Fall is upon us and the start of a new school year for students at Yavapai College. For those who are retired, school will also be in session at the college’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI, as it is known fondly by its members) of Sedona and the Verde Valley.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Yavapai College is one of one hundred and twenty Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes across the United States. Partnering with the Division of Lifelong Learning at Yavapai College, OLLI of Sedona and the Verde Valley is a dynamic organization created to meet the needs of intellectually active retired adults. One of the many perks of this educational environment is there is no pressure of tests or grades. All that is required is a love of learning.
OLLI of Sedona and the Verde Valley provides learning groups and workshops that are peer lead and facilitated rather than taught. The learning that takes places comes from the content and the interaction of the group itself. The instructors, or facilitators as they are called, are volunteers from all walks of life–the business sector, the academic sector, theological and philosophical backgrounds, arts, music, and crafts, and much more.
OLLI members are a gathering of curiosity-filled adults who are interested in connecting with a group of peers who share common goals–to learn new things and build upon personal experiences. OLLI is a unique blend of both expanding one’s knowledge base while having fun and making new friends. In addition to classroom activity, there are educational offerings that are conducted via field trips such as meditative hiking classes, treks that explore areas of Sedona and the Verde Valley, and bird watching, to name a few. Classes are conveniently offered at Yavapai College’s Sedona and Clarkdale campuses. The organization is also looking to offer a menu of classes at the Big Park School in the Village of Oak Creek.
What also makes OLLI unique is that it is a member-driven organization. Members have the opportunity to participate as volunteers in OLLI, assuming responsibility for curriculum development, marketing, membership, and support activities. Members may take leadership positions through organizing or teaching courses, serving on the council and committees or organizing tours.
This Fall, OLLI is proud to present 80 learning groups and workshop offerings. From history, politics, art, music, health and wellness, world cultures, spirituality and the metaphysical, culinary arts, computers and technology, there is something for everyone at OLLI. There are also special interest groups that have been with OLLI of Sedona and the Verde Valley since its inception, such as the Elder’s Wisdom Circle that discusses the joys and challenges of aging; News and Views that discusses current local, national, and international news, offering the opportunity to hear events from different vantage points; and the Book Club at the Jerona Café that meets to discuss the latest popular books followed by dining with members. In the words of OLLI member Gary Dorer, “Now is the time to learn those things that you didn’t have the chance to because you were so busy working.”
OLLI of Sedona and the Verde Valley will be launching meet-and-greet events at the Sedona and Cottonwood Libraries. OLLI will be at the Sedona Public Library through September 4 and will have Fall catalogs available for interested parties to review and take home. OLLI will be at the Cottonwood Library September 7-9 and October 4-9. The public is welcome and invited to OLLI’s Open House and Registration Event on September 10th from 1 pm-4 pm. It will be held at the Yavapai College, Sedona Campus, 4215 Arts Village Drive, Sedona, AZ.
For more information, please call 928-649-4275 or visit OLLI on the web and view the Fall 2010 catalog and facilitators’ biographies at www.yc.edu/lifelonglearners.
Article by Natalia Molina McKendry, MPH, Director of OLLI of Sedona & Verde Valley, Arizona 928-649-4275