The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 27, 2013

Mankato Area Lifelong Learners aims to reach younger crowd

MANKATO — A few months ago Mankato Area Lifelong Learners pulled together a focus group to tackle an issue it didn’t have a lot of expertise in.

The group, known for bringing interesting classes, outings and other services to its age 55 and older membership, is looking to expand its reach downward into a younger demographic. The goal is to hopefully fill its classes — which take place in community rooms and churches around the Mankato area — with as many seniors and soon-to-be seniors as possible.

To aid in this task, it gathered a bunch of folks from what could best be described as the next generation of potential Mankato Area Lifelong Learners.

And what did they learn?

“The needs of that group are a little different,” said Joe Hogan, a longtime organizer of Mankato Area Lifelong Learners.

For example, one of the findings of their focus group was that the time of most of the classes — 1 or 2 p.m. — doesn’t work well for folks who aren’t retired yet. So they’ve made some adjustments to times. Some of the classes even yet this fall are in the evening. More evening fare can be expected when new schedules for spring and summer are released.

The group will continue to offer classes that have become its bread and butter, such as on health issues, life planning and outings to local spots of interest. In the current calendar of classes, for instance, there are classes on sleeping better, an outing to the Emy Frentz Center for the Arts (which is an evening event Nov. 14), and a question-and-answer session on Alzheimer’s and other dementia (also an evening event).

They’ve also got plenty of the usual events on the calendar, including a visit from Retro Ron’s Roadshow (which already took place) and sessions on fantasy literature, aquatic mammals and a talk from a local couple about their recent trip to the Holy Land.

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