Learning after working is beneficial to keep an active and curious mind.
And a worldwide organisation that provides opportunities for members to engage in further education has recently started a new club in the Mount Maunganui area.
U3A enables members to exercise their minds and bodies for a healthier and more active lifestyle in a community based setting.
The Mount Maunganui club will be the 85th of its kind in New Zealand.
U3A Beachside, as it is called, also hopes to also attract younger members of the community to join.
U3A Beachside treasurer Graeme Wilson says historically, U3A has always been dedicated to attract people of an older age group who may not be working anymore.
“I hate the word ‘retirement’, but traditionally U3A is for people who want to carry on learning after they’ve finished working.
“We saw an opportunity in setting up the new group here to be able to connect more with the younger folk on this side of the bridge.
“If we can have a mix of older and younger people of both age groups, then they can learn from each other – and why not do it in a friendly and informal fashion?
“We want to keep it open to anyone, whether it’s people with young families or anyone really. There is a shortage of learning programmes in the area which involve the whole community, so U3A Beachside aims to help fill this need for whoever may be interested.”
U3A has been going for 27 years with more than 900 members and is completely run by volunteers.
Graeme says, with each club, a number of interest groups are developed which study or take part in particular subjects or activities. These groups meet as frequently as the group decides.
“They could include history, poetry, dining out, singles’ outings for singles, photography, surfing, beach yoga, biking, hiking, painting, books. The range is very wide.
“While the main purpose is education, there are many opportunities to socialise as well.”
U3A also holds regular public meetings where those attending hear about the activities of groups already underway and those seeking members. This is followed by a speaker delivering a topic of interest.
The first public meeting of Beachside was on March 1 at Arataki Community Centre. Anyone is welcome to attend future meetings. Enquire by emailing: u3abeachsidebop.@gmail.com