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 Semester: We Need YOU in Order to Offer Courses

Fellow members,
We have heard from many of you that you would prefer us to offer virtual courses this fall. The Board of Directors heard you and agrees. Thanks to the hard work of Barbara Spangler and her Academic Programs Committee members, many of our instructors are on board to deliver courses virtually through Zoom. We are thrilled that so many of you have already joined our Courses, Clubs and Special Events via Zoom.
Offering virtual courses provides unique opportunities and challenges. We will have the ability to offer some larger class sizes, start our semester earlier, and spread the courses out over a longer time period. That should give you a better chance of getting in to the courses you want to take. But we will all need to learn new skills to successfully deliver the courses.
This is where you come in. We have a few dedicated volunteers and staff that are well-trained in Zoom and willing to train others. IT Committee Co-Chair Marty Suydam and our Executive Director Lora Pollari-Welbes will be leading the charge. But we need your help.  We cannot offer fall courses without Virtual Class Aides. We need folks to get trained on Zoom to help instructors and manage participant interaction.
We know this may be out of your comfort zone. But if you have successfully participated in a Zoom meeting via your computer, you can do this. We will provide the training during a few sessions before the semester commences. We will need at least 40, and perhaps as many as 60, volunteers to be Virtual Class Aides.
If you would like to be a Virtual Class Aide, please complete this short survey to demonstrate your interest:
Encore Learning is a volunteer-led organization. Although we have four part-time staff people, their job is to provide the administrative support to our volunteers. Volunteers run every vital part of this organization. We could not do it without you and that is now truer than ever. Thanks to all of my fellow volunteers who work so hard to keep this organization running.
This is a turn in the road, but not a change in direction.  We know getting out  of the house, exercising our minds and bodies, and keeping up our social connections keeps us healthy. We continue to look forward to the time when it is safe for us to meet again in person. But until that is possible for most of our members, we will continue to provide virtual Courses, Special Events and Clubs. Obviously, the situation is fluid, so you have our commitment that we will continue to re-evaluate frequently and keep you updated.
Art Gosling, President

Exciting Virtual Course Offerings - Fall 2020
Here's just a little taste of the 30+ courses we plan to offer this fall:

Jim Giordano will teach  Mind Matters: Explorations of Consciousness .
- Carol Moreland will teach  Japanese Art in the Age of Hokusai .
- Elizabeth Shelton will teach an updated Ottoman Empire course.

Annual Meeting/Absentee Voting
On April 21, 2020, we emailed all current members an invitation to our virtual Annual Meeting with a link to an absentee ballot. You must be a current member to vote. If you did not receive this email, check your membership expiration date by logging in to Member Account Manager. The date will be shown under My Account. If your membership has lapsed and you would like to rejoin, follow these directions.

Virtual Activities Under Way
We are hosting virtual Courses, Clubs and Special Events through Zoom. Board Member Marty Suydam and Special Events Committee Member David Tate have been providing assistance to our presenters in using Zoom and all events include moderators other than the speaker to manage participant interaction.  

Many of you are already familiar with Zoom due to recent events. You can run it from any browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.). If you have never used Zoom, please familiarize yourself prior to the meeting. We have three resources to help get you started and troubleshoot, if necessary:

We are also offering another Get Acquainted with Zoom session.  Created and delivered by Encore Learning specifically for our members, this session will help you learn how to navigate Zoom so that you can comfortably and confidently participate in our virtual activities. If you attended one of the sessions on April 6 or April 8, this is the same content, so no need to attend again unless you want a refresher.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 2:00 P.M.
Dial for audio only  301-715-8592
Meeting ID: 822 2640 6203

We offered four virtual courses this semester, three are still ongoing.

Real Media Literacy - recently concluded, evaluations were very positive.
Global Hot Spots - Three of six lectures completed. Great participation.
AI Nightmare Scenarios - resumed April 21, 2020. Three sessions left.
How to Write a Symphony - began April 21, 2020.  Three sessions left.

You may register to join a course at any point during the semester.

Instructions about connecting to a course for which you are already registered are found under My Activities > View Class Media > Zoom Instructions.

Here's an update from all ten Clubs - learn which Clubs are still meeting virtually and which ones are waiting it out.

Cinema Club
On April 9, our Cinema Club had a virtual meeting to discuss two movies.
Thanks to volunteer Club Co-coordinators Lee Cooper and Kathie Burch for creating a way to keep the club active during this time.  Photo by Lee Cooper.

Top row: Marilyn Keel, Lee Cooper, Mandy Holt
Second row: Deborah and Ken Perkins-Gough, Steve Shapiro,  Barbara Brennan
Third row: Carter Vaden, Gail Davenport, Mead Krim
Bottom row: Kathie Burch, Cheryl Silkwood

Special Events
Our first virtual Special Event received Press Coverage in the Sun Gazette: 

A panel of local legislators, moderated by Mary Margaret Whipple, discussed  Sweeping Changes: A Historic Virginia Legislative Session

Top Row: Mary Margaret Whipple, Barbara Favola
Bottom Row: Patrick Hope, Adam Ebbin

You can find a link to the presentation video under News on our homepage.

Our second virtual Special Event was held on Monday April 20, 2020. Master Naturalist Kasha Helget gave a very well attended presentation titled "Safely Enjoy the Outdoors Despite Mosquitoes and Ticks". Couldn't attend or would like a refresher? You can find links to both a video of Kasha's presentation and to her slides under News on our homepage.

More Important Volunteer Roles for Your Consideration

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 don't have to find a single comma splice! But you do have to 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.  Many thanks to  Carolyn for her years of service in this role. Please send an email to if you are interested and staff will connect you with Publications Committee Co-Chairs Millie Lawson and Jill Neuville.

Thanks also to Priscilla Becker for her many years of service as the volunteer publicity contact for our Special Events Committee. Priscilla is taking a well-deserved break from this role. If you would like to join the Special Events Committee to help plan or promote our ongoing events, please email the office at

April is National Volunteer Month, we are so grateful for all of the fabulous volunteers who develop and implement all of our programming. Please email us if you would like to get more involved.

Partner Events and Happenings
George Mason is offering a week of scholarly webinars on the pandemic every night this week - registration required. You might also want to check out the Schar School Coronavirus News Blog .

The  Mason Master Plan Survey has been extended to Friday, May 1. It includes the Arlington campus, and they are looking for community feedback, so please be sure to participate. Select the Arlington campus on the map, then click the red box in upper left that says FINISH SURVEY.

Zoom Tip of the Month
There are multiple ways to enter a Zoom meeting. Here's a surefire way to get into Zoom, every time (especially if you can't find a link or it won't work):

1. Make sure you have the Meeting ID number and, if required, password.
2. Type into your browser
3. Type in the meeting ID and, if required, type in the password.
4. Follow any other prompts, like type in your name (first and last, please) and your email.

You're in! 

The Census is HERE! Have you responded yet?
We are a proud Arlington 2020 Census Partner. By now, you should have received your census form in the mail with the code to   do it online .   It's not too late - responses are being accepted through at least October, 2020. More information can be found on the Arlington County Census page .

Staff Corner
We have been happy to see so many members at our Zoom trainings, courses and special events. Working from home, we miss seeing you in person but are glad you are all staying at home and being safe. We are committed to providing connections for you during this time and please let us know if you have an idea for a conversation, event or virtual course. Our staff are all working during this time, with no open hours, but checking email regularly. The best way to reach us is via email to, the voicemail is checked once daily.

Lora Pollari-Welbes, Executive Director

Blooming Where You Are Planted
We *still* want to hear from you! 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. 

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

Paul MacDonald
Janet MacDonald
Linda Sundberg
Beverly Updike

THANK YOU to Cheryl Hatch for referring friends.

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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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