Partners in Learning celebrate ten years with new formats

Lakeshore Advance, September 9, 2015

When Partners in Learning gathers on September 14 to start its fall schedule of courses, it will also be embarking on the second decade of its activity in Grand Bend. Originally the brainchild of John Merkies and Bill Metcalfe and several others, Partners in Learning is modeled after a London organization known as Society for Learning in Retirement.

Ten years ago, some local people were attempting, even in the drifts of winter, to attend sessions in London, but were growing more and more wary of the drive. They took a look around at the retirement community located here and realized that it represented a huge range of experience and knowledge. Why could we not have a similar learning-focused group in Grand Bend? And so we did. And so we do.

“We cater to a rather select group”, said Nancy Winters, when asked who Partners appeals to. “But not select in the way some people assume. We are not `intellectuals. Rather we are retirees who miss the stimulation and challenge of the workplace, and seek out an organization to keep our brains sharp and sustain our natural need for social interaction. We are people who want to understand aspects of our world that we did not have time to think about while we were raising children and making a living:’

In celebration of ten successful years, we are changing our morning courses to accommodate people who do not feel comfortable doing research and writing presentations. We have operated by the same peer-learning format for ten years. Since retirees in this community are already extremely busy, we are basing the morning courses on the extensive availability of digital formats. This fall we will be relying on TED Talks. This is a very gentle way back into the education some people mistakenly believe that they have outgrown. Our first morning course will be “Head Games” a series of talks and discussion on the mysteries and marvels of the human brain.

Our afternoon courses will be in the original format. The first of these will be a timely series called “Understanding Islam: For so many of us the middle east is increasingly confusing and worrisome. This course will try to put the faith and lifestyle of millions into a reasonable perspective.

We meet Mondays at the Pine Dale Motor Inn, which has become like a second home for us. For most of us, “Blue Monday” has morphed into the best day of the week We urge retirees from the entire region to give us a try. And if you still work, but not on Mondays, we have some thing truly different for you!

We also offer two discussion formats on Tuesday afternoons at the Pine Dale Lounge at 2:00 p.m.. These are Socrates Cafe, at which we offer members a chance to debate issues of the time; and a new, more informal gathering to Grand Bend issues called Talk of the Town. Socrates Cafe takes place on the third Tuesday of the month. Talk of the Town is on the first Tuesday of each month.

For additional information, please look at our web-site: OR call 519-238-8800.