JCMGA Members Participating in the Annual OLLI Open House Share Their Insights
by Colet Allen
JCMGA participated in the OLLI Open House held at SOU’s Stevenson Student Union on Friday, July 23, 2022. John Kobal and Susan Koenig were asked to staff one of the instructor’s tables for Recreation. I was seated directly across from them at the Development Committee table. I almost never saw them as they constantly had three to seven people lined up with questions and folks eager to talk to about gardening. John and Susan now have their own OLLI following. They will be teaching an Ornamental Gardening in the Rogue Valley class on Wednesdays this fall from 9 to 10:30 a.m. For information on registration, go to the OLLI at SOU website.
You could tell that people were enjoying this event by the noise level and vibration in the huge room. The hustle and bustle of people going to and coming from the Heritage Organizations in the main entry hall and the fabulous, donated food from several of our retirement facilities who were set up in the cafeteria all added to this event. The Rogue River Room housed information tables for SOU, OLLI Instructors and the OLLI Committees.
It was a successful event partly because several past members returned and there were about an equal number of new members who signed up. Some of the new members had just moved to the Rogue Valley. It was a fun event, a great outing and wonderful to get together with good friends again. I heard that there were over 800 people in attendance.
From John Kobal:
A fun time was had by all at the OLLI Open House. OLLI has so many interesting courses – and one that covers Ornamental Gardening, too. Yup, Susan Koenig and John Kobal are at it again. They are co-hosting the Fall OLLI series of classes, as was done two years previously. OLLI (via Zoom format) affords attendees the opportunity to learn about gardening in the comfort of their own homes. With all the COVID-19 scares still abounding, we again opted for the Zoom format. In between each session, attendees can forward questions specific to their needs. John and Susan respond directly to the participant and share questions/responses with the class when deemed generally applicable. Questions during the class are also encouraged. OLLI has proven itself very valuable in concert with the Master Gardener Speakers Bureau. Many participants are simply after help with their own gardens and OLLI provides a great medium for obtaining information and access to Master Gardeners (Susan and John). OLLI also provides a forum for promoting Jackson County Master Gardener classes and the Association. It’s a win-win for everyone.
From Susan Koenig:
John and I were asked to staff the Recreation table at OLLI’S annual Open House. Six to eight hundred attendees were expected. The booths were staffed by instructors in each subject area. We were available to talk with attendees about our curriculum for Ornamental Gardening which will be held this fall and Vegetable Gardening, which is held in the spring. I brought both Garden Guide texts, an outline of each curriculum, and a laptop with one of the PowerPoint presentations that attendees could page through. I also had a signup sheet for those who wanted to be reminded of when the registrations for Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens and the Master Gardener Program open. We got 21 signatures for both! I’m not sure how many people stopped by the table, but I do know I was always busy talking to some delightful folks and the hour and one half went by very quickly. It reminded me of working in the Plant Clinic because I fielded several questions on plant problems and made recommendations on plant selection, too. All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and I discovered that there is life after COVID-19 for the JCMGA with a new, enthusiastic group of volunteers waiting to join us.