View the Bear Club 4 Men web site
The Bear Club 4 Men was started by a small group of men who were interested in engaging with other gay men in a social environment other than the bars. While they weren’t adverse to the bar scene, they wanted to develop friendships in other venues as well. So in September of 2004 the small clan put the word out, hoping to find like-minded individuals who were interested in joining. The response was loud and clear. Over the course of the next several months, membership grew one by one and two by two. The group was quickly becoming a club with a viable existence.
On December 2nd, 2004, the first Bear Club 4 Men event was held at Napalese Lounge in Green Bay. This was just a simple get-together where Club members provided food and held a fundraising raffle to put some coins in the coffer. The event surpassed all expectations, with a standing-room-only crowd enjoying the evening festivities. Two months later, in February of 2005, the Bear Club 4 Men developed its mission statement, established its bylaws and opened a checking account to store the honey collected from their fundraising efforts.
Since its inception, the Bear Club 4 Men membership and friends roster has grown to more than fifty. In addition to privately held events, such as slumber parties, pot luck dinners and game nights in the homes of member bears, the Club also holds more extravagant public events, such as the annual Bear Hug each February, the Spring Thaw Toga Party each March and the Salmon Run each summer. The Salmon Run is a camping trip, where the bears take to the water on a mile-long float down the Menominee River.
To the glee of members, the Bear Club 4 Men has become a strong and thriving organization, and a big supporter of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, its chosen charity. There is no evidence that the group plans to slip into hibernation any time soon.
Credits: History and description by NE Wisconsin LGBT History Project,
Paul "Cricket" Jacob and Lloyd Schaefer;
Web site design and layout by Don Schwamb.
Last updated: July-2009.