FARMINGTON – The Gold LEAF Institute at the University of Maine at Farmington announces its annual meeting and kick-off for the summer term from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, in the North Dining Hall, Student Center.

The program will include descriptions of the courses being offered, registration and light refreshments. A short movie, “Jackass Annie” about a New Vineyard woman, will be shown. Members and other adults over age 50 who are interested in learning about Gold LEAF are invited.

Ten courses are being offered. They are:

“Wool, War and Making Things Better”: The 90-minute presentation is the story of rainbow socks, a lifeline of yarn and hope to refugees from the wars in the Balkans from 1994 to 2000. A documentary of slides will acquaint participants with the history of the war and the impact of the project on more than 400 women. The program will include poetry (written by refugees), true stories of how yarn saved the lives of many exiled women and a question/answer period.

“Evening Bike Rides”: Bob Nixon is a trained bike mechanic and safety instructor for the Bike Coalition of Maine who has led weekly bike trips for large groups in Vermont. Nixon will lead participants on three bike trips in the early summer evening through parts of Farmington, Chesterville and New Sharon.

“Solar Cookers and Cookery”: Participants will make and use some solar cooking devices. The first session will be hands-on work, but during the second session, the participants will produce solar tea and hot cider. The beverages will be served to the South African youth who are working with Nate Phillips at the Mission at the Eastward.

“Visit to a Hosta Garden”: Participants will tour the garden of a Maine Hosta Society member. The garden is full of surprises with something different around every corner whimsical garden people, an old boot sprouting sedum, a chicken coop with a framed photo of Grandpa Rooster amid hosta.

“Journalism: Writing a Newspaper Column”: The goal is to have one or more teams of members prepare and write a regular column on Gold LEAF activities for the Franklin Journal. In the first session, Dan Warner, editor emeritus, will tell how to write an interesting column. In the second session, the group will prepare and write a column for his review. In the third session, Bobbie Hanstein, paper editor, will discuss how a newspaper is actually put together, edited and published.

“Lakewood Theater: ‘Incorruptible’ “: Participants will travel to Skowhegan for a buffet lunch and matinee performance of “Incorruptible.” The play is set in medieval France and involves relics, miracles and lots of laughs.

“Mountain Climbing in Ecuador and Africa”: The travelogue presentation will incorporate slides to explain the adventure of climbing volvanoes in Ecuador and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. The two experienced climbers will explain and demonstrate the climbing gear used in the process.

“Is Your Home Safe? Inspection Issues for Homeowners and Buyers”: The three-hour session explores the typical Maine home with its features and systems from the viewpoint of possible threats it may pose to occupants. The presenter will discuss the obvious areas for potential defects, the invisible killers in the home, the role of a home inspector and other licensed professionals, prevention of undesirable conditions and resources useful to help meet safety standards.

“Theater at Monmouth: ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ ” (advance sign-up): The autumn presentation will be a chance to view fall foliage and a musical production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” at Cumston Hall. The story is one of romance and silliness and is a comic operetta for all ages. A fall term lecture on Gilbert and Sullivan will be scheduled at UMF prior to the performance.

“2003 Senior College Summer Conference”: Experience the joy and richness of Senior College at the Summer Conference to be held July 13 to 15 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Gold LEAF members and leaders, along with folks from the 16 other senior college sites, are invited to attend the residential learning program and to experience the rural relaxation of summer in northern Maine.

Members are encouraged to sign up for the courses by Wednesday, June 18. However, registration will be held open for courses that have not been fully booked until two weeks prior to the scheduled date.

To participate members pay $25 a year dues and a small fee for each course taken. Further information can be obtained at the Gold LEAF office, Room 105B, Merrill Hall, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday or by calling 778-7063.

The institute is a membership organization for adults over age 50. Its mission is to provide intellectually stimulating learning activities and an opportunity for social interaction to its members. It is sponsored by the University of Maine at Farmington, is a member of the Maine Senior College Network, and is affiliated with the Elderhostel Institute Network, The only requirements for membership are age and a desire to learn.

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