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OLLI offers classes, other member benefits

  • Quilters gather at their first meeting with sewing machines, fabric and chocolate. They say all three are essential for successful quilting.

  • Cyrena Arnold, meteorologist, shares her expertise in a recent OLLI class, “Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Weather.”

  • Hikers gather after their first hike at beautiful Marjory Swope Park. Courtesy photos

For the Monitor
Published: 9/22/2019 1:57:57 PM

OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, at Granite State College is well known for its broad array of non-credit courses for adults age 50 and above. The Fall term, well underway, has been true to that reputation. One OLLI member reported gleefully, “In one week I’ve taken three courses – one in fine arts, one in World War II history and one in sustainability/green science.”

Classes are held in four sites: Concord, Manchester, Seacoast and Conway, and members may attend classes in any site. Concord has 77 scheduled for the Fall term with a heavy emphasis, by request of the members, on history and politics. Notably, second place for categories preferred by members falls in the arts classification, both hands-on creative arts and performance art.

In the next month seats are available for tours of the art found in the N.H. State House and the new Merrimack County Superior Court. Classroom classes with room for more include All about Ticks, Retirement Living Options in N.H., Murder: Who Killed Jonas Parker, Native Americans and United States Law, and Love and Sex in Ancient Israel. Classes are open to nonmembers, but OLLI members attend at a discounted rate.

And there are other benefits of membership. Activities in Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are free to members. Concord has four SIGs which also reflect the diversity of interests of the membership. Chapter Chat, Concord’s Book Club has been meeting on the second Monday of every month for several years. The group selects books for the next several months, appoints group leaders to discuss each and welcomes new members. In an interesting deviation from the norm, the last meeting featured a discussion in which each member talked about his/her favorite childhood book and what it meant to them.

Garden Friends, a SIG for members with an interest in gardening, began last year. Members have attended a variety of flower shows, lunched at Pickity Place and visited each other’s flower and vegetable gardens exchanging tips and seeds along the way.

After leading several hikes as an OLLI class presenter, and responding to class members’ interest in hiking regularly, Ray Mercier founded the Concord Area Hiking Group SIG. Starting with the Marjory Swope Park Trail, following up with the Weir Road/Boscawen Town Forest, the group next plans to tackle the Wynant Park Trails and then Oak Hills Trails. The group intends to hike year round; Ray contends that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

The newest SIG in Concord is the Piecemakers Quilting Group. Open to experienced quilters, the Piecemakers have already attracted two brand new OLLI members (from Bow!) with a passion for quilting. The group kicked off its activities with a trip to the Lady of the Lakes Quilt Show in Wolfeboro and has begun meeting at Granite State College twice a month to work on quilting projects. Besides working on their own individual projects at one of the two meetings each month, as a group they will use the second meeting to create a quilt for charity. The first charitable project will be a pink scrappy quilt to be donated to the Concord Hospital fundraiser for Breast Cancer Genetic Research.

Learning in OLLI comes in many forms and SIGs are a popular way to extend the classroom experience in all four sites. Hiking, snowshoeing, dining out, political books, handwork and ukulele are SIGs in OLLI’s other sites.

OLLI members have a great deal of influence over the program they experience. Whether as a volunteer on a committee that chooses the classes and presenters, on one of the governing committees that steers the policies and procedures, on the travel committee deciding on the destinations of future day- and multi-day trips or any other part of the OLLI member experience, OLLI members are in charge of their destiny. Information about OLLI at Granite State College is on or by calling 513-1377.

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