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Read our June 2024 Newsletter

The Inside Scoop

Welcome to The Inside Scoop, our electronic newsletter. Please enjoy this issue and share your feedback by email. We always look forward to hearing from you. This is the June 2024 edition of The Inside Scoop.

Fall 2024 Sneak Peek

Summer may have just begun, but we are already looking forward to fall! With 38 courses, including 29 new offerings, this fall term at Encore Learning promises to be exceptional. Eager to see what’s coming before our catalog is published in August? Here’s a sneak peek at five exciting new courses debuting this fall.

1051: Celebrating Vocal Harmony Groups

Join instructor Mike Agron to celebrate the history and influence of vocal harmony groups across genres like Big Band, Jazz, and Rock through multimedia presentations and classic tracks.

3076: Arlington’s Quest for Racial Equality: 100 Names to Know

Alongside instructor Bill Fogarty, discover the stories of 100 individuals who contributed to racial equality in Arlington County from 1821 to 1971, highlighting their struggles and achievements.

4041: Religion and the American Presidency

Instructor Juliana Thomson will examine how religious beliefs have shaped U.S. presidential politics and national identity from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden, focusing on major events and trends.

5052: Poetry: All You Really Need to Know

Instructor Jenny Sullivan aims to deepen appreciation for poetry by exploring how poets use sound and language to engage readers, suitable for both enthusiasts and newcomers.

6035: Technology Hot Spots

This five part course, with multiple presenters, will help demystify complex technologies that dominate modern life, covering their scientific background, advantages, and faults over five session

Stay tuned for more information on these courses and all our fall offerings, the online catalog will be available in early August. Thanks to a generous donation from the Royer Fund, you will also receive a printed copy of the fall catalog in your mailbox in early August (unless you responded recently to opt-out of receiving a mailed catalog).

Summer Learning Opportunities

Seeking ways to stay mentally engaged this summer? We invite you to explore our selection of pre-recorded asynchronous courses.

This past semester we recorded four of our courses and are offering Encore Learning members the opportunity to view these recordings over the summer. The course content was pre-recorded at class sessions held in March to May 2024 and there will be no live interaction.

Register for your spot in the asynchronous version of the course by June 30, using the links below, and you will have access to the full course recordings and class materials until July 31, 2024. What a perfect activity for those sweltering summer days!

The four courses offered asynchronously are:

President’s Message

Our spring semester closed on a positive note, with more options for accessing courses, and more subjects to engage and challenge. One of the classes that I attended –admittedly out of curiosity—has introduced ‘change’ into my way of thinking. Ray Converse’s course on Critical Thinking for Intelligence Professionals (which I most certainly am not!) focused on how we reach conclusions and make decisions—and how very often our processes fail. That started me to ponder the issue of change, Encore Learning, and how we have to change even the way we think.

Change was on the agenda for last month’s Board meeting. Priority number one is our goal of broadening diversity—in all areas of Encore Learning. While our present demographics indicate a need to recruit new members—diverse in age, ethnicity, and backgrounds, that is only one part of our effort. We want classes, instructors, clubs and events also to reflect a diverse and dynamic program.

The Board spent some time examining what we do, and what goals and priorities will be pursued. Ideas and suggestions flowed. New clubs were considered. This past year Encore Learning added a Chamber Music Club, and in that vein, there is interest in a Performing Arts Club. As technology continues to evolve, workshops and presentations can be developed to assist users. Academic Programs Committee committed to developing new and diverse courses. We also know that our members have varied backgrounds and expertise, and therefore we want to reach members who might consider being an instructor in new and different areas.

Reaching our goals will take time—and energy– of all of us. Your suggestions and ideas are always welcome, so please tell us what you want from your membership. There have been many comments about wanting more opportunities to interact in-person, so we have planned an event in September. More on that very soon, but keep September 19th at GMU open on your calendars. And, as a bit of ‘back to the future’ this fall and for the foreseeable future, we will be printing and mailing our catalog of courses! Change happens all sort of ways. – Marilyn Marton, Board President

Board President Marilyn Marton met scholarship recipients and parents at the recent Arlington Community Foundation scholarship reception.

Special Events

Planet Word Museum

Sixteen members visited the Planet Word Museum at the historic Franklin School on 13th Street in DC on June 20. Planet Word is a voice-activated museum with interactive galleries and exhibits that bring words and language to life in all sorts of fun ways.  After a brief introduction by staff, we went our separate ways, starting with the 22-foot interactive wall of words. Some of us got to participate in a scientific study about language in the brain. Thank you to Jan Burchard for arranging the tour, and Carol Fuller for coordinating at the museum.-Photos and write-up courtesy of Carol Fuller.

Carol Fuller participated in a scientific study at the museum.

Wall of Words at the Planet Word Museum in Washington, DC

Encore Learning Presents

On June 24 John Milliken discussed (from his book) Last Century Elections that Shaped Modern Virginia: What’s Next? The lecture explored the politics of Virginia in the latter half of the twentieth century using six selected elections to explore the demographic and economic changes that drove the transformation of the state’s politics.

You can view a recording of the presentation on our YouTube channel here.

Saving Worldwide Cultural Heritage in Crisis

Coming up on July 15 we will hear from Anthropologist Dr. Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian. He will discuss how do we help save cultural heritage threatened by war and disaster in places like Haiti, the Caribbean, Iraq and Ukraine? We hope you can join us online!

Volunteer Opportunities

We are currently seeking volunteers for a variety of roles:

  • Distributing catalogs or flyers at community locations, even your doctor’s office
  • Promoting Encore Learning at community events and locations by hosting tables or shareing information
  • Developing strategies to diversify our membership and ensure we are inclusive
  • Planning academic courses or Special Events
  • Joining a newly forming Public Relations/Marketing committee
  • Greeting guests at our Open House on September 19

If any of these opportunities are of interest to you, please visit our Volunteer page or send an email to info@encorelearning.net.

Club News

Save the date: On September 19 Encore Learning will host an Open House at Mason Square at George Mason University in Arlington, with a wide variety of events. Among them will be club information tables, so that you can talk with the leaders of each club and determine if that club is right for you. Some clubs will also share short presentations. More details will follow closer to the time. We hope to see you there!

Please email the Encore Learning office if you are interested in joining any of our clubs or would like more information. You can also visit our Clubs page on our website.

Tech Hobbyist Club

The Tech-Hobbyist club had its fourth monthly seminar in June by Mike Shapiro on robotics. The seminars will pause for the summer and start again in the fall. Thank you to all our special lecturers!

Travel Club

On June 21 Dick Juhnke took us along on his recent “Trip Through Time on Italy’s Northern Adriatic Coast.”

Photo of Ravenna(right) courtesy of Dick Juhnke.

Albania: Europe’s Starting-to-be-Discovered Gem, will be the topic at the July meeting. Sue Weiss will provide a brief overview of Albania’s checkered history, introduce some of its more beautiful and fascinating sights, and suggest different approaches to touring the country. We hope you can join us via Zoom on July 19 at 3:30 PM. Photos below courtesy of Sue Weiss.

The Albanian Alps, also known as The Accursed Mountains.

Himare, part of the Albanian Riviera

Mindfulness Club

The Encore Learning Mindfulness Club continues to meet by Zoom each Wednesday at Noon for community building, discussion of mindfulness practice, and about 20 minutes of guided meditation. Our weekly sessions welcome anyone interested in practicing meditation or in learning about the development of secular meditation from its Eastern roots. Mindfulness is a health and wellness practice with proven benefits, particularly when dealing with life’s more difficult events.

Learning to observe your reactions and to respond to them in constructive ways is one of the possible benefits of mindfulness practice. If you would like to join our meeting notification list, please contact Encore Learning so that your request may be passed on to me.  -Dwight Rodgers, Coordinator

Nonfiction Book Club

The Encore Learning Nonfiction Book Club will meet next on July 8. We’ll be discussing: All The Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me (by Patrick Bringley). The book offers a fascinating, revelatory portrait of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its treasures by a former New Yorker staffer who spent a decade as a museum guard. We’ll meet in the Arlington Central Library Bluemont Room, beginning at 1:30 PM and ending not later than 3:00 PM. New members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Get on our mailing list by notifying the office of your interest.

Ed Rader, Club co-Coordinator

Global Lunch Club

Do you enjoy exploring international cuisines and going on culinary adventures? Our Global Lunch Club has been on hiatus since the pandemic – but we do get inquiries about the club from time to time. We are looking for someone to volunteer as club coordinator to get this club going again. Please contact the office for more information. Bon Appetit!

What’s Happening at Mason Square

You can sign-up to receive emails about events at Mason Square here:


Community Events

On National Senior Health and Fitness Day (May 29), Encore Learning participated in a Health Fair at Lubber Run Community Center. Many thanks to Millie Lawson and Nancy Manahan for volunteering to represent us to the community. A number of potential members signed up to receive more information about Encore Learning – a successful event!

Staff Corner

June wraps up our academic and fiscal year with a fresh year just around the corner. It’s been a year worth celebrating with our dedicated team of 150 volunteers who have tirelessly worked to bring forth 64 courses, nine member tours, fifteen Encore Learning Presents, and ten clubs. These offerings not only foster social connections but also promote physical activity and brain health. With the unwavering support of our 1,000 members and a dynamic board of directors, we stand strong. We have the support of 1,000 members and an active board of directors.

We also benefit from the legacy of so many members who have been a part of the organization for more than twenty years. This month we received a fantastic gift from Jack Royer to establish the Royer Fund to support the design, printing and mailing of a course catalog. Jack, your generosity knows no bounds, and we are forever grateful! 

We are also delighted that we will continue our partnership with Goodwin Living to support memberships for members of their community. To all our Goodwin Living friends, stay tuned for details on the renewal process coming your way in July. Together, we’re creating a vibrant tapestry of learning, connection, and growth!

If you find yourself with free time during a hot or rainy day, remember that you can view many of our Special Events on our YouTube channel.

You will learn more about the exciting fall semester over the next few months, we know you will find a class you will love in the fall lineup. We hope you are enjoying your summer and we wish you a delightful holiday.

~ Lora 

Lora Pollari-Welbes

Executive Director

Save These Dates!

Please make a note of these important dates for the upcoming fall semester:

  • Fall Semester announced – August 1
  • Fall Course Preview – September 5 at 9:30 AM virtual
  • Fall Course Registration – Monday, September 9 at 10:00 AM
  • Member/Club Open House – Thursday, September 19 at Mason. New this year: featuring workshop sessions on topics to help you get the most out of your membership and learn about new club possibilities.
  • Classes begin – September 30

Welcome New Members

During May 2024, we welcomed the following new members: Mark DeBlois, Carter Kelly, James McDowell, and Elise Stein.

Thank you to David Briggs and Goodwin Living for referring friends who became members of Encore Learning! Spread the word and please refer friends and family to Encore Learning. If you’d like to bring Encore Learning into your community (residential building or neighborhood) to share information about membership, let us know.

Encore Learning is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Any donation is a charitable contribution deductible from income tax to the full extent permitted by law. Members, friends and organizations wishing to support Encore Learning may direct contributions to our General Fund to support our sustainability or to the Arthur W. Gosling Youth Scholarship Fund. If you wish to designate a charitable gift in someone’s honor or memory, please email us indicating how the gift should be recognized. If you would like to discuss tax benefits of charitable giving and charitable remainder trusts, please view our Donate page or contact the office.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Inside Scoop. If you would like to submit an article or share some photos of members participating in Encore Learning activities, please email us at info@encorelearning.net.

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