Not only does Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) offer education for freshly graduated high schoolers, but also the unsatisfied curiosity of the elderly, with their 55+ enrichment program now open for registration.
Xplore: Keep Thinking first started in 2015, and it offers seniors the opportunity to continue learning and to engage in conversations on a variety of topics. However, Abram Bergen, a staff member who works with helping seniors apply for courses, says that once courses moved online in 2020, many people under 55 years started applying.
"While we technically say this program is for people 55+ when we moved it online during COVID, we had a lot of people under 55 taking the courses."
135 people registered in the Fall of 2021, and many applied for multiple courses. Including Pearl Braun-Dyck who has participated in Xplore since it first started. Dyck was the first faculty secretary at CMU, back when it was Canadian Mennonite Brethren College in 1974.
"I live in Plum Coulee, close to Winkler. I took the in-person classes at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Winkler prior to COVID. Those were the times when you could take two classes from 9 till 10 and then we had a half-hour break and then 11 to 12 with the next one. So, every year I always took two classes. When it went virtual because of the pandemic, some years I took four and some years I took three."
Despite COVID creating many set backs in many areas of our lives, Dyck believes that it created opportunities for people all around Canada to learn and teach in the program. Once the program moved online, Xplore even offered a course for participants to learn how to use Zoom and other online and technological features.
Dyck does comment that she misses the feeling of meeting with people in person before class. Hybrid classes are being offered at CMU, meaning that participants can join classes in-person or online, however, there won't be hybrid classes offered in Winkler.
Courses are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. Fees are $50 for each course (in person or online), with a $25 reduction per online course for a second person at any one screen. There is no discount for the in-person registrations. For more information on registration, visit the Xplore website.
"Well, I guess just like anything and everything," Dyck says when asked if there are any teachings that have stuck with her throughout the years.
"I think back to some of the Sunday school classes years back and how biblical information was disclosed and now you take classes with different profs and people and understand more, and the Bible is opened and studied in a very different way. It amazes me what there all is, and I remember particularly one class with Michael Pahl. I took a lot of classes by him and, you know, little details that you kind of just shake your head out and go wow. It's just been a really good eye-opening experience."
Dyck wanted to add some words of encouragement for anyone thinking about registering for the Xplore program.
"I would just encourage anybody who enjoys learning to sign up for these classes. I mean, the cost is so minimal it's unbelievable."