts at 60 Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups have in common is the need for a volunteer host. We have meet-ups both in Australia and New Zealand and we need volunteers on the ground locally to lead each group.

Being a volunteer host is not onerous. At each of the 90-plus meet-ups Starts at 60 facilitates, guests are responsible for their own costs, so the biggest consideration a host can have is finding the right location for the group. We’re always on the lookout for friendly, welcoming hosts who enjoy being a part of the Starts at 60 community and embraces the opportunity of meeting new people and will keep in touch with us so that we can keep abreast of your group’s progress.

Christa Caldecott-Michalak is the wonderful host of Starts at 60‘s Maroochydore/Mooloolaba meet-up group and says she got involved after moving to Queensland from Sydney, New South Wales.

“At the time I joined the group was hosted by a lovely lady by the name of Carol Camilleri. I’d been attending for several months when Carol announced she was undertaking further study and would no longer be able to host the meet-up. She asked if I would step into the role,” Christa says.

Not wanting to see the group disband, Christa willingly put her hand up to take over and she’s enjoyed the fun, friendship and fellowship that Start at 60‘s Community and Travel Buddies Meet-ups have brought.

“Even when Carol rejoined the group, she asked me to stay on as host,” Christa says. “Circumstances have seen us move venue and we now get together at The Alex Surf Club at Alexandra Headland, but we still have a lot of fun.”

Starts at 60 wants to bring over-60s together and even if you can’t get to one of our community meet-ups, we have plenty of opportunities online if you want to connect with other over-60s, gather information and be entertained. You might not be aware that as well as our Starts at 60 Facebook page, where we post all of our stories, we have a number of groups focused on special interests.

These groups include crafting, gardening, managing your money, sharing jokes and other fun posts, staying healthy and travel.

You can find out more about our groups by visiting the Starts at 60 Club or Facebook page and looking for the ‘Groups’ section (on the left-hand side of the page on desktop and underneath our videos on mobile). Be sure to look to see if there’s a group to suit you — you never know where you’ll find a new friend!

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