Monday, November 10, 2008

Kukla, Fran, and OLLI

The stars of the old TV show, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, and its Kuklapolitan Players, are among my favorite childhood icons. Spend some time on their blast from the past website for some delightful déjà-vu, boomer style.

Today I want to introduce you to a different “OLLI.” Rather than a snaggletooth dragon, it stands for
Osher Life-Long Learning Institute. I love the hidden truth in words. If you don’t want life to “drag on,” meet the anti-dragon—the OLLI of life-long education.

There are 119 OLLI’s throughout the US. The National Resource Center website for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes is located at the University of Southern Maine (USM). OLLI disseminates information on effective educational programming for older learners. In addition to providing information and connections via its web site, the Resource Center publishes a national research journal, plans an annual national conference, and provides a number of other ways for OLLI’s to connect with one another.”

That’s OLLI on the macro scale, but let’s talk about what it can do for you. For example, the OLLI at West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown hosted a week-long event in September called “Learn 50+.” The theme was Keeping Our Brains Alive. It featured research on boomers/retirees who engage in learning activity—how continuous learning exhibits physical changes in the brain and leads to better mental and physical health. To
find the OLLI nearest you, click on your state on the OLLI map site.

Meanwhile, let me tell you about our
OLLI at Sierra College in Rocklin, California. I think you’ll be amazed! The ads aren’t exaggerated when they call them personal enrichment classes without tests or grades and high-quality learning experiences.

First, these classes are free to anyone 55 or older. While designed for the older learner, any adult student is welcome. Additional special lectures are available for $35 per year or $65 per couple along with many other member benefits. They even offer a three-month Sample Membership for $19 for the those who just want to put a toe in the water.

Credit where credit is due: My husband Tim discovered OLLI and has been taking t’ai chi and other classes through the program for the past few years. This month, we’re taking—together—“The Films of the Coen Brothers.” That’s Joel and Ethan and Blood Simple
(1984), Barton Fink (1991), Intolerable Curelty (2003), Fargo (1996), and No Country for Old Men (2007), last year’s Academy Award winner for best picture. I look forward, while dissecting these films, to getting a clue about what were those Coen Brothers thinking when they wrote those movies, especially Fargo, one of my favorite dark comedies.

To give you the flavor of other local OLLI offerings:

· Art of the City: Florence
· Personal Investments
· Classic Italian Film
· Modern American Comedy
· Tough Women in Classic Hollywood Films
· Writing Your Life Story
· Haunted: The Life and Words of Edgar Allan Poe
· Franz Schubert: His Music and Life
· Beginning A Cappella Singing
· Fitness Options for Older Adults

Granted, anyone who reads or writes blogs is probably already on this life-long learning quest. If you’re like me, though, you might relish the opportunity to rest your eyes and take a screen break, even though mine is just from the small to the big screen, so to speak. It’ll be cool to have some face time with some new friends. The Coen Brothers class is great!

When you meet your OLLI, please Comment. Let me know how you like him! Or tell us about any of your other life-long learning adventures.

Photo credit: Ollie by the late Ted Drake, Kuklapolitan artist.


Melodieann said...

I have an OLLI close to me at the U of A! I was not aware of this program until now. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely be contacting them to see what they have to offer.

Eileen Williams said...

Those classes look amazing! I'm a big fan of going to class and tend to learn best that way. I love the social aspect of meeting new people and discussing the pertinent points really brings things home for me.
I'm teaching a class for women ages 50 - 65 at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, CA. It will be held Saturday, Dec. 6th, If anyone wants more info, check out the media page on Feisty Side of Fifty.
Thanks, Joyce for the great information!!

Beverly said...


This is interesting that you would mention this because I just read something about OLLI in NC. It's actually at UNCW in Wilmington, NC and they have events starting next week. UNCW is about three and a half hours away but if I ever discover anything closer, I'll be sure to look into it. Thanks for the info!

PopArtDiva said...

If I ever find some time this is a great thing to check out for enriching my life and expanding my focus. Sometimes I get way too wrapped up in work!

Karen O'Bannon said...

I have never hear of this before, but I'm sure it's something my father would be interested in. Will be sure to pass the information along.