by Dr. Catherine Swift
The Education Center offers a wide variety of educational classes, workshops, and lectures for the benefit of the Fairfield Bay community and the surrounding areas. The weekly class schedule is posted in the Fairfield Bay newspaper and distributed to many local publications and radio stations, in addition to being posted on several social media sites. Individual class flyers are placed in common locations in the Bay and emailed to a contact list of over 500 residents and guests.
We are fortunate to have a deep resource of talented and skilled residents who are more than willing to teach a course, give a presentation or lead a workshop to add to the collective knowledge and wellbeing of our community. I have no lack of instructors and am extremely grateful for their support.
I am, however, perplexed by the small number of participants who turn out for these events, despite extensive publicity. Is seems that each brilliant offer is met by only a few participants, who none the less thoroughly enjoy the events.
Background research led me to an article entitled “Learn challenging new skills to maintain memory during retirement” (Oct 2013, Continuing Education for Seniors), where a focus group study of participants aged 60 to 90 were separated into two groups. Conducted over a course of three months, the first group was asked to develop a new skill, while the second group’s efforts were on repetitive activities such as completing crossword puzzles. By the end of the study, it was clear that the group tasked with learning a new talent saw the greatest improvements to memory.
“It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something – it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” said lead researcher Denise Park. “When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”
We are blessed in Fairfield Bay to have an overwhelming choice of good, healthy activities every day, sometimes too many to attend them all. As the director of the Education Center, I see my position here as somewhat like the Public “mental” Health Officer of our community. In this regard, I encourage you to challenge your mind to learn something new. We have classes and presentations with topics in music, arts and crafts, archeology, aviation, photography, computer literacy, gardening, cooking and many other subjects. Our class schedules and fees can be found on our Facebook page: FFB Community Education Center. As always RSVP (501-884-4440) to secure your place in the class. I hope to see you soon.
Thank you for your support!