Tuesday, April 17, 2018

To Your Health Program on How to De-stress Well Received

by Rosabelle Tifft

Thirty participants from Waterford, Rumford, Norway, and Greenwood, in addition to Bethel, heard tips on how to de-stress at a program held on April 12 at the West Parish Congregational Church in Bethel.

The first presenter, Ellen Crocker, retired psychotherapist, reviewed stress symptoms, signs and causes, and a stress test. She said, “Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses it can help you perform under pressure, and motivate you to do your best. You can protect yourself and improve how you think and feel by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress, and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.” Participants were given a number of handouts on this topic.

Wendy Youmans, LCSW and 500 hour level Kripula yoga teacher, led the group in breathing exercises and meditation, as well as basic yoga stretching. Participants found closing their eyes while doing yoga movements very helpful and relaxing.

Jewel Clark, professional musician, said that music occupies your mind in a way that distracts from stressful thinking. She entertained with musical numbers, had a sing-along with the audience, and taught them to yodel.

In their evaluations of the program, participants praised the presenters for an enjoyable, relaxing and fun evening. They agreed that each presenter gave good tips on de-stressing.



To Your Health Committee members Jan Stowell and Rosabelle Tifft; presenters Ellen Crocker, Wendy Youmans and Jewel Clark.  Photo by Peter Musso.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Adaptive Toolkit on Display in Telstar Room 133

Have you “played with” the Age-Friendly Community Initiative (AFCI) Adaptive toolkit, purchased through an AARP competitive grant? This is a display of tools for home use, including kitchen helpers and aids to facilitate vision and manual dexterity. Many of the tools are for sale at Brooks Brothers Hardware, and a take-home catalog notes other retailers where all tools may be purchased. The toolkit is being displayed throughout the six communities (Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood,Hanover, Newry, and Woodstock) and at local events. It is on display now until May in Telstar Room 133; stop by after a class or come for an AFCI chat on Tuesday, April 10, 12:15-2:00 pm.

Down Home Maine to Present "Canoeing with the Cree"

Quaking bogs, black spruce, woodland caribou, northern lights – welcome to the land of the Cree!

Join Registered Master Maine guide Polly Mahoney of Mahoosuc Guide Service in North Newry as she shares her experiences working with and traveling by canoe with the Cree of northern Quebec. For 28 years Polly and her partner, Kevin Slater, have been paddling on the remote lakes and rivers around the Cree villages of Ouje-Bougoumou and Misstassini. She will share her adventures and knowledge of what she has learned from the Cree about “bush medicine,” setting fishnets, making smoking racks to smoke freshly caught fish, carving Cree paddles with wood from the local boreal forest. This show will be a mix of personal experience, shared knowledge and beautiful images of pristine wild country.

This presentation will be the first in Western Mountains Senior College's 2018 Down Home Maine series. It will be held at 7:00 pm, Tuesday, April 24, in Alumni Auditorium in Gould Academy's McLaughlin Science Center. Down Home Maine presentations are free and open to the public.


Polly Mahoney and friend in birch bark canoe.


Wigwam and long house.


Best of Acadia Week

College of the Atlantic, in partnership with Acadia Senior College, is hosting a special residential program, The Best of Acadia Week. The program, which runs from July 15-21, includes housing, all transportation, activities, and meals during the week. The College of the Atlantic kitchen does a great job at accommodating all diets and providing fresh and nutritious meals.

Attendees will meet in the morning with Atlantic Senior College members for talks (we have lined up a few of Maine college presidents). In the afternoons College of the Atlantic will be taking the group out and about to see some of the highlights of our area. There is a moderate level of activity for active adult learners. Participants come and enjoy themselves while learning something new!

For a full description of the program see Acadia Senior College’s website The Best of Acadia Week. Questions? Contact Laura Johnson, College of the Atlantic Director of Summer Programs, 207-801-5635.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Distressed about Stress

Ellen Crocker, Jewel Clark and Wendy Youmans

To Your Health of Western Mountains Senior College will present a program, “Distressed about Stress,” on Thursday, April 12, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at the West Parish Congregational Church Chapel, Bethel. Presenters include Ellen Crocker, retired psychotherapist, Wendy Youmans, licensed clinical social worker and 500 hour level Kripalu Yoga Teacher, and Jewel Clark, professional musician.

Ellen will discuss the causes and symptoms of stress and offer suggestions about coping with stress. She says, “Stress is self-generated, due largely to the expectations we place on ourselves. Much of what bothers us is beyond our control. However, how we deal with it, and how we react is under our control.

Wendy will give an introduction to yoga and meditation followed by breathing exercises and meditation with the audience. She will demonstrate basic yoga and stretching that anyone can do. Wendy says,”My approach to yoga is to offer an opportunity for increased self-awareness, stress relief, fitness, and community connection and, hopefully, a healthy dose of laughter.”

In discussing the role of music, Jewel says, “When you listen to music, especially when you’re participating yourself by singing or playing an instrument, it occupies your mind in a way that distracts from stressful thinking. Also, physiologically, it can prompt your brain to produce ‘endorphins,’ a hormone that helps you to feel good."

Jewel came from a family of musical performers, including Yodeling Slim Clark, Blue Eyed Celia, and Wilf Clark and feels her musical interests and abilities were simply inherited. She has experienced how music can positively affect both the performer and the audience in those moments of “connection.” Jewel especially loves encouraging “listeners” to “participate” during her performances, because when they join in, they really seem to enjoy the act of singing themselves.

The program is sponsored as a community service by To Your Health of WMSC with the collaboration of Bethel Family Health Center and MSAD#44/Continuing Education. The public is invited and admission is free. For more information contact Rosabelle Tifft (824-2053).



April Events

Thursday, April 12
To Your Health: Distressed About Stress?
Ellen Crocker, retired psychotherapist, Wendy Youmans, yoga instructor, and Jewel Clarke, local musician, will present a program with ideas on how we can “de-stress.” Class participation is encouraged. Sponsored by Western Mountains Senior College, Bethel Family Health Center, and SAD #44 Adult and Continuing Education.
Free and open to the public. FMI: Rosabelle Tifft, 824-4053.
Thursday, April 12; 4:30-6:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel.


Tuesday, April 24
Down Home Maine: Canoeing with the Cree

Registered Master Maine guide Polly Mahoney of Mahoosuc Guide Service in North Newry shares her experiences working with and traveling by canoe with the Cree of northern Quebec - what she has learned about “bush medicine,” setting fishnets, carving Cree paddles. This show will be a mix of personal experience, shared knowledge and beautiful images of pristine wild country. Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, April 24; 7:00 pm; Alumni Auditorium, McLaughlin Science Center, Gould Academy.


The following events are not sponsored by Western Mountains Senior College, but may be of interest to our members.

Tuesdays, April 10 to May 15
Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities
A course for gardeners who believe that everyone should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  This six-week training will improve your gardening skills and prepare you to participate in the seasonal effort to grow and share fresh produce with community members. FMI or to receive an application, contact Barbara 890-1626 or barbara@mahoosuc.org. To download a flyer: GGHC Flyer
Tuesdays, April 10 to May 15; 7:30 pm; Valentine Farm Conservation Center, 162 North Road, Bethel.

Wednesday, April 11
Helping Parents As They Age
As our parents age, all sorts of concerns and issues arise.  Learn about health and safety issues, challenges you may face with communication, how to provide support, and how to connect with available resources - all within a supportive environment.  FMI: SAD44 Adult Ed at 824-2136, ext. 1340. Free, but call to register.
Wednesday, April 11; 6:00-8:00 pm;  Telstar High School, 284 Walkers Mills Road, Bethel.

Friday, April 13
Oh, My Stars! Messier Marathon Demonstration 
Join star gazing enthusiast, Tom Hoffelder, for a night of enchantment. Tom has been looking through a telescope since 1974 and has seen 100 objects in one night. Cloud/rain date is April 14. Telescopes provided or bring your own. FMI: https://mahoosuc.org/events/
Friday, April 13; 8:30 pm; Valentine Farm Conservation Center, 162 North Road, Bethel.


Wednesday, April 18
A Day in the Life of an Ocean Swimmer

Todd Siekman has been an avid swimmer his whole life. He began long-distance ocean swimming four years ago for two reasons: to support the Lifeflight foundation and as a means of recovering from brain surgery. He swims with four to 13 others, ranging from 13-69 years old, accompanied by up to seven kayakers. They typically swim from 1.5 miles up to 5.5 miles depending on the day, weather conditions and ability of the participants. Todd's talk is part of the Mahoosuc Land Trust's "Day in the Life" speaker series, which is sponsored in 2018 by the Norway Savings Bank. FMI: https://mahoosuc.org/events/
Wednesday, April 18; 7:00-8:30 pm; McLaughlin Auditorium, Gould Academy, Bethel.


Wednesday, April 25
Community Supper

Come and join the people of the community for a delicious meal. No charge, all are welcome.
Wednesday, April 25; 4:30-6:00 pm; Bethel Alliance Church, 251 Walker’s Mills Road, Bethel.


Friday, April 27
Open Mic Talent Night
Open to anyone – musicians, storytellers, comedians, poetry readers, dancers, hog callers – anyone! Sign up with Tom Davis at anick1@wildblue.net.
Friday, April 27; 7:00 pm; West Parish Congregational Church, Bethel.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thanks from the Bethel House

Karen Mills sends out a big thank you to all those who responded to her request for donations of puzzles and craft materials to use at the Bethel House. The response has been overwhelming! They now have as much as they can use, as storage at the Bethel House is tight. Your donations are greatly appreciated by the residents - we certainly do have a great group of senior college members.  Thank you all, and Karen says she is sure you will hear from her again!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Down Home Maine Looking for Suggestions for Presenters

By Brendon Bass

Recently the Western Mountains Senior College Program Committee spent some time generating suggestions for future Down Home Maine presenters. But we would also like help from our membership. If you know someone locally or not far away (it could be you) who has knowledge or experience in an interesting field, who would make an enjoyable presentation on a volunteer basis, and whom you would like to add to our list, please contact Brendon Bass (824-8580) with your suggested presenter and his/her phone number or email address. Thanks in advance!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Invitation to Join Dwight Mills’ Mushrooming Adventures

(Note: this is not a WMSC-sponsored offering, rather a “Birds-of-a-Feather” group that Dwight is putting together)

Dwight Mills has collected wild mushrooms for about 40 years but has never gotten serious about learning new species until this year. He has spent considerable time doing research and putting together a binder full of information on local mushrooming. By April he expects to start searching for and identifying some or all of the approximately 25 species worth eating. He would be delighted to take others with him on these adventures. If you would like to try your luck and join Dwight, you can reach him at dlm@oxfordnetworks.net or at 875-2893.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Telstar Students to Offer Free Tech Help

Do you get frustrated with your smart phone or tablet? Would you like to use more of the features? We have students volunteering for free drop-in tech help every Tuesday in the Adult Ed Office from 2:30 - 4:30 pm.  For more information call 824-2136 ext. 1340.