ElderCollege makes move into community

Gourmet trends, Greek archeology, Michael Bublé, and ukuleles.

This may sound like a disparate list of topics but it represents some of the courses being offered through ElderCollege this semester.

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After more than two decades at Capilano University, the ElderCollege program is no longer being offered at the school as of this past December. It is now under the umbrella of the non-profit, independent organization North Shore ElderCollege Society, and courses are being offered at various locations across the North Shore in libraries, recreation centres, and even cafés.

Making the courses more accessible by moving them off campus and into the community is one of the goals of the new program, notes Kate Weiss, executive director of the North Shore ElderCollege Society. She says it was difficult for some seniors to get to the university campus. Offering courses in multiple locations makes it easier for them to attend. Parking was also considered and most of the new locations have free parking.

“Our focus is on providing learning opportunities out in the community where people live,” says Weiss.

An October press release from Capilano University announcing the change in delivery noted that the society will feature a volunteer board of directors that will work with volunteer staff to establish the program and identify new community partners and donors. The release also quoted university president Kris Bulcroft saying the school is proud to support the transition of the program to the community, and that the change ensures the program continues to offer residents the lifestyle and learning courses they have come to enjoy.

Weiss notes that discussions about the new program design started in the spring, the ElderCollege society was set up in August, and “it has been a very, very fast-paced rollout” since then with 23 courses being offered starting this month.

One of the upcoming talks features the talent scout who discovered crooner Michael Bublé. Other course themes include literature, archeology, and a popular current affairs discussion group that Weiss says was offered at the university for many years and always had a wait list. She doesn’t expect that to be the case with their program as they can offer more sessions of the series.

Other programs include book clubs and bird walks, as well as urban planning, history, technology, a travel series, and yes, even a course called Beginning Ukelele, led by a music teacher.

There is also a Day in the Life series featuring a roster of different speakers.

ElderCollege is holding an open house Jan. 7, 9-11 a.m., at Silver Harbour Centre, 144 East 22nd St., North Vancouver, for people who want to learn more about the program or register in person for a class. More information and registration is also available online at nseldercollege.org.

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