Who are we?
The Northeast Ursamen is a non-political, gay fraternal organization that exists to provide bears and their admirers with opportunities to meet and enjoy time together in a variety of safe and fun social events. So you think you’re a bear? Do you like bears? Good – you’ve come to the right place! Do you want to know more about us or are you ready to join the club?
Meet our Club Officers!
We welcome our new President, Dave Rospo!
Dave has been an Ursamen member for seven years. In that time he has served two terms as Member-at-Large and one term as Events Coordinator, before being elected as our current President. His experience, knowledge, and dedication will help make him a valued leader.
He grew up in upstate New York, then moved to Binghamton, where he helped form the Bears of Binghamton. Moving to Connecticut seven years ago, he then joined our organization. He is a chef and has worked as a butcher to help round out his culinary field.
Dave’s goal as President, is to help build the membership and our sense of “Bear Brotherhood” both within the club, and extending that feeling of brotherhood to the whole LGBTQ community.
Bio coming soon!
Scott joined the Northeast Ursamen during the Club’s inaugural Memorial Day weekend campout in 1993. During the course of his membership, he’s served two terms as Member-at-Large, one term as Vice President, and is now currently serving as Events Coordinator.
He is a born and bred Connecticut Yankee. A member and former officer of the original Hartford Colts MC, he brings years of experience to his current post. Commitment and perseverance are key to his approach to any endeavor.
Scott’s vision for the Ursamen is to bring back the feeling of brotherhood and camaraderie he experienced when the club was newer and much smaller – while maintaining the advantages and resources of belonging to a larger, more mature and established organization. His other main goal is to get members to become more active, participating at more events, and for them to become more self-empowered to create and run their own small groups and events.
Jay “JJ” Garrison
JJ joined the Ursamen last year when Dave Rospo, then Event Coordinator, spotted the wandering bear in the vendor area at Hartford Pride. The outgoing Dave was beaming with bear pride and JJ was very happy to be approached. He joined that afternoon online, and has been at nearly every event since joining the club.
He was born and raised in California and moved to Connecticut in 2008 to help out family. He was not part of the bear community in California but was a very active member of the Rainbow RV Club. Much fun was had with members of all stripes of the LGBT community. OMG… The Saturday night potlucks were insane!!!
JJ recently stepped up to fill the vacant Secretary position until elections are held later this year at the annual meeting. He is no stranger to taking meeting minutes. In high school he competed on a parliamentary procedure debate team. He served as Secretary for all three years he was on the championship team. One year he received accolades for the neatest and most complete minutes the judges had ever seen. Luckily for the Ursamen, he will be presenting typed minutes. He worked in Silicon Valley for his entire adult life before moving to Connecticut, so penmanship is no longer a strength.
He looks forward to serving the Ursamen in the role of the club Secretary and in any other way he can be useful. He has a bad case of volunteeritis.
Richie is our senior board member, in January 2017, he began his 12th year as the club’s Treasurer as well as being the club’s photographer.
He joined the club in 1996, and then sat on the sidelines before being nominated for Treasurer at the 2005 Annual Meeting, and has been voted in unanimously ever since. During his time on the board he has served under eight administrations, with our current President, David Rospo, being the ninth.
In addition to handling the clubs finances, he also takes care of all the corporate filings and taxes for the club. He currently resides in North Haven CT, he is happily partnered, and enjoys photography, gardening, hiking, biking, going to the beach and spending vacations in Provincetown, MA.
Richie holds degrees in Floriculture and Business Administration/Accounting. He currently works for a state university in their purchasing department, and also serves on the university President’s LGBTQ Advisory Council.
Member at Large
Originally a native of New Hampshire, Mark moved to Connecticut in 1988 and joined the Northeast Ursamen in 1996, after hearing about the club from several different sources. His first event was the Luau at the home of then club President, Al Dro.
According to Mark, the club welcomed him and he immediately felt part of a cooperative community that supported it members. Since then he’s made many long lived friendships that have come to be his chosen family here in Connecticut.
In 1996, he also became a founding member of the Connecticut Gay Men’s Motorcycle Club. He directed that club from 2000 through 2004 which later changed its name to the Wildfire, MC. Since the motorcycle club is no longer in operation, he is now focusing the majority of his social time with the Ursamen. He looks forward to continuing and furthering the work that our prior board has done in the LGBTQ community.