Around five months after losing my wife, I was spending time at a senior center and my friend Dawn told me about OLLI. She said that I would really enjoy it, and she was absolutely right. I wasn’t so sure at first when she was telling me about it, but Dawn told me that I could sit in on a class or two. Once, I did, I realized this is really good. Someone suggested that I sit in on Fred Peters’ class on NASA, but I didn’t really think I would be interested in science. But guess what? After sitting in on the one, I haven’t missed his class since! Same with Dick Borghi’s class on Hollywood Musicals. I didn’t think I would care for it, but I sat in once, and then continued to take the class for five years.
Some of my favorite classes have been about movies and history. For example, I took a really good class on the history of transportation and railroads, and one on the history of the colonies before the Revolutionary War. I also took a class on more recent history, things that happened in the last fifty years. It was great because I could learn about things that I either wasn’t interested in when I was younger, or simply didn’t have the time then to explore.
I really enjoy being an instructor because it allows me to meet more people, give my opinion on things that I enjoy, and also find out how other people feel about the same things. I get so much out of OLLI that I really enjoy finding ways to give back to the program. I volunteer with the phone-a-thon, and this year, I was one of the main presenters for our instructor training.
The classes are great, but the most important thing about OLLI is meeting people who you didn’t know before. Most OLLI members come from somewhere other than Las Vegas and represent a real cross section of the county, and even the world. The interpersonal communication is really important. Either in class, or after class, or before class, people walk up to me and say “I really enjoyed this” or “that really hit home.”
I think everyone should give OLLI a try. Take advantage of our two free class sessions for prospective members. Come sit in and see what it is like. Also, don’t think for a minute that it is too far to drive to UNLV. It’s worth it, even if it’s a fifteen mile drive! Finally, there is no homework, no tests, and no grades. You take the classes because you enjoy them. Not because you have to.