President’s Report, March 2018

Presidents Report for 2017/8

U3A Wynyard continues to be an important part of the lives of the older residents in this region. We currently hold 2 classes a day for 3 days a week for 28 weeks a year, plus ongoing book clubs, ukulele and singers, harmonica and camera group. What a wonderful learning community.

Our current membership is slightly over 140, a gradual increase since our inception just 3 years ago. Since U3A Wynyard started in 2015, U3A’s along the coast in Ulverstone and Sheffield have also begun. This year has seen the initiation of some reciprocal agreements…with the other NW U3A’s but also with community groups here…ArtsCape, Live Well, the Community Gardens and more recently LINC.. This is really important as it was a deliberate aspect of our development that we wanted to complement rather than compete with any existing community learning.

Our vision for Wynyard was to provide the older residents with opportunities to learn new skills in a cooperative, community minded informal atmosphere. We’ve done that in spades! Or should I say you’ve done that in spades. It has been the whole-hearted adoption of U3A that has made it the success it is. People help at the venues, setting up chairs etc, if a tutor is unable to make the class – students have taken over the facilitation role. Many tutors are students in other classes.

Study after study shows that healthy ageing is greatly improved if the person is involved with a community group. Other studies show the brain is kept agile longer when new skills are learnt…so where better than U3AWynyard…your local community getting together to facilitate a whole range of learning opportunities in a fun and congenial atmosphere. Our total widespread pop is about 14,000 with roughly 30% aged 50 and over, so currently we’re attracting 3% of those people.

All of this is only made possible with many many hours of work by the U3AWynyard committee. We find tutors, organise the venues, classes, timetables, insurance, risk assessments, session co-ordinators, coffee, tea and snacks, provide and set-up technology, maintain a website, create enrolment procedures, take memberships, apply for grants, respond to hundreds of queries, emails, phone calls, write and disseminate a semester newsletter…. and sooo much more….

This year the committee has been Rees Campbell (acting president) Jo Crothers (Secretary), Alwyn Friedersdorff (treasurer) plus Cheryl Lehiten (data base person) Mervyn Mitchell (website person) Gen Morris (session co-ordinator) Mal Kearney, Frank Croucher, Mairin Campbell and recently Anne Hamilton doing all the jobs as required. We will shortly elect the new committee and executive for 2018, so please thank these people for the amazing number of hours they’ve put in this past year.

We can always use new people in the committee – so if you’re considering being part of it – we welcome you with open arms. There are still nomination forms floating around.

It’s always hard to select a highlight from such a scintillating program – but I feel that the open forum on Climate Change held this week was one. Not just university of the 3rd age…it was university of the 3 ages….we had an audience from 5 to 85 and up. The event was a registered children’s university event, conducted by a recent UTAS Enviro science honours graduate, and hosted by U3AWynyard.  Topical, interesting and of supreme importance that we understand the science of what we humans are doing to our world.

We’re also pleased to have a stable, single venue for classes; and anticipate remaining here. It work with the  technology we are using in most classes, and permits our larger audiences all to hear and see everything.

So, going forward…as the latest infuriating tautological buzzword has it….

Term 2, 2018 and on to 2019, we will continue to hold our regular 3 days per week with 2 classes a day, plus all the ongoing interest groups that are evolving. The Serendipity series will continue delivering its inspiring and eclectic range of one-off sessions. We will be continuing ArmChair travel as a longer term class, hopefully, along with a fortnightly film afternoon  (does anyone volunteer to organise this? – as we have access to the Lighthouse film society library) and we hope to be able to respond to most suggestions, and definitely tutoring offers. To do this, we need people to keep feeding suggestions for both classes and tutors to the committee.

Our vision continues to be a bright 20-20…provide community learning opportunities to curious older residents of this municipality. We make a great team, people…thankyou.

 

Rees Campbell  (acting president 2017/18)