The Inside Scoop - for Members Only
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Welcome to our twelfth edition of 
The Inside Scoop , our electronic 
newsletter  f or members only. 
Please  enjoy this issue,  and  share 
your  f eedback by emailing 

Reminder: Annual Meeting - Thursday June 24, 2018 

Please be sure to join us next week for our Annual Meeting. We'll elect our new  Board of Directors and socialize a bit. Light refreshments provided.  

9:00 A.M. to Noon 
There is free parking on site. Allow time for street parking, if necessary. The center is serviced by Metrobus. Hope to see you there!

Get to know your Board of Directors

We're fortunate to have so many dedicated members serving on our  Board of Directors. This month, we asked the Co-Chairs of our Information Technology Committee, Steve Spangler and Marty Suydam, to tell us a little about themselves.

From Steve:

I joined Encore Learning in 2007. At Encore Learning's fifth anniversary party, I met John Sprott and, somehow, I managed to volunteer to chair the IT Committee. Since then I have volunteered for other activities, including class aide and member of the Rebranding Task Force that selected the new name for Encore Learning in 2013.

In Ireland, 2017. Photo courtesy Steve Spangler.

I am an Ohio boy -- born in Toledo, moved to and finished high school in Lima, and went to college at Miami University in Oxford.  After college, I joined the Peace Corps and served two years in Panama as a community development volunteer in Chiriquí Province. 

Early in 1967, I went to Vietnam with USAID. I worked for two years as an advisor to the Vietnamese Rural Development Cadre Program in Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta.  The highlight, if I can use that word, of my experience in Vietnam was the Tet Offensive in 1968. My boss, the U.S. Senior Province Advisor, told me to go on vacation during the Tet holiday because "nothing ever happens during Tet." But the Viet Cong attacks prevented me from leaving. A friend of mine in Ben Tre, a U.S. Army colonel, told a Time magazine reporter about fighting the Viet Cong in Ben Tre: "We had to destroy the town to save it." (Pete Seeger wrote and recorded a song from his quote, Talking Ben Tre .)

After Vietnam, I got a master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh and then worked for USAID in Africa. I returned to Washington and worked for the rest of my career with the FDIC.

My wife Barb and I met at work. We have raised our son and daughter here in Arlington. Barb was active in Girl Scouts and I in youth soccer. I coached our daughter's soccer team, started the High School Soccer program, and served for five years as the president of the Arlington Soccer Association.
Both of our children live in Washington, D.C. where we can see them and our granddaughter frequently.

Barb and I enjoy traveling now that we are retired. In just the last year we travelled to Cuba, to Colombia, and to Cambodia, Macau and Vietnam.
We visited Vietnam in February during the Tet New Year holiday, exactly 50 years after my Tet Offensive experiences.

In 1968, a Vietnamese friend gave me a captured Viet Cong battle flag with the slogan "Emulate the Battle of Ap Bac" which honors the Viet Cong's first major victory over the South Vietnamese forces in 1963 at Ap Bac, or North Hamlet.

I had been reading that World War II veterans are returning to Japan with battle flags captured during the war. I felt that I should do the same for Vietnam. So, during our February trip to Vietnam, Barb and I drove with a Vietnamese friend to Ben Tre and presented the flag to the Ben Tre Museum.

At the Ben Tre Museum in Vietnam, 2018. Photo courtesy Steve Spangler.

From Marty:

In 2014, I joined Encore Learning to take the Memoir Writing Course.  Because of that course experience, I joined Cherie's Gang, a group that meets bi-weekly to review and critique our writing. In 2015, since I was teaching computing science, Steve Spangler asked me to join the IT Committee that was engaged in the process of evaluating alternative systems to modernize our course registration and management. Soon Steve asked me to become co-chair of that committee and, without realizing it, I became a Board member.

In Ireland.  Photo courtesy Marty Suydam.

I'm a "late bloomer" to retirement. I continued to work full-time until last year, so I had little time to take courses. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time by taking 5 courses this semester and teaching one - the Memoir Writing course that started my Encore Learning "career."
I grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, went to college in Vermont, and married my wife, Joyce, in Arlington. After a military career, I had careers as a government civilian, an industry executive, a small-business owner, and a college instructor.
Joyce and I moved 18 times. In addition to several moves in and out of Virginia, we have lived in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio. However, we always returned to Virginia, ending up in Arlington for the last 28 years.
I love Arlington and, along with my golden doodle Charley, recently  published a book titled, Walks with Charley: Sniffing Arlington Ridge History and Mystery. 
Boy Scouting was an important part of my growing up and I spent many years after as an adult leader. I also love New Jersey where I grew up. Recently I published a book, Let's Go Camping, about Scouting in the 1950's in New Jersey. 
Joyce and I have a 42-foot sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, in Maryland. We never wanted to live in Maryland but we certainly spend a lot of time in Annapolis with friends and sailing the Bay.
For the last 20 years, my late career experiences in teaching full time at Washington College and part-time at George Mason and Marymount Universities were a full-time job. While I hope my students learned something from me, I'm grateful for all that I learned from the many 18- to 21-year-old students. Such a fun age group makes you think "young."
I am also grateful for the existence of Encore Learning that provides opportunity for all of us to keep active and engaged as we continue this stage of our lives.

It's Kayaking Season!

Experience beauty on the Potomac with the Kayak Club.
Photo by Janice Yeadon.

Given our cold and blustery Spring, its hard to believe that nice weather has finally arrived and we are ready to paddle. Although in the past we have not been able to go out in May due to the water/weather conditions,  I am forever hopeful that this year will be better. The Kayak Club is a great way to escape the fast paced life we all lead for a couple of hours on the water.  

Hope to see you at Fletcher's Boathouse at  11:00 A.M.  on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month - May to October. High water did keep us ashore on May 9th; club members, stay tuned for May 24th. Please email the office if you'd like to join the Club.

-- Janice Yeadon, Club Co-coordinator

Club Co-coordinator Janice Yeadon, ready to paddle.
Photo by Rosemany Schwartzband.

More News and Photos

Instructor Joel Hicks on the keyboards at the Kennedy Center May 2018. Photo by Marjorie Varner.

2018 Spring Novella Class. Photo by Laura Leussing.

Staff Corner

We are pleased to announce that we hired Patty Rowland as Administrator of Encore Learning effective May 7. Patty and her husband have two children in Arlington Public Schools and she is well acquainted with our partner, APS. Patty will be training with Beth and Marjorie in the coming weeks, cycling through the myriad of tasks for our linchpin position. Welcome, Patty!

Administrator Patty Rowland on her first day.

Summer hours are in effect between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays with the office staffed on Wednesdays from  10am to 2pm. Please check the calendar on our website whenever you are in doubt. Your own scheduled activities are listed under Your Activities tab when you log in to the  Member Account Manager.

Our shared office space on the third floor of APS's Syphax Center is  becoming home though ongoing construction continues to keep us on our toes.  As always, use  or 703-228-2144 to contact us and schedule any face-to-face meeting in advance. 

-- Marjorie Varner, Executive Director

Did you know . . . 

... that you can still access course materials even after a course has ended?

Under  My Account  go to the My Activities tab

Click on view historical enrollments to get access to materials from past courses.

You may have to scroll down to find the course.

If the instructor has provided materials, under the course listing you will see View Class Media. Click on that to access the materials.

Materials are available from the Fall 2017 semester to date.

To date, the office has handled 257 documents for the Spring 2018 semester alone. That's a lot of reading material!

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.

Bring friends to our  "Meet the Speaker" series at Arlington Central Library. These events are open to the public and a great way for prospective members to learn more about us.

Anyone can do it! When you simply like our Facebook page or share our Facebook posts and events to your social network, it's a huge help.

Like us on Facebook

  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email
  • Check the calendar on our website for our office hours. Summer hours begin the week after Memorial Day and run through Labor Day.
  • Save the Date: Course Preview is Saturday September 8, 2018
  • Save the Date: Registration opens at 10 A.M sharp TUESDAY September 11, 2018.
Welcome New Members

In April 2018,   new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome. 

Peggy Buddeke
Cynthia Dunbar
Rebecca Grueneberger
W Krebs

And a huge Thank You to the following members for referring friends and family:

Janet Fedak
Paula Graham

Please email the office with any corrections.

Photos, Photos, Photos...

We all love looking at them and it seems we can never get enough here in the office. Please share your photos of Encore Learning activities with us. 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. We can't use thumbnails, though, so please check your photo size settings prior to emailing.

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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