FARMINGTON — There is no homework, no tests and no prior courses are required for the 21 classes and activities offered for the upcoming term of the Gold LEAF Institute Senior College.

The classes are designed for people age 50 and older and their spouses/partners of any age. The term runs from October to March.

A kickoff takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the North Dining Hall of Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington. It is free and open to the public.

Because some classes fill early, registrations are taken prior to and during the kickoff.

The Gold LEAF Senior college is about learning without stress, tests or credits and socializing with others with similar interests. Topics include poetry, Tai Chi, computers, pickleball, French and Spanish.

There are also opportunities for road trips and activities such as a canoe or kayak trip on the Sandy River, a visit to Northern Solstice Alpaca farm in Unity or a trip to a Portland Symphony Orchestra concert.

A full listing is on the Web at

Gold LEAF members pay dues of $30 for the year starting July 1. Those signing up for the first time have dues pro-rated at $20.

Courses are offered for $3 to $20. Some meet every week, Eileen Kreutz, office manager and senior liaison, said.

Tai Chi lessons are $12 for five months and require membership, she said.

People are signing up for the paddle trip on the Sandy River. Early registrations for a class on death and dying are also coming in. Participants will join UMF students for the faculty-led course Nov. 4 and Dec. 2. 

Another popular activity is Alpacas 101, Kreutz said. She said the animals have some connection to people with early-onset dementia. Many in the early stages of dementia go to the farm to hang out with the animals and find it helpful, she said.

A film series tribute to Robin Williams is filling fast, she said. Participants will view six films starring Williams on Wednesdays in January and February. A discussion follows each film, she said.

LEAF is an acronym for Lifelong Education at Farmington.  The local Gold LEAF Institute is one of 17 senior colleges in Maine. It is a nonprofit, member-run organization sponsored by the University of Maine at Farmington.

There are about 175 members in Western Maine.

For a course booklet, registration directions or general information, call 778-7063 or email [email protected]

[email protected]

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