Some Past AWN Programs
Fun Collaborative Games
During February and early March, 2023, AWN member Gil Herman facility four sessions of Fun Collaborative Games. Each session engaged between 15 – 20 older adults in a variety of team building activities including such challenges as solving a murder mystery, surviving a (simulated) plane crash, crossing a magic carpet, and word games. All challenges encouraged collaboration and led to much hilarity and getting to know each other even better.
Youth Business Ideas for Older Adults
Five teams of high school students from the OPRFHS Incubator Business class presented their ideas to our members and guests. Each group received kudos and feedback from participants and following the presentations, had an opportunity to move around to stations where they could talk further. Business ideas included creating celebrations of life using digital media, having a reading “glasses” in the form of a card carried in a pocket on a smart phone, providing a groups of high school students to help with chores, repurposing old tech to pass it along to non profits, and creating a space where young people could take out their stress by smashing things.
People Helping People
We invited four local non-profits to tell us about the work they do and possibly encourage older adults to volunteer. Each organization – Housing Forward, Sarah’s Inn, Exodus World Service and Beyond Hunger – gave an overview of their history and current services. Additionally an AWN member who volunteers with each organization told their story of involvement. This was followed by an opportunity for participants to go around to each organization’s station to further engage and possibly sign up for further information or volunteer potential.
Sustainability – What We Can Do to Help
AWN members Hinda Blum and Chris Hauri facilitated a workshop on Sustainability - What We Can Do To Help. Participants discussed how they want to be remembered by the next generations regarding what they did to protect and sustain our earth. We discussed some causes and consequences of climate change and the power of older adults to affect policy. Participants brainstormed specific actions they could do in their homes, in their communities and families. Participants left with a list of green organizations they could join as well as resources they could use in our goal to transition to green energy. As a follow up, the Green Team Interest group was created.
Sexuality and Intimacy Among Older Adults
AWN member Catherine Marienau and her colleague Carolyn Torkelson led an interactive program with engaged participants in a rare opportunity, in mixed company, to discuss sexual and emotional intimacy as we age. The presenters, an academic and a physician, created an open and relaxed setting for frank conversation about sexual health, including attitudes and mores, emotional and physical changes, and creative ways to enhance one’s sexual pleasure. Take home message: adults at any age are sexual beings and deserving of sexual-sensual pleasures, whatever that may mean to each of us.
Exploring Artificial Intelligence for Older Adults
Vijay Gurbani, the Chief Data Scientist at Vail Systems and a Research Associate Professor at Illinois Tech, led a lively interactive presentation on the history of artificial intelligence and the development of natural language learning systems. After that participants spent time in small groups working hands-on with ChatGPT to get a sense of how it worked and how to use it.
More Fun Collaborative Challenges
This was a fifth session with all new challenges led by Gil Herman. Among other things, members solved a robbery mystery, solved riddles and puzzles, and created wise advice using exactly 6 words.
Reimagining Adventure as We Age
This program was led by AWN member Catherine Marienau and her podcast colleague, Gail Zelitsky. Part of the presentation was hearing short audio clips of their podcast participants who shared their personal stories about what adventure means to them. Participants engaged in lively small-group conversations as well as full-group interaction about creating/having adventures and the adventure of aging itself.
On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, AWN members and guests were treated to the readings of original works by ten AWN members. The host team of Margaret Burk, Barbara Rose and Sun-Hee Yoon selected the offerings from member submissions then coordinated the program at American House Bistro enhanced with wonderful culinary delights. The readers in order of appearance – Phyllis Rubin, Jan Johnston, Peter Notier, Maureen Connolly, Elisabeth Muhlenberg, Gil Herman, Joyce Porter, Terri Powell, Charlie Hoch, and Victor Yipp – shared personal memoirs, poetry, and fiction.