With the weather turning warmer, it’s a good time to get out and do something fun or learn something new. The choices for doing so are abundant at Butler County Community College’s Lifelong Learning program, and the cost is very affordable.
In addition to hundreds of classes covering everything from gardening, painting and American history to improving your computer and social media skills for better employment or enjoyment, there are also dinner clubs, discussion groups, driver safety refresher courses, day trips and much more.
“Having Fun Close to Home” is the title of BC3’s spring tourism series. During this four session class, tourism specialists for Butler, Beaver, Lawrence and Mercer Counties will highlight places and events that make these counties unique, including things to do with the grandchildren that are healthy, educational and fun. Presenters are Debbie Crum from Butler County on April 5, Tim Ishman from Beaver County on April 12, Janet Falotico from Lawrence County on April 19, and Peggy Mazyck from Mercer County on April 26.
For a sampling of a taste of local nostalgia, join in a tour of “Zelienople: Two Historic Homes” on Friday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tour the Buhl House, built in 1805, the oldest existing building in Zelienople; learn about Christian Buhl, a hatter and furrier from Germany who raised 11 children in the house with his wife. Also tour the Passavant House (1808-1810), home to Zelie Passavant for whom the town is named.
If cycling is your thing, check out “Biking the Butler Freeport Trail” on Friday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A group will leave from a southern trailhead, bike north toward Cabot and then return. For the history and a map of the trail, visit butlerfreeporttrail.org/about-butler-freeport-community-trail/history/. Bring your own bicycle, helmet, food and water.
If you love to try new restaurants, consider taking part in the “Dining Out Group” on Thursday, April 6 and 20, and May 4 and 18 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The group dines at places like Clifford’s, Muddy Waters, Legume, Morici and The Le Mont. Participants pay for their own meals and carpools can be arranged.
“Turandot: The Opera” at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh is another fun option being planned for Sunday, April 2 from 11:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. This day trip includes a pre-opera lecture before the matinee performance. Carpools can be arranged. Class fee and opera ticket prices apply.
Another option for a fun evening out (but closer to home) is to catch a show at BC3’s Succop Theater. Seniors receive a discount on admission tickets. To learn more about upcoming shows, call Larry Stock at (724) 287-8711, ext. 8425 or visit bc3.edu/campus/butler/succop-theater/index.html.
Love to read? Join the “Book Discussion Group” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on April 18 and May 23. All types of books will be covered, including novels, memoirs, biographies and more. The selection for April is Small Great Things by Jodi Picault; and for May, Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
A handful of hands-on craft classes are being offered, including a “Needle and Fiber Arts Workshop” from noon to 2 p.m. on April 17 and 24; and May 1, 8, 15 and 22. Meet others who enjoy the rewards and challenges of being a fiber artist. Participants will share ideas, swap patterns, and share solutions to stitchery problems. Bring a project or start a new one. Beginners to experts are welcome.
Some BC3 have particular appeal to seniors, such as “Finances: Making Your Money Last in Retirement” being held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20. Attendees will learn investment strategies for their retirement years, including how to address key concerns such as inflation, healthcare expenses and market volatility.
If you don’t want to join a formal class but still want to get outdoors, shake off that cabin fever and go for a walk. BC3’s main campus includes the popular Shaffer Walking Trail, a paved, one-mile trail for walking or running. The trail is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk.
Or maybe you’d like a quiet place to read and surf the ‘Net. BC3’s newly remodeled library located in Heaton Learning Commons on the Main campus in Butler offers 24 open computer stations, wireless Internet access and quiet areas, as well as a deluxe café serving breakfast, sandwiches and specialty coffees. If you have a library card for any of the libraries in the community, bring it to Heaton Learning Commons in order to have access books, Internet resources and periodicals at the BC3 Library. For more information about Heaton Learning Commons or the Shaffer Walking Trail, call Jessica Matonak at (724) 287-8711, ext. 8822.
The college offers between 250 and 300 courses at each of their campus locations (Butler, Cranberry Township, Lawrence County, Mercer County and the Upper Alleghenies) and in a variety of community sites, such as public schools, churches, retail outlets and community centers. Class start dates vary. Registration is open up through the start date of each class. Tuition and admission fees apply in some cases. To sign up for classes, call (724) 287-8711, ext. 8504 or go to https://bc3.augusoft.net. To learn more about Lifelong Learning programs, call Paul Lucas at (724) 287-8711, ext. 8504 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit bc3.edu.
By Gina Mazza
For Butler County Senior News