From birth, man’s thirst for understanding, knowledge and education never ceases. As we age and mature we begin to understand that education and learning is a privilege as well as a necessity. Though formal schooling and education begins to tail off, for most, once we enter the workforce, “our curiosity never gets old.” For many, graduate courses, certifications, on-the-job training and informal study feed the mind and empower the soul. It helps us become better parents and employees, and it may even open a door to a new career path or it simply enlighten us. Both in our formative years and during our careers, education and formal learning are very much a part of our lives. But what about as we grow older, particularly after retirement? This is where “lifelong learning” plays a role.
I think it’s fair to say that until the last decade or two, lifelong learning was not a mainstream concept or option for aging adults. Not that it wasn’t vital or was non-existent, but there just weren’t as many opportunities out there for them, aside from auditing a course at the local community college or taking costly college courses. However, as the world of retirement evolves and we are living longer, opportunities are growing for lifelong learning. One such program is Central PA’s own Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning®.
The Pathways Institute was established in 2005 as a collaborative effort by Messiah Lifeways, Messiah College, and the Brethren in Christ Church. It provides a forum for older adults to find meaningful use of their talents and abilities and provides an opportunity to engage in mental, cultural, and spiritual activities and classes for those 55+ in South Central PA.
It’s been a brilliant 10 years, with the program growing each year, and spawning a second Pathways program located at Landis Homes in Lancaster in 2008. Both sites offer very inexpensive courses every fall and spring. They range from history and culture to science and religion, to literature and nature; taught by local experts, many of whom are retired teachers and professors who still have a passion for teaching and sharing with others. Some of the upcoming fall semester courses include:
- Climate Change
- “The Holocaust” In WWII as Recalled by a Survivor
- Conspiracy theories, Cover-Ups, Secret Societies and UFO Visitors
- The Brain and Aging
- Life in the Pentagon
- Underground Railroad, a Family Affair
- Introduction to Judaism
- Art in the 20th Century
- Writing Workshop: Childhood Memories to Share with Friends & Family
In August, a large group will be gathering at the Brubaker Auditorium on the Messiah College campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this wonderful program as well as kickoff the 2015 fall semester. Current, previous and future members and instructors along with the Pathways founders and sponsors, will come together to celebrate this institution that truly embodies our thirst for knowledge and our ageless curiosity.
If you would like to learn more about becoming an instructor and or a member of the Pathways Institute of Lifelong Learning, please visit ThePathwaysInstitute.org or call 717.591.7213.