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

Committee Spotlight: Class Aides

Class Aides Coffee at the end of the semester. Photo courtesy of Marjorie Varner.

If you have ever thought about volunteering as a Class Aide, this up-coming session is a perfect time to step up and lean in. With 35 great classes being offered in the fall, we will need 70 volunteers, new and old, to lend support to the instructors who are volunteering their time to Encore Learning and to help class members have a smooth experience. Volunteer Class Aides are critical to the success of our courses. Class Aides are the face of Encore Learning for our volunteer instructors, providing pre-course information, audio-visual assistance and classroom support. Class Aides keep attendees up-to-date with class logistics, including weather disruptions, manage the attendance sheet, and distribute and return evaluations.

Don't dare? Not sure? Cowed by the specter of technology? We try to pair "newbies" with seasoned volunteers for each course. There is a pre-session hour-long orientation for all, followed by special training in technology for your particular classroom, (and the possibility of additional audio-visual special training subsequently, if you so desire). You will receive a full booklet with all the detailed information you will need.

So, when you register, do check the "yes" box to volunteer, or answer positively the call from a Class Aide seeker. Be one of our seventy wonderful Class Aides this fall. Encore Learning depends on volunteers for its success.
"Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in." -- Unknown

-- Eileen Janas and Gail Massot,  Class Aide Co-Chairs

Staff Corner

Apparently, this is the month for vacation and radio interviews.  Are those two related?

Sunset on Lake Monroe (Indiana). Photo courtesy of Beth Dowd.

When we aren't refreshing our perspectives by touring or visiting friends and family alongside the rest of the United States population, staff is plugging away at preparation for fall classes. Some big-ticket items are complete: the catalog is in the mail to members and our volunteers are distributing copies to area libraries and select community centers to reach prospective members. If you know someone you believe should join us, send us their postal address so we may mail them a copy directly before September. In addition, we have some flyers we can put into your hands for distribution if you have a few neighbors who might be interested. Better yet, like us on Facebook and share our page with your online circle of friends. This cost-free advertising is chock-full of colorful photos and up-to-the-minute information.

Regarding radio, on August 9 at 10 a.m., Arlington's WERA station aired a segment on the Choose to be Curious program where host Lynn Borton interviewed me on the topic of lifelong learning in older adults and its relationship to curiosity. This was both terrifying and exciting. I had never been on radio and was appreciative that Lynn was both engaging and extremely kind, lobbing softballs and carefully editing all throat clearing. Later this month, I'll be on WERA's Aging Matters with Cheryl Beversdorf. A live show this time, the focus will be on Encore Learning as a resource for Arlington residents 50+ years and older. Of course, our membership is open to all 50+ adults in the DC metro area so tell your friends across the Potomac and around the Beltway. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing!
Hard to believe, but some of us are already looking to the spring semester work. Enjoy August!

--Marjorie Varner, Executive Director

Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo courtesy of Marjorie Varner.

Get to Know Your Board of Directors

In each edition,  we f eature different members on our Board of Directors. Here's a Q&A with one of  our two Vice Presidents, Barbara Spangler.
Vice President Barbara Spangler

How long have you been an Encore Learning Member?
I joined Encore Learning shortly after I retired in May of 2013. I feel like I've been a member for much longer since Steve has been involved for many years. As I was contemplating retirement (or starting my next chapter), I saw my post-work years as the chance I really wanted to volunteer, exercise and continue to learn.
What made you decide to join the Board?
For the past several years, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking Encore Learning courses. Being a class aide was my next step of engagement with Encore Learning. I had a wonderful mentor in Susan Post. Since then I've been thinking that I could give back to our great Encore Learning community, so when asked if I would serve as a Vice President by Art Gosling and John Sprott, it felt like the right time. Who could say no to them?
What is your favorite thing about Encore Learning, so far?
I enjoy meeting new friends and connecting with friends I haven't seen in years. I look forward to getting to know many more Encore Learning members.
Where did you grow up?
Though born in Iowa City, Iowa, I grew up in the Northern Virginia area. I graduated from Langley High School, went to Marietta College in Ohio, and returned to the area. Steve and I have been Arlington residents since the late '70s.
What else do you do in your spare time, when you are not volunteering for Encore Learning?
Our son and daughter are in the DC area, so we are very fortunate to spend time with them as their schedules allow. We enjoy our summer cottage in Southern Maryland, sailing, swimming, reading and supervising the Potomac River from our porch!
Nutrition education is a passion. I am a Master Food Volunteer, a certification earned through the Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia Tech. I enjoy working with all age groups, kids to seniors, to prepare nutritious snacks and meals. In a similar vein, I also volunteer with the Arlington Food Assistance Center and distribute food to clients at the Claridge House.
I am a member of a great book group, several of whom are Encore Learning members. We've been meeting for 20+ years and we have read many great books. We enjoy our time together with a glass of wine, sharing our thoughts on our reads.
For the past four summers, we have hosted teenager pairs through the Cyprus Friendship Program. One is a Turkish-speaking Cypriot, and the other is a Greek-speaking Cypriot. The aim of CFP is to promote understanding, communication and leadership skills. The teens are full of life! At the end of this experience, they will return to Cyprus and hopefully work toward a community without borders. 
Share a favorite book, poem, quote or piece of music.
"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
Where is your favorite place in the world to be?
Aside from home, I don't have a favorite place but I do love to travel. I think it is great fun to get lost in a new place and then meander our way back to our B&B or hotel. (Thanks Google Maps!) Steve and I enjoy the unplanned moments while traveling...when we stop for a street performance, enjoy a food truck meal in front of the Eiffel Tower, or a glass of wine at a small café.

Steve and Barb Spangler enjoying New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Barb Spangler.
Our daughter-in-law is from Lisbon so we have enjoyed several wonderful visits to Portugal. A small country, but so much to see and do.  Our bucket list keeps getting longer. Places we hope to visit in the next year are Vietnam, Macau and Thailand.  When all the bags are unpacked, I enjoy being home!

Help Spread the Word!

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. Do you have time to help spread the word about our wonderful organization?

No time for meetings? No problem! Help Beth share our news via social media - either Facebook or occasionally your neighborhood email group. Just email the office and let Beth know you're willing to help.

Refer a friend. When joining online, new members may enter a "Referred by" name. Our very first official thank yous for referring friends go to John Seal and  Barbara Sakamoto.

Bring friends to our Course Previews and 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 to your social network, it's a huge help!

Like us on Facebook

Email Address Changing? 

From a account perhaps? Whatever the reason, please DO NOT change your email address or create a new account in Member Account Manager. Email the office to advise us of your new email address and we will make the change for you. This will ensure interrupted access to your account and course registration.

  • Save the Date: Saturday, September 9, 2017 - Fall Course Preview 9am to noon at National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), 4301 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22203
  • Registration for Fall Semester opens at 10 a.m. sharp on Monday, September 11.
  • Volunteers are always needed. If you'd like to get more involved, please email
  • By now, you should have received your 2017 Fall Catalog in the mail. Please email us if you did not receive it.
More News and Photos

Check out the following stories on our website:

Welcome New Members!

In July 2017, seven new members joined Encore Learning. Please be sure to give these folks a warm welcome. 

Cynthia Baskin
Jeremy Baskin
Dale Carlson-Bebout
Marybeth Majka
Penny Penello
Philip Schimmel
Terry Smith

Please email the office with any corrections.

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: .