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: http://www.partnersinlearning.ca. OR call 519-238-8800.

Partners in Learning presents “A Grand Illumination” Awards

This Christmas, a Grand Bend committee has initiated a series of efforts to encourage Grand Bend to “Light Up”. Also this year, Partners in Learning is honouring the season by providing judges and prizes for the most beautiful, imaginative, and spirited outdoor lighting. On Wednesday, December 17, the Partners Executive presented the winners of the Grand Illumination Contest. They are as follows:

  • For the Best of Business lighting, Robin and Richard Cooke’s AKsence on Main Street wins first prize for its colourful storefront. There were countless runners up.
  • timberwood trail winner lauren

    Lauren presents to Gary Harbin

    For providing a display of lighting and sound to appeal to everyone, but perhaps most of all to children, the Children’s Choice Award goes to Gary Harbin at 8812 Timberwood Trail.

  • For Elegant Design, the committee of judges were tied, and so we have co-winners of this award. They are Mark Relouw residence at 9923 Parkview in Vandongen, and the
    WEE LAKE

    Gary Eisler residence, Wee Lake

    Gary Eisler residence at 10135 Jennison Crescent, Wee Lake. These houses represent what magic can be created by simple white incandescent lighting as well as by the dancing lights of LED technology.

  • In recognition of the great losses in trees and landscaping borne by so many, this year’s Spirit of Christmas Award goes to The Charlie Brown tree of Huron Woods, owned and cherished by Jacqui Krech at 9933 Pinetree Court .
  • Because of the very high degree of participation and clear enthusiasm for the project, Merrywood Meadows wins the prize for Dazzling Neighbourhood Award. The award is accepted by Joan and Bill Hoffman, whose house at 10200 Pineview Crescent, Merrywood, was on almost every judge’s short list.

Partners in Learning congratulates everyone who brought a wintertime sparkle to Grand Bend. Please go out and witness Grand Bend alight. Please admire the symphony of colour at the Crawford’s famous Wee Lake residence.  On your way by, salute the Greens’ stalwart tree trunks in Merrywood. Find a friend to let you into the Cove and slowly drive its brilliant streets. Grand Bend is ablaze with Christmas spirit.

Webmaster Note: A special thanks to Nancy Winters for leading the PIL executive through this process.

President invites all members to Dec. 1 Potluck and AGM

“… let me invite all members and their guest to our Annual General Meeting and Christmas Potluck Luncheon of Partners In Learning at the Southcott Pines Clubhouse, 10246 Lakeview Ave., Grand Bend on Monday, December 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm.”

Jacquelyn Southcott

Read more in the letter here:  AGM – Potluck Invitation Letter

Molly Russell Hosts Summer Solstice Gathering, June 21

Our own, indomitable Molly Russell will be hosting a celebration on the start of summer.  In her own words …

“I will be hosting the annual Summer Solstice gathering on Saturday, June 21st at Maple Grove for members of Partners and their partners, family, whatever, at 7:00 PM.  Folks are asked to bring a chair, some munchies for later and a beverage if they wish.  I’ll supply a non alcoholic punch.  Don Santor will bring the song sheets and please bring drums, musical instruments and your voices.  Could you please park in the playing field on the left side of the driveway before ascending the hill, crossing the bridge and arriving at my place, #5.
We will hopefully bring in a warm and beautiful summer which is long overdue.”
Molly.

Bill Metcalfe to receive “Caring Canadian Award”

PIL Life Member, Bill Metcalfe, is the recipient of the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in recognition of his contribution to his community. This award is presented on behalf of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. The Caring Canadian Award, which was established by the former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc, recognizes individuals who volunteer their time to help others and to build a smart and caring nation.

Here is Bill’s narrative:

Bill MetcalfeBill Metcalfe is a man of many interests:  jazz, theatre, public speaking, and human nature, to name just a few.  But it is Probus that has become his great passion in recent years.

Bill grew up in Toronto, and served for five years in the Royal Canadian Air Force as an Aero-electrical technician.

In his professional career, Bill was a marketing and advertising executive, which might account for his deep interest in HUMOUR.  He spent the last 10 years of his career at the former Champion Road Machinery in Goderich, as Director of Marketing Services. Bill retired in 1988, and he and Mary then moved to Grand Bend.

But he continued his interest in business by working as a volunteer consultant in the Canadian Executive Services Overseas in China and Czechoslovakia. He also took an active part in various community projects around Grand Bend.

Bill and Mary have raised 9 children, and they now have 19 grand-children and 9 great grand-children.

In 1995, Bill joined with Don Tedford and others to form the Probus Club of Grand Bend and Area.  After serving a term as President of that club, Bill turned his attention to helping to establish other Probus clubs including the Women’s Probus Club of Grand Bend, and new clubs in Goderich, Exeter, and Forest.  He also facilitated the formation of new clubs in Strathroy and Naples, Florida.

Bill told me that what appealed to him most about Probus when he first learned about it, was that he wouldn’t have to do any work.  So I am a bit puzzled about Bill’s definition of ‘work’ or ‘no work’.

Above all, Bill is one of our area’s truly fine gentlemen.


The Executive of Partners in Learning can double-down on this praise for the “work” Bill did to create and support our organization. Well deserved Bill!

Jackie Southcott leads Partners in Learning into a Mind-Warming Winter

Nancy Winters
for the Lakeshore Advance, January 8, 2014

At its annual meeting on December 2, Partners in Learning elected a new execu­tive, celebrated two of its originators, and feasted in the tradition of the Christmas sea­son. Incoming President Jackie Southcott beckoned the membership into its winter session with the kind of enthusiasm this organization is famous for. “Partners gives us the opportunity to research new fields; to learn from our peers; to listen and be sym­pathetic, or not so sympathetic, to new points of view. We don’t have to agree, but we do have the opportunity to listen and reflect. We know enough to know there is always more to know. So I say to you, never stop learning! I believe that it’s the key to a richer life

She then invited the moderators of four winter courses to outline their plans for two five-week winter sessions. The first session,

beginning on January 6, will feature in the mornings “Canadian Heroes and Villains” and in the afternoons “What’s So Funny ­Investigating Humour’: Beginning Febru­ary 10, it will be “Ghosts, Goblins and Appa­ritions” in the mornings, and “Humanity in Crisis” in the afternoons. These courses are open to new members at any time, but are always more enjoyable right from the beginning.

Also at its meeting, Partners in Learning shone the spotlight of gratitude on John Merkies and Bill Metcalfe for having the vision to begin this organization. At every session, members understand anew why we needed this, and why John and Bill are to be praised for providing the opportunity.

Do come along to the Pinedale Motor Inn on Mondays at ten o’clock and/or two o’clock for some wonderful adventuring into learning. You will be warmed in heart and mind! Website at partnersinlearning.ca Or call 519-238-8800.

The winter courses are here!

Good winter morning to you all and Happy New Year, too.

Attached is a reminder about the courses and the times.  We begin NEXT WEEK.  If you prefer, come to the meetings and sign up there. But we always like to know in advance who is coming.  Send your registration information  to the folks on the attached message.

Looking forward to some serious laughs!
Best
Nancy E. Winters

New Year’s Reminder

Food for thought department

The Globe and Mail, December 21, 2013

… According to surveys by Volunteer Canada, an organization that encourages and facilitates community participation, older Canadians want to help others as part of their retirement; three out of every four boomer-aged volunteers get involved to put their skills and experience to good use – and to keep on learning.

This is why I got involved in Partners.
FYI from your Webmaster.

AGM Report

Southcott Pines Club House, December 2, 2013

Members and guests enjoyed a social get together and a pot luck lunch where no one goes hungry.  The group also heard about the upcoming winter course from the moderators.

DonS-AGM-2013

Don Santor, in his captivating style, presented “Humanity in Crisis” as moderator, and “Heroes and Villains” for Suzanne Davidson

MolleyR-AGM-2013

An enthusiastic Molly Russell talked about “Ghost and Goblins”.

Nancy Winters also got us interested in “What’s so Funny”.

Down to Business …

In addition to the usual administrative parts of the meeting, three items stand out. In recognition of their efforts starting up and supporting Partners in Learning in Grand Bend, John Merkies and Bill Metcalfe were awarded plaques and life membership.

Bill&John-AGM-2013

Pictured from the left: Jim Southcott, Jackie Southcott, incoming President, Bill Metcalfe, John Merkies and Dinah Taylor, Past President.

Incoming President, Jackie Southcott, in her message presented a vision for “Partners”.  Here are some highlights of that speech.

  • I believe that Partners In Learning offers us a community of caring and interested people to surround ourselves with.

  • … what better place than Partners to share your dreams with us. Show us your passion; engage your audience with what makes you happy. It’s contagious you know.

  • Partners gives us the opportunity to research new fields; to learn from our peers; to listen and be sympathetic, or not so sympathetic, to new points of view. … We don’t have to agree, but we do have the opportunity to listen and reflect. … We know enough to know there is always more to know. So I say to you, never stop learning! I believe that it’s the key to a richer life.

  • Partners gives us the opportunity to explore and learn about different cultures, beliefs and customs of our world.

  • … I challenge those of you who have as yet not felt comfortable enough to make a presentation to step forward as well. You can partner up with someone, or seek help from your moderator or go it alone with something that interests you…express your passion. We have a new slate of courses to interest everyone. We will be very proud of you, but more importantly, you will be very proud of yourself!

And last but not least a new executive was acclaimed.  A special thanks to Cam Taylor who is retiring as Treasurer / Registrar.  Welcome to Bob and Marlene.

President: Jacquelyn Southcott, 519.238.8800
Vice President: Robert Kennedy
Secretary: James Southcott
Treasurer/Registrar: Marlene Bannister
Past President: Dinah Taylor
Curriculum Chair: Beckey Jackson
Publicity: Nancy Winters
Webmaster: Mike Ash