50 over 50

Philip Johnson recognized as an “Isolation buster”


The American Association of Retired People (AARP) annually selects 50 individuals, all over 50 years old, to be recognized for their volunteering contributions. This year a U.S. Men’s Shed Member was selected for his work as an “Isolation Buster.”

Sixty-nine-year-old USMS Director Philip Johnson of Wayzata MN is a national volunteer organizer for the U.S. Men’s Sheds Association, a non-profit focused on reducing social isolation, loneliness, and loss of self-esteem in retired men. The idea: giving men opportunities to build community and connectedness by spending time together in …. you guessed it …. Sheds.

Men’s Sheds are groups of locally organized older men looking to work together, make friends, and socialize in the company of men.  Johnson was one of the first people in the US to see the potential of the Men’s Shed movement to become a national force for improving the physical and mental health for older men in America. 

Phil, impressed by well-documented health and well-being experienced by Men’s Shed members in other countries, brought the first operating U.S. Men’s Shed together in Minnesota in 2016. Within the year, he helped start five more local Men’s Sheds in Minnesota and Wisconsin and in the process donated over 3,000 hours of his own time during the last two years. 

Working with Men’s Shed Leaders in Australia, Ireland, the UK and Canada, Johnson and the other four Directors of the US Men’s Sheds Association have seen the formation of 13 active Men’s Sheds in the US, with another 10 Sheds now being formed around the country.