Embracing Aging Report to be unveiled at OLLI Founders' Lecture Oct. 17

York County has the potential to become a great place for people to age well, according to York County Community Foundation’s Embracing Aging Initiative. A report from the Embracing Aging Committee featuring specific strategies on the topic will be released at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s (OLLI’s) Founders’ Lecture and Luncheon on Oct. 17 at the Penn State York. The program is from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the conference center of the Main Classroom Building at the campus.  Attendees will be able to voice their opinions and provide feedback about the report in a lively and interactive discussion at the OLLI Founders’ Lecture.

Tickets are on sale now at $30 for OLLI members and $35 for nonmembers and include lunch. For tickets call 717-771-4015 or email OLLI at olli@yk.psu.edu. Deadline for purchase is Oct. 10.

The Embracing Aging Initiative set out to examine the factors that make a community livable for all ages. The goal of the initiative was to dispel negative views on aging and create a strong network of services and amenities that help people age well and improve the quality of life for all York Countians.

York County, along with communities throughout the nation, is preparing for a growth in the population of baby boomers seeking to retire.

“York County Community Foundation is excited to be releasing our Embracing Aging Report and begin working with other community stakeholders on the process of building a better community for people to age well,” said Jane Conover, vice president of community investment, York County Community Foundation, and facilitator of the presentation.  

As this most populous demographic enters into the senior phase of their lives, the challenge for York County will be to retain these aging boomers as vibrant, active members of our community while meeting their changing needs. This “age wave” inspires York County to compete for the relatively new designation as an “age-friendly” community. But what exactly is an “age-friendly” community and how can it be applied to York?

With the help of Partners for Livable Communities, a nationally recognized leader in the field, the Community Foundation’s Embracing Aging Committee examined best practices, conducted focus groups, and evaluated surveys of York County’s older adults. The concept of a livable community for all ages makes workplaces, schools, cultural activities and neighborhoods accessible to people of all ages. It supports a strong, coordinated network of amenities and services to meet the spectrum of needs of the 50+ demographic. As people view aging more positively, communities become a more desirable place to live and visit with the resulting benefit of a thriving area economy.

The roots for the Community Foundation’s Embracing Aging Initiative are 100 years old: In 1913, Anna Gardner bequeathed her estate to create her legacy that today continues through the work of the Embracing Aging committee of York County Community Foundation.

Since the OLLI group is focused on providing lifelong learning opportunities to improve the lives for those ages 50 and older, the Founders’ Lecture was selected as the place to release the initiative’s report.

The Founders’ Day event honors the work of OLLI founders Charmaine Kissinger, Olive Padden, and the late Gussie Petron, three women who were bored and ready to make more of their retirement. Their mantra of “curiosity never retires” and their thirst for knowledge and mental stimulation, led them to gather volunteers and OLLI was born in August 2007 with the first courses offered in April 2008. The group has grown from a handful of people to more than 500 members.

OLLI is a nonprofit, volunteer driven organization established to enrich the lives of mature adults living in York County by providing a variety of educational and social enrichment activities. OLLI at Penn State York is one of more than 100 lifelong learning institutes across the nation that is supported by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The grant was made available locally though Penn State at University Park which also has an OLLI program.

A chance meeting of the trio, who called themselves a cog (Charmaine, Olive, Gussie) in the wheel of learning at the Jacobus Library, was the beginning of what would later become OLLI. They began talking about what could be done to provide adult learners with educational opportunities and more. The idea of offering courses of interest during the day for adult learners without the stress of tests, requirements, and official textbooks appealed to them.

The group met with then continuing education representatives at Penn State York, Bea Landis and Beth Gill-MacDonald, and things began to fall into place. York contacted the University and thanks to some quick hard work, York was named one of the University’s OLLI sites.   Since that time, through the efforts of volunteers, OLLI has developed committees, offered courses, has a website, and a newsletter. Penn State York’s OLLI group has a home in the Bradley Building at the campus, which houses the Continuing Education Department. The organization has continued to grow, offering a variety of daytime courses, bus trips, walking tours, and other exciting activities.
To cover costs, OLLI has a $50 yearly membership fee that covers two semesters and a fee for each course taken based on its length. OLLI courses are taught by volunteers who want to share their expertise and talents including college faculty members, hobbyists, artists, schoolteachers, and practicing professionals. The classes are offered during the day in a variety of formats, with most meeting on the Penn State York campus. 

Course topics range from culture, literature, history and nature to politics, science, religion, healthy nutrition, and travel. There also is a Knitting Club and social events planned throughout the year.

Since OLLI is a volunteer organization, the group is always looking for individuals who want to be a part of a group that enjoys learning and loves to have fun. OLLI members can choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities and participation is flexible, allowing members to contribute as their schedules permit.

Call 717-771-4015 or email olli@yk.psu.edu to receive registration and activity information. Visit the website at http://olli.yk.psu.edu to learn more about OLLI at Penn State York.

Last Updated September 19, 2013