I joined U3A on my retirement from 40 years in education. For the next nine years I combined belonging to two, sometimes three, interest groups with long spells away travelling. But when my wife agreed to do 2 days a week childcare for our grandchild, our free living lifestyle was compromised… and I was persuaded to join the committee. Initially asked to be Vice Chairman, I found myself four months later taking on the role of Chairman after our current Chair needed to step down.
I found myself using skills and knowledge from my professional life that I had thought I would never use again. How wrong I was! Being part of a learning community has invigorated my own learning; and I find the role of Chairman both stimulating and challenging.
Until being asked to write this piece, I do not think it ever occurred to me that I was a volunteer. Being Chairman was just something I chose to do as part of my third age. I spend about an hour a day ensuring that the wheels of the organisation keep turning, and also developing the reach of our U3A. I have introduced a regular local community radio slot, a Facebook page, and new publicity material.
I want to ensure that our U3A remains at its heart a myriad of self-directed learning groups, whilst ensuring it fulfils the demands of a civic society. Belonging, and being a part of an active organisation is exciting, interesting and great fun, and what being part of a community is all about.
(Featured photo: U3A in London Bridge group)