ALL COMING BACK: After Hiatus, Senior-Focused Continuing Ed Event Will Return in 2024
Academy for Lifelong Learners will bring hundreds of seniors to UWEC campus
After a two-year hiatus, UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education’s popular Academy for Lifelong Learners will return next June.
The daylong program will be held on the UWEC campus on June 4, 2024. Participants can expect educational connections and a plethora of resources as well as social connections and a lot of fun, said Bonnie Baskett-Harvey, outreach program manager for Continuing Education.
“We always have pretty robust programming and workshops for seniors,” she said. “It’s always focused on those 55 and older.”
Next year will be the 35th time the event has been held, although it was put on hold in 2020, 2021, and again the past summer. Long known as Senior Americans Day, it was rebranded as Academy for Lifelong Learners in 2022 as a way of being more inclusive. Besides the new name, however, the “positively ageless program” has largely stayed the same. UWEC Continuing Education describes it as “a fun day of education, resources, and social interaction for older adults. Participants attend a keynote address and several workshops throughout the day. They may also take advantage of free health screenings, peruse dozens of local business exhibit booths, pick up valuable information, and register to win a fun door prize.”
“I think this day is a great way for people to come and say, ‘Oh my gosh, look at all these things for people my age.’ ”
Details are still being worked out for next year’s event, Baskett-Harvey said, so the keynote speaker, workshop subjects, and fees haven’t been finalized. She expects further information to be available in the coming months.
Last year’s Academy for Lifelong Learners keynote speaker was Dr. Zorba Pastor, a physician, author, and commentator on Wisconsin Public Radio. Activities and workshops ranged in focus from the value of laughter to backyard birdwatching to cardio drumming. The 2022 event was emceed by Cathy Reitz, a local retired music teacher and director of the Stand in the Light Memory Choir.
“I think this day is a great way for people to come and say, ‘Oh my gosh, look at all these things for people my age,’ ” Reitz said in a video promoting the event.
Baskett-Harvey said more than 400 participants are expected at next summer’s academy.
“The goal really is to just have an opportunity to have seniors to come, explore different hobbies, and continue their education,” she added. “A lot of it is camaraderie, friendship, and socialization.”
To join the mailing list for the Academy for Lifelong Learners and get a copy of the brochure and registration information when it becomes available, visit ce.uwec.edu/programs/academy-lifelong-learners. If you’re interested in getting involved as a presenter, sponsor, or volunteer, contact the university’s Continuing Education office at (715) 836-3636 or email at email@example.com.