By: Gin Bulter, Visitor Center Ambassador
Well, Hi there folks!
Yes, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me.
Anyway, since I had some excess time I thought I’d explore what single/married individuals my age (74) do to keep their active minds busy. Now there’s always church, heavenly Bingo – I call it heavenly because so many of them are in churches – grocery shopping and the buck fifty movie theater down the street from me on the 2nd Wednesday of each month is always packed. (That’s because I live in an older part of southeast Denver amongst people my age and most of us get our Social Security checks on the 2nd Wednesday! So we can afford to spoil ourselves!) J But I digress.
I eventually went to the Stapleton Denver website and started exploring what was/is available to the 55+ residents of one of the fastest growing communities in the country; and what to my wandering eyes would appear, but an organization named Active Minds that is located here In the Stapleton/Park Hill communities! I heard about the organization, but had not investigated it. So my journey began—-
One of the founders of Active Minds is Zane Robertson. He was pleased to sit with me to enlighten me even more about the organization.
“Our mission is to expand lives and minds by providing outstanding educational programs. We believe in lifelong learning and fostering active minds for life. We achieve this by combining excellent teaching with thoroughly researched, compelling topics that matter. We deliver programs on-site, customized to each audience, but always presented objectively so that all perspectives are honored”, said Zane.
The Active Minds learning sessions are geared toward seniors, but are open to everyone. Their topics range from Arts & Music, World Issues, History, Current Events, and even future events (i.e. What will our nation be like post the Nov.8th election?). However, seniors (or mature adults, as I refer to us) appear to have interest in continuing their education, and if retired, the time to do so or just for fun; making new friends/getting together with old ones and experiencing new things.
So I decided to attend one of their sessions. The particular session I chose to attend was titled “Winter Holiday Traditions Around The World”. Now I thought this was going to be only about how different countries celebrated Christmas. I was mistaken!
The lecture was led by Ken Kirkland, who has a PhD in History. This particular session was about the summer and winter solstice from 3500BC to present day and how those celebrations evolved into what we now call Christmas. I was enthralled, as were the other 25 individuals in the room! The interaction with the instructor was enthusiastic and vibrant. As I like to say, “he was right on time.” The audience was diverse, with some from the neighborhood, some from a local care facility and others return movies/books to the library, etc. The one thing in common was all were “mature adults”.
The learning experiences are not all held in a lecture hall setting. Bus tours are also scheduled for educational outings. What was also great to hear was classes are also handicap accessible. Zane and his co-founder, John Henderson, make every effort to be as inclusive as possible.
Additionally, classes are free! That’s due to the support of a number of donors, such as The Tattered Cover, Commission on Aging, 9 Health Fair, Health One and many others. In fact, the Stapleton’s Master Community Association (MCA) is a sponsor and arranges for many sessions to be held at the Sam Gary Library in Stapleton.
The organization does no advertising. Their market is reached through word of mouth, retirement communities, and public libraries.
The excellent thing is they hold their informative sessions all over the metro area. Go to the Active Minds website for a list of learning sessions by date, time & location.
For individuals that want to keep their minds active (pun intended) I would suggest that you attend at least a few of the sessions. Again, in Stapleton, they are held in the Sam Gary library at 2961 Roslyn Street. But if you happen to see a topic that you’re interested in you’ll note they are scheduled all over the city.
Take the time to attend one session to learn, meet new people, make new friends, sign up for a mobile tour to learn/see more of Denver and the metropolitan area and keep those minds active!