Laughter is the Best Medicine for The Improvables and Dr. Oz - OLLI at Emory University
Campus Collaborations - OLLI at California State University Fullerton
Older Adult Model Program Award - OLLI at California State University San Marcos
Dirty Knee Club - OLLI at George Mason University
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Greetings from the NRC    Feb 2016 15
We've been looking for ways to enjoy our winter here in Chicago during these past weeks. Your NRC team is made up of a long-time Chicagoan and two transplants - one from Maine and one from California. Compared to Maine, this Chicago winter is proving to be mild. Relative to California, well, let's say it's a bit of an adjustment. No matter, we've found so much to celebrate - the beautiful steam rising from Lake Michigan, the dazzling lights of Michigan Avenue and of course, the bright faces of OLLI members as they come in from the cold to warm up with energizing discussions and learning. Whether you are basking in Arizona or bundled in Minnesota, we hope you are warmly engaged in winter semester at your Osher Institute, too.

In this February newsletter, we celebrate a number of accomplishments within our Osher Network - an award for San Marcos; amazing gardens in Virginia; collaborations in Fullerton; and good laughs in Atlanta. As always, we hope the stories of success from across the country inspire you and provide ideas that help your OLLI thrive.

From the frosty shore of Lake Michigan we send you warm winter greetings and all the best Valentine's Day wishes,  
Steve Thaxton, Executive Director
NRC for Osher Institutes 

OLLI at Emory University
Laughter is the Best Medicine for 
The Improvables and Dr. Oz
An Atlanta based company, Share Care, creates videos and stories for the Dr. Oz blog site. They wanted to explore the subject of "laughter is the best medicine," so they contacted Jessica Wilson, Program Manager of the OLLI at Emory University to see if their improv class and inprov troupe, The Improvables, that developed out of the class, would be a good fit to illustrate their theme. 
The group ended up creating three videos that are currently appearing on the Dr. Oz Blog site under the anti-aging section.  Each image below is a link to one of their videos.
In this video, Program Manager Jessica Wilson, explains what the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory (OLLI) is all about and how those over age 50 can benefit from the program.

The Improvables, an improv group of students ages 50 and up, like to laugh -- a lot. Watch this video to see how they use comedy to combat Alzheimer's disease, ease joint issues and boost their overall happiness.

In this video, The Improvables, explain how laughter can be an essential tool to help you cope with everyday life.
Submitted by: Jessica Wilson, Program Manager, OLLI Emory University

OLLI at California State University Fullerton
Campus Collaborations
While shopping at Smart & Final up the street from California State University, Fullerton I was approached by a young woman who asked me if I was one of the people who made life experience presentations in Dr. Wong's gerontology
class at CSUF. I smiled and nodded "yes." She thanked me for participating in the project and said that their class always looked forward to the panel visitations. Those visitations are coordinated by an OLLI member, Jane Moon, and a CSUF Professor, Karen Wong.
Interaction with CSUF students and instructors is such a satisfying experience. Being able to "give back" is what motivates the OLLI participants as they share their professional and/or personal expertise. Positive evaluations and personal notes sent by faculty and students are the frosting on the cake.
Since OLLI-CSUF Collaboration's start in 2010, hundreds of OLLI members have been supporting the university students by acting as consultants in their areas of expertise, presenting lectures, sharing life and career experiences, mentoring individual students, acting as test subjects, screening (hearing) subjects for graduate students and tutoring students at the elementary and college levels. OLLI volunteers have provided services in all nine of the CSUF colleges, the library and other on-campus organizations. The 
majority of these collaborations support the CSUF Strategic Plan.
With each passing semester the number of projects and opportunities filled by OLLI members has continued to grow. In 2010 there were 82 collaboration opportunities filled by OLLI members. By 2014, opportunities filled had increased to 422, and in the first half of 2015, OLLI members had already filled 362 opportunities.
In the first six months of 2015 OLLI members racked up 2,650 hours of service. Those hours do not include OLLI members serving as ushers for CSUF basketball and baseball games, performing flash mob dances in the Quad, and participating in Friends of the Arboretum, the Music Associates and other University groups supporting the arts. Eighty-six percent of faculty evaluations stated that collaborations with OLLI would continue into the next semester. The other 14 percent "maybes" were contingent on curriculum and course assignment decisions. All evaluations stated that they were extremely satisfied with the OLLI-CSUF Collaboration coordinators.
Submitted by: Alice Gresto, Staff Writer, OLLI-CSUF ChroniCLE, OLLI at California State University Fullerton

OLLI at California State University San Marcos
Older Adult Model Program Award  
ACHE Officials present OLLI at CSUSM's Sherie Cambra (center) with the Older Adult Model Program Award
OLLI at California State University San Marcos was presented with the Older Adult Model Program Award from the Association for Continuing Education (ACHE). The award was presented at the 77th annual conference and meeting of ACHE in Denver on November 15, 2015.
"The CSUSM Osher Lifelong Learning Institute staff are passionate about providing  dynamic educational opportunities for community members who are over the age of 50 and that is what this award is about," said Mike Schroder, Dean of Extended Learning and Associate Vice President of Global Programs and Services at CSUSM. "We want to provide area residents with an opportunity to learn new things, challenge ideas and renew their enthusiasm for knowledge".

  OLLI at George Mason University 
Dirty Knee Club
OLLI Members Sylvia Meyers and Ollie Parrott
Anyone who visits OLLI at George Mason University's Tallwood campus is immediately struck by the beautiful grounds.  The botanical canvas you see today is largely the brainchild of Valerie Braybrooke, Chair of the Dirty Knee Club, who just released a detailed book chronicling the evolution of Tallwood's landscape design.  

Read the book and you will see that the Tallwood grounds have come a long, long way!  In just 15 years, OLLI landscapers have completely transformed an unkempt property spotted with crumbling asphalt, wild shrubs and old trees into a cornucopia of botanical delights - autumn ferns, bearded iris, creeping flox, anemone and heuchera dancing in a sea of nandinas, crepe myrtles, hydrangeas and yews.  

Landscaping at OLLI began with member Ray Solomon, who assembled a committee, collected money and began taming Tallwood in 2001 with a few raised gardens and mowed lawns.  Two years later, Valerie joined OLLI and was quickly co-opted to the committee because of her background in professional landscaping. She has led the committee ever since. 
It has been a herculean task creating an OLLI-oasis given the drainage and erosion challenges associated with the sloping terrain and incessant damage caused by deer, beetles and winter salting.  Nonetheless, Valerie and her dedicated team did their homework and found plants, designs and hardscapes to withstand almost any challenge. The Dirty Knee Club was born!
Since then, the team has worked hard, "turning a sows ear into a silk purse", as Valerie likes to say.  Tremendous thanks to Valerie and her wonderful team for the 12 inspiring gardens that grace our campus! 
A flip book version of Valerie's book can be found here
Submitted By: Jennifer Disano, Executive Director, OLLI at George Mason University

NRC Updates

Osher NRC 2016 Webinar Series

Thank you to presenters and participants, who gathered for the first Osher NRC webinar in our 2016 series.   We are very pleased to be able to provide a forum for exploring topics that are of interest to our OLLIs.   Also, thank you to those who filled out the post-event survey.  This is a collaborative effort and we appreciate your comments and suggestions as we will use them to make improvements in the presentations. 
Mark your calendars for the next webinar, which will be on Wednesday, February 17th at 2:00 pm ET/1:00 pm CT/Noon MT/11:00 am PT/10:00 am Alaska & 9:00 am Hawaii. It is entitled: Anatomy of a Strategic Plan.
Peggy Watson, Director, Osher Institute at University of Richmond
Osher Institute at University of Richmond Director, Peggy Watson will share the anatomy of their successful strategic plan with examples and stories of the process and how the plan is playing out in action while it lives and breathes at their vibrant Institute.
Strategic planning models and processes can be as unique as any single Osher Institute. But there are elements that are universally important to building a firm planning foundation: skilled collaboration of a core committee; opportunity for broad membership contribution; planning based on hard data; solid support by university and advisory leadership; and keeping the essential mission, vision and values of the Institute at the forefront.
The Osher Institute at the University of Richmond began strategic planning with these foundational elements in place in 2014. The process and the outcomes provide an admirable example of what can come of a committed group of leader/champions working hard and smart on behalf of their program. Join the webinar for ideas and inspiration. Register online here. Registration will close at 5pm central on February 16th.
If you have interest in being a presenter on any of the above topics, or have ideas for other topics, please contact Diane Venzera ( diane.venzera@northwestern.edu). 

The OLLI Insider

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
I'm considering a move to another city to be near my children and grandchildren. But in looking at the Osher Institute map, there isn't one in the area. OLLI has become an important part of my life and I hate the idea of giving it up. Is there a chance that a new OLLI could open up? What advice can you offer?
~Fearful of Missing Out

Dear Fearful,
While there are now 119 programs operating in nearly 300 locations across the U.S., not every city or town has an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The national network developed progressively throughout a 15 year period, starting in 2001. Some Institutes were already existing university programs and some began at colleges/universities with their successful funding requests to The Bernard Osher Foundation. Each OLLI is an independently operated lifelong learning initiative (LLI) of its host institution, which applied for and received support from the Osher Foundation. The Foundation is not accepting applications for support from additional lifelong learning programs at this time. 

But fear not. Besides Osher Institutes, there are many other independent LLIs at universities, colleges, community colleges, adult education programs, places of worship, and libraries. There may be one or more in your prospective town. Get on the web and do some research. Call some of the continuing education programs in that area to inquire about courses they offer. You may find another independent LLI offering similar learning opportunities to those of an Osher Institute, along with opportunities to become involved and meet a new and engaged group of friends.

Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Stacey Hart at the NRC:Stacey.Hart@Northwestern.edu  

Educational Travel Ideas from In and Outside the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
OLLI at Boise State University
Yellowstone National Park via Craters of the Moon and Grand Tetons
Join us for this opportunity to visit three extraordinary and geologically significant areas of our region with hydrologist and U.S. Geothermal Inc. board member, Dr. Roy Mink, and geologist and Boise State Professor Emeritus, Dr. Monte Wilson. They will lead this trip that will explore some of our nation's most magnificent landscapes. From Boise, we will travel across Camas Prairie along the Western Snake River Plain to Craters of the Moon to study examples of Basaltic volcanism. We will then travel along the upper Snake River through folded and faulted rocks of the Idaho Thrust Belt to Jackson Hole, WY. We will make several stops to look at geological structures and consider the glacial history in the creation of the Teton Mountain Range and Jackson Hole Basin. Going north, we will cross the Continental Divide to the Yellowstone Caldera. Weather permitting, Roy and Monte will lead evening and early morning walks through the geysers while we enjoy our stay at this beautiful and historic lodge. We will make a loop through Yellowstone Park, learning about hydrothermal and geological features with stops for discussion and walkabouts along the way. Click here for more information
Dates: May 16-19, 2016
OLLI at Dartmouth College
Namibia: A Conservation, Culture & Wildlife Safari
On this OSHER safari you will be taken on a journey of discovery through some of the world's most beautiful wild places, encountering wildlife spectacles and engaging with age-old authentic cultures while receiving detailed interpretation by our highly trained naturalist guides. Being native to Namibia, our guides are welcomed as friends or family everywhere they go, thus ensuring an authentic and life enriching journey and giving you an experience of this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. We'll travel the country in specialized safari vehicles and stay in comfortable lodges. Along the way you'll learn about important wildlife conservation work, track desert rhinos with game rangers, visit a Himba settlement, kayak with dolphins, and experience the vast dune sea of the Namib. Click here for more information.
Dates:  May 11-22, 2016

OLLI at Furman University
Three Friends: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe
Over 4 days (3 nights), explore the friendships among these three US presidents as you journey back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the time when these great men lived, worked, laughed, and loved. Learn about their personal stories and the historic events that drew them together as you visit their homes and other important sites in and around Charlottesville, VA. Offered in Partnership with Road Scholar. Click here for more information.
Dates: May 26-29, 2016

Interesting Facts to Know and Talk About
didyouknowDid You Know...?

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Program Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Office Assistant, Osher Lifelong Learning Program in Continuing Education

Administrative Assistant, OLLI

Administrative Assistant

Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at oshernrc@northwestern.edu