The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to  The Inside Scoop , our electronic  newsletter for  members only.  Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share your feedback  by email. We always look forward to hearing from you.

Fall 2020: Update
The course catalog is in progress, with review of our first draft being completed. Thanks to the Publications Committee for all of their hard work - just a few more weeks of edits and then, publication! We hope to have the catalog available for you online by August 10, 2020.

Please save the following dates - note we are starting earlier this semester:

Virtual Course Preview: Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 9:30 A.M. online
Online Registration opens: Monday, August 31, 2020 at 10:00 A.M

We have 37 virtual courses scheduled for this fall led by many of your favorites, as well as eight instructors who are new to Encore Learning. To offer these courses, we need your help!

                       ******  PLEASE  VOLUNTEER  *****

We are actively seeking and training Virtual Class Aides who will host Zoom courses and ensure a successful class experience. If you are interested in being a Virtual Class Aide (VCA), please email and then you will receive information about the training opportunities.

We anticipate that the next initial training for VCAs will be July 21, 2020. Follow up training for those who have already attended training sessions will likely be July 28-30. After you sign up, watch your email for more details.

Newly elected members of the Board of Directors are already hard at work - here is a picture of training from June 21, 2020:

Top row (L-R): Tom Adams, Jeanne LaBella, Mildred Patterson
Bottom row (L-R): Gail Massot, Charlie Hallahan

Look for our "Get to Know Your Board of Directors" feature articles in upcoming editions!

Ongoing Virtual Activities
We will continue to host virtual Clubs and Special E vents throughout the summer on Zoom.  Many of you are already familiar with Zoom but if you need help, our FAQ page has resources to help get you started and troubleshoot, if necessary:

In case you missed it - here's an update from all ten Clubs - learn which Clubs are still meeting virtually and which ones are waiting it out.

Zoom Hang Out
We had 29 people join us for our first Zoom Hang Out on June 21, 2020. Beth was so busy answering questions she forgot to take a screenshot to include in this newsletter!  Jack Royer was on the call and had some audio issues. He emailed us later with our Zoom tip of the month. Jack recommends joining a  zoom  test meeting on your own to check out your device's audio/video:   

Join us for our next Zoom Hang Out on Thursday, July 16, 11:00 A.M. to noon.  Drop in! Come by to practice your Zoom skills, or just to chat with Encore Learning friends.

Join Zoom Meeting
Dial in by phone:  301-715-8592 
Meeting ID: 851 4490 8582

We hope to see you there! 

Special Events Wrap-Up

On June 1, Scott Sklar gave an informative talk on how to use sustainable energy to save money and help combat climate change. View his slides or watch our video of his presentation.

On June 15, Instructor Jim Grefer spoke on "The Industrial Revolution's Influence on American Women's Rights Movements". Jim will be teaching "Economic History of Antebellum U.S." this fall.

On June 29, Instructor  Dan Sherman broke our special events attendance record with his talk "Hamilton: The Man and The Music" with 407 people attending. Dan will be teaching "American Musical Geniuses" this fall.

Blooming Where You Are Planted

Member Judy Collins writes:
I love to bike, and when the pandemic precluded more far-flung adventures, I decided to explore Arlington neighborhoods by bike, taking advantage of Arlington's extensive network of bike lanes and on-street routes, thereby avoiding crowded trails and maintaining social  distancing. After coming across, quite by accident, the Alcova House, and a marker for the Arlington Radio Towers, I decided to set a goal of finding all the historic markers in Arlington by bike. I limited this to the metal type, though I stopped at a number of panel markers as well. When I shared this idea with a friend, she decided to do the same; we did this independently, but regularly updated each other on progress. Using references I found on the Arlington County and historical marker websites, over the course of the past 2-1/2 months, I found all but two of the markers and took pictures of about 90. The only two that neither of us could find are one for Jackson City, and one for Fort Runyon. 

I explored many streets and neighborhoods that I had never been in or even heard of in over 30 years of living in Arlington, such as Foxcroft Heights. Needless to say, some of the markers are easier to get to than others by bike. The SW Boundary stone on Jefferson Street off of Columbia Pike was challenging because of all the construction along Columbia Pike and wanting to avoid trails; Glenmore up in the hills of North Arlington off of Military Road, up above the GW Parkway was a hill challenge. Most surprising; the Dawson Bailey house as probably the oldest structure in Arlington; the Harry Gray house (just off Columbia Pike in the Arlington Views area) which looks like it could have been plucked from Foggy Bottom or Old Town; and George Saegmuller mansion up on Little Falls Road.

Thank you, Judy, for the great idea and the photos!

Pandemic or no pandemic, many of our members spend their time writing. 
"Writing a Memoir" has been a long running course for Encore Learning. Instructor Marty Suydam says: "I took this class with Encore Learning in 2014 and have been teaching it each fall since 2017. When I committed to teach the course, I went though many texts, almost all written by professional writers, journalists, or professors - I couldn't find any written by non-professionals for people like us -- amateurs. So, I wrote "Writing A Memoir: A Personal Journey" as a course text. The book contains many things most memoir-writing books don't cover, such as: Research, Story Writing, Organizing, Permissions, and Publishing. However, I didn't write the book alone, I had a lot of help from excellent writers who developed their craft over several years as part of our Encore Learning writing groups. In the chapter on Story Writing, I feature a piece written by long-time Encore Learning member, Ken McLean, Miss Sloey Learns to Tango. T his is my favorite story...of all time. 
The book also contains an appendix that provides examples for different types of memoir writing that members wrote as part of the course or in bi-weekly writing group meetings. These are a sampling: Person ( Steve Spangler, Paper Boy ), Place ( Paul Gade, My Wife Wanted Me to Take a Hike ), Interview ( Marty Suydam, Flatbush Revisited ), Event ( Ken McLean, My Life of Crime ), Life Experience ( Bob Gibson, WWII, The Polishing Tumbler ).
Thank you to Marty, Steve, Paul, Ken and Bob for sharing their stories with us! For the rest of you aspiring writers, Marty will be teaching this course again this coming fall.
Member and writer Ken McLean.

Share with your fellow members what you are doing to stay positive and connected during this time. Send us your ideas and some photos of how you're thriving during this period of confinement. Suggestions: cooking, gardening, reading, playing card or board games, exercising, having a virtual or phone chat with a friend - take a snap and send it in! We'll edit and then publish a compilation in next month's eNews. 

Email to and include "eNews" in the subject line.  The higher the resolution of the photo, the better (1 MB or higher). Shots taken on your mobile phone are great! Just  email  them to us and if we use your photos, we will make sure to acknowledge you as the photographer. 

Staff Corner

Where did June go? Into Zoom! We have been busy with training VCAs, hosting Clubs and Special Events, preparing for our Board transition and confirming details with our Fall instructors. With over 400 participants at our Hamilton the Musical Special Event on June 29, we know our members are getting comfortable with Zoom. 

Encore Learning is a place to engage in both learning and reflection. We are proud of our longstanding antidiscrimination and academic freedom polices. In that context, w e have been wondering if our members are interested in using our organization for learning, discussing and reflecting on the ongoing national conversations about both the pandemic and race. Like all things here at Encore Learning , we believe any additional programming should be member-led.  If you would like to share resources on these or other timely topics, develop a course idea, or host a Zoom conversation, please contact me directly at

Our staff are all working during this time, with no specific open hours, but checking email regularly. The best way to reach us is via email to Voicemail messages are checked once daily.   We hope to have reduced hours in July, so please understand if we don't respond immediately to your messages. 

~ Lora 
Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director

Please Volunteer - Important Roles Currently Vacant

The Publications Committee is looking for a new Managing Editor. While Managing Editor sounds intimidating, the role is really less about editing and more about logistics and team coordination. You must be able to manage timelines,  keep track of  documents and work well on a computer. The Publications Committee is a well-oiled machine and you will have lots of support.  Carolyn Gosling , the current Managing Editor, would love someone to work with her now as we prepare the Fall 2020 catalog, so that they will be ready to take over for the Spring 2021 catalog.  Please send an email to if you are interested and staff will connect you with Publications Committee Co-Chairs. 

The Special Events Committee is looking for a volunteer to help with publicity. The primary responsibility is contacting local media outlets via email or online form submission to notifying them of upcoming events. This role is about two hours a month, plus attending Committee events and meetings. If you would like to help plan or promote our ongoing events, please email the office at

Connecting Friends with Encore Learning
We're often referred to as the "best kept secret in Arlington." New members join mostly because they hear about Encore Learning from a friend.  When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. We look forward to thanking you here in the newsletter - see below.

Ask friends to join to our  virtual  "Encore Learning Presents series   (normally held   at Arlington Central Library). These lectures , panels  and films are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us. Details can always be found in our list of upcoming   Special Events .

Share on social media. When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts and events to your social network, it's a huge help. Forward our emails to a friend - use the handy link at the bottom of each email message. 

Like us on Facebook

  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email us.
  • Check our calendar for Special Events, Club meetings, and office holiday closures.
  • Save the dates:
    • Virtual Course Preview - August 27, 2020 at 9:30 A.M.
    • Online Registration opens - August 31, 2020 at 10:00 A.M.

Welcome New Members
In May  2020, the following new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome.

Linda Atkinson
Rebecca Dick
Vicki Kirkbride

THANK YOU to Charlie Hallahan and all of you who kindly refer friends.

Don't Want to Wait for the Next Edition of The Inside Scoop ?

Donations are Always Welcome
Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our  General Fund  or to our  Arlington Youth Scholarship .

We hope you enjoyed this edition of  The Inside Scoop . If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email Beth Dowd: .

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