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Join in the fun: Up — out of the rocking chair

By Kathryn Ransom, past president, Lincoln Land Community College Academy of Lifelong Learning

Kathryn Ransom

Three cheers for the Lincoln Land Community College Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) staff, committee chairs and loyal members for the incredible support and ingenuity exhibited during the past year of isolation, discouragement, lonely days and for some, pain and sickness. The creativity exhibited by the team is worthy of praise. ALL is an organization of which to be proud.

I am delighted to be a member of an energized, engaged, caring, tenacious group of lifelong learners. Almost every small group has found a way to involve their special team of participants. Zooming provided a way for discussions and interaction. Golfers spread out over nine holes of green turf in a safe manner. Speakers were invited to share from afar for several special interest groups. Tech folk helped each other through it all as we got comfortable with Zoom.

Our staff, under the leadership of Laurel Bretz, managed to keep the ship afloat through dark and lonely days, as face-to-face learning became a challenge. The ALL Executive Board, with president Kathy Dehen’s leadership, handled the business of our organization under incredibly unusual circumstances. What a wonderful team of caring individuals!

As the vaccine becomes widely available and the thought of meeting face-to-face in some capacity is on the horizon, Sally Cadagin, our president-elect, has put together a Summer of Fun planning committee. ALL members can anticipate a panoply of options for building a community of learners this season through learning and social events. May promises an outdoor event at a winery with musical entertainment. In June we look forward to an outdoor games day. Come and see what surprises the game committee has in store for us. July finds a day for a delicious ice cream social in conjunction with some evening music at a park. Later this summer we can also look forward to a downtown, outdoor scavenger hunt and tree walk. (That is a great activity for folks who appreciated hunting and searching years ago with friends. My curiosity ponders what might be the subjects of our search on the scavenger hunt. Also, this scribe must admit I have never seen a tree walk, so I must attend that event.)

This brings us to our annual Fall Kickoff which is a time for renewing friendship and discovering the activities for the year. Watch the news for a September date.

What a creative array of options for our members and guests. It is time to join in fun and learning with friends who also believe that we are never too old to refresh our spirits with joyful activities. Grab your masks and participate, not for a “hold-up” but for a “show-up” to meet and greet again. Remember, non-members are welcome to try out one of our programs or events without a formal invitation. To learn more about the Academy of Lifelong Learning and/or to join, email or call 217-786-2432.

Now, my challenge to each member. With whom have you shared the joy of adult learning experiences found through the creative options of our organization? New members do not just hop out of the bushes and rush to join. Personal invitations to come and investigate this wealth of activities are crucial. Our executive board, office staff and committee chairs are not able to do it alone. ONLY YOU know that timid, lonely, energetic, creative, thoughtful, friendly person who needs a nudge to come and see — to see what fun we each have.

Won’t you join me today in encouraging at least one person to investigate this “hidden treasure” for senior involvement? We are the ALL folk. We are for ALL seniors having fun while learning ALL sorts of information.