Celebrating 20 Years!

Celebrating 20 Years!

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is a group of more than 1,000 individuals, age 50 and over, who learn together through three distinct programs: OLLI Classes, OLLI Learning Trips, and OLLI Study Groups.

Here, members can discuss what they learned, what they enjoyed, and offer suggestions to enhance future program offerings.

Take a look at the photos we're taking, and the discussions we're having as OLLI members.

Whether we're in class, in town, or out of town ... we're on the go, having fun, and constantly learning.

We look forward to reading your comments!

While you're online, be sure to visit our website www.bradley.edu/continue/olli to register for our programs.

Don't forget -- OLLI has its own YouTube Channel, where you can see video clips of Learning Trips, Classes, and Study Groups!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Leading Across Generations -- February 19, 2010

Who would guess that a pair of shoes could cause friction? That’s where last week’s “Leading Across Generations” workshop started—with a pair of flip flops.

Hosted by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Bradley, the workshop placed over 100 Bradley students, staff, and OLLI members in multi-age work groups discussing generational differences. The shoes served as a perfect analogy for identifying how your age can influence your behavior.

“Flip flops were the lowest form of footwear when I was young,” said facilitator Haydn Shaw. “You wore them to the shower at the campground. But today, flip flops are worn at work,” he continued.

Hayden’s workshop highlighted that for the first time in history, four generations are in the workforce: Traditionalists (born between 1901 – 1943); Baby Boomers (born between 1944 – 1964); Gen Xers (born between 1965 – 1981); and Millennials (born between 1982 – 2003). Each generation has its own perspectives, styles, and biases, and these make the work place an environment where values may collide.

“Beyond work, these values show up in our families, our churches, our little leagues, and the way we live,” said Shaw.

Workshop participants, representing the four generations, engaged in activities and discussions about their generational differences. “I wore a suit and tie for 37 years,” said retiree, Gil Nolde, as his student counterparts, dressed in jeans and, yes, flip flops, shook their heads sympathetically.

Throughout the 4-hour workshop, the tone shifted from hilarity to reflection as participants challenged their own generational stereotypes and learned that differences, while sometimes tense, are also good starting points for real dialogue.

“We observe that younger generations have advantages that we didn’t have, but we don’t see the challenges they have that we didn’t,” said Shaw noting that most children in his generation could play “til the streetlights come on” but that today’s parents are concerned about safety and focusing on “stranger danger.”

“When it comes to the challenge of leading across different generations, great leaders see opportunities where others see only problems,” writes Shaw in his guide, “21 Day Challenge.” “Great leaders don’t ignore differences…they embrace them.”

Special thanks to Carla Montez, Marketing Director for Continuing Education, for writing this article!

To learn what Lydia Moss Bradley thought of the workshop, be sure to visit her blog!

Weekend Comedy -- February 11, 2010

It was an evening of friends, laughter, and theater history when OLLI traveled to Goodfield, Illinois to visit the Barn II Dinner Theater and enjoy a performance of "Weekend Comedy."

Prior to the performance, we were escorted into the dining area and treated to an exclusive presentation by the theater's managing director, Mary Simon. She gave an enthusiastic talk about the history of "The Barn," and its founding manager, Chaunce Conklin.

After her presentation, question-and-answer session, and a buffet dinner, we relaxed and enjoyed the performance, a comedy about two couples sharing a cabin over the Valentine's Day weekend.

OLLI extends a big thank you to Mary Simon and her staff at the theatre, who did an amazing job of making us feel welcome during the visit.

To learn more about the Barn II Dinner Theatre, please visit its website.

Toraason Glass -- February 10, 2010

OLLI members enjoyed a lively cure for their cabin fevers in early February when we took at trip to Toraason Glass in downtown Peoria.

While visiting the new studio, Hiram Toraason led a tour of his gallery and demonstrated the techniques of working with 2,000-degree molten glass to create a one-of-a-kind work of art. (Actually, this time, we were treated to two demonstrations, since his first project suffered a crack and didn't turn out properly).

While working on the projects, he talked about the history of his business and the excitement involving his new studio. A business and marketing major at Southern Illinois University, Hiram put his degree to work when it came time to design his new space. The front of the building features shelves upon shelves of completed work, and the back is dedicated to the three furnaces and other equipment used to create the pieces.

OLLI thanks Hiram for once again providing an informative and fun day at his studio.

For more information, please visit Toraason Glass on the web.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Winter Wilderness Adventure -- February 4, 2010

Three dozen OLLI members braved the cold to participate in our Winter Wilderness Adventure on Thursday, February 4.

We traveled to Starved Rock State Park to watch eagles and take a wintry hike to the top of Starved Rock. Joining us on our adventure was Maury Brucker, President of the Illinois Audubon Society. Maury provided wonderful insights about bird conservation efforts throughout the state, and gave great eagle watching advice and assistance, too.

Our guided trolley tours took us to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, where we heard experts talk about the history of bald eagles in Illinois. We stepped out onto the balcony to view the eagles, and spotted several in trees and on an island in the river. The trolleys then transported us to Buffalo Rock, where we saw even more eagles and gazed at the frozen waterfalls along the way.

Back at Starved Rock, our docent, Abby, took some members on a hike around the park, while others braved the icy conditions to climb to the top of the rock.

It was another great day of learning, and OLLI extends heartfelt thanks to Maury Brucker and the staff at Starved Rock State Park for making our trip even more delightful.

For more information about our trip, please visit the Illinois Audubon Society and Starved Rock State Park.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Five Points Washington -- January 21, 2010

What originally started as an idea for a fitness center has blossomed into a large multi-purpose facility with a partnership among with the City of Washington, the Washington Park District, Washington Community High School, Washington District Library, and the Washington Area Community Center (WACC) Board.

OLLI visited Five Points Washington, the non-profit, 136,000 square-foot facility in mid-January. During the tour, we viewed the fitness center, indoor track, aquatics center, gymnasium, performing arts center, banquet rooms, and the library. Two members of the WACC Board, President Sherril West and Secretary Kris Hasten, also addressed our group and explained the incredible community support that helped build the facility, which now boasts more than 7,000 members.

OLLI extends its appreciation to Sherril and Kris, along with General Manager Vikki Poorman, who provided an incredible learning experience and informative tour. For more information about the facility, please visit the Five Points Washington website.

Scottish Ethnic Dinner -- January 16, 2010

OLLI's latest ethnic dinner celebrated the Scottish culture at the 41st Annual Burns Supper at the Itoo Hall in Peoria.

More than 30 OLLI members joined 100+ other guests for the ever popular and traditional evening of Scottish music, dancing, toasts, and addresses by members of the Peoria Scottish American Society.

Special thanks to the Peoria Scottish American Society, as well as Dick and Norma Helfrich, for their assistance in making this event a part of OLLI's winter offerings.

2010 Winter Classes -- January 12-15, 2010

It was our biggest Winter OLLI ever!

More than 175 members braved the cold weather to participate in 25 diverse courses over four days during the second week of January. Led by community experts, Bradley faculty and staff, and OLLI members, the classes once again combined expertise and subject matter for lively discussion and through-provoking insights.

OLLI is lifelong learning at its best.

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