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By Stephen Press
Hometown Weekly Staff
Spring is here (on paper, at least), and it seems everyone is looking for their own personal "something" that marks the end of winter.
For some, it’s the return of the Red Sox that means spring has truly sprung.
Others may listen for spring peepers singing in the night.
Some look out for crocuses peeking through the snow to herald the coming season.
For many area community members, it just might be Dover Lifetime Learning that most viscerally rings in the springtime. The return of the vibrant Lifetime Learning program - which laid dormant through winter's cold and snow - beckons residents to end their winter hibernations and curiously venture out to explore the world anew.
"Dover Lifetime Learning is a program of the Friends of the Council Aging with the support of the COA. The prospect of developing such a program emanated from a decision during a board meeting six and a half years ago," explains Michele Keleher, the progenitor of and prime mover behind Dover's Lifetime Learning program.
"There really weren't any difficulties at the onset of the program," she reflects. "It was a matter of identifying four perspective professors willing to teach a four-part series of classes. It was then a task of organization."
How exactly does one organize a season's worth of classes that will be both accessible and to the community?
"There isn't a specific process in selecting a slate of courses," admits Keleher. "Some of our professors teach a series of classes for each session. Many ideas come from the voiced interests of potential participants. There is always an attempt to to provide an eclectic choice with the hope of reaching many parts of the population."
Beyond promoting the joys of learning for learning's sake, the classes also often hit closer to home than one might expect. Take, for example, this year's Water Conservation series.
"The Water Conservation series is a collaboration between the Lifetime Learning program and the Dover Conservation Committee," enthuses Keleher. "These presentations are taking place now because the situation is quite dire and must be addressed. Our experts will look at the problem regionally and in the town of Dover. Ways of gardening using a minimum of water will be explored. A Dover resident has graciously offered to open up her garden and will lead us through her plantings as examples of minimal water gardening. We're pleased to participate in this collaboration, because it will be an important service to the town."
She's quick to note that the first Water Conservation class will take place on Wednesday, April 26, and continue for the next three consecutive Wednesdays. Classes will meet at the Dover Town Library, with the exception of the fourth class, which will meet at the designated garden.
So, where does such a program go from here? What's in the future for Dover's beloved Lifetime Learning program?
"The goal would be to continue to provide this service to Dover and the surrounding area and in doing so, continue to search for interesting and timely subjects," states Keleher. "This is an ongoing process. We're very pleased that we have been able to establish a program that appears to be successful.
"Our mission is to provide a program that provides a learning experience for our population," she sums up. "Learning does not have an age limit."
Registration has now begun in Dover for six Lifetime Learning classes available to adults of all ages. Each class will feature an expert educator offering the opportunity to learn without the pressure of exams and grades. Class subjects will include: "Poetry Meets Psychology" with John Kearns, "A Study of the Federal Reserve Bank" with Lynn Browne, the aforementioned "The Pressing Problem Concerning Water Conservation," "Fun With the Ukulele" with Daniel Metraux, "Traitors in US History" with Gary Hylander and "Philosophy" with Maud Chaplin.
Brochures and registration forms for Spring 2017 Dover Lifetime Learning classes are available online at coafriends.org, at the Dover Library and at the Dover Council on Aging office in the Caryl Center, or by calling (508-315-5734). Dover Lifetime Learning classes are sponsored by the Friends of the Dover Council on Aging and supported by the Dover Council on Aging.