Sunday, October 04, 2009

The other day the Boston Globe had a write-up about a name change that was taking place.

Elderhostel was founded in 1975 to give seniors 60 and over an opportunity for a reasonable educational expereience. It will now be known as Exploritas, avaiable to anyone 21 and over.

Over the years my husband and I went to many of the colleges that offered a five or six day program. The most difficult part of planning for this "away from home experience" was looking through the huge catalog and deciding where to go.

This was our approach:
First: How far did we want to travel
Second: What classes interested us
Third: What type of accommodation would we have
Fourth: After the sessions were over, where could we go to extend our time in that area.
Sometimes our priorities changed: If we really wanted to go to a certain area and were not particularly interested in the classes that were offered, we went anyway. The surprising thing about that was, many times the class we were looking forward to turned out to be a dud and the class that held no interest for us turned out to be outstanding. It was the instructor who made the difference!

When we first started going to Elderhostel we relied on the catalog to give us some idea about the accommodations. Once we got acquainted with other attendees we learned about the pluses and minuses of other colleges.

Sometimes even with this knowledge we would wind up in a dorm where the bathroom was shared by both sexes or the time we were on the second floor and the ladies room was on the third floor. I was not a happy camper!

There were other times when we had a suite of rooms, private bath and a kitchen area.
One summer we were at a college where there was a lake right outside our dorm. (I skipped a few classes)

One summer we attended Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in Rhode Island. We had HOTEL accommodations, maid service, health club and swimming pool.

The classes were held in a lecture hall, the chief conducted the class and once the entree was finished we were invited to taste and THEN we had to go to lunch!

In the meantime pastry chiefs were making all kinds of goodies which we HAD to sample after we had our dinner!!

We were not graded on these classes but if I were graded I would have received an A for my cooperation!!

We went to many different colleges, each one was unique in it's way but one thing was consistent: we always met wonderful people.

It seems to me that changing the name and lowering the age to 21 will change the whole idea of what Elderhostel set out to do in the first place.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has had the good fortune to have experienced an Elderhostel getaway.

I've never heard of it, but it is an interesting concept. Sounds like you've had much success with it.
I'm glad I stopped by your blog today because I will go to the website to learn more about it.
I don't know if it fits my life, but my parents may be interested.
Thanks Millie!
I have never tried elderhostel although it was a very popular venue when I was younger and I knew adults that went. They are changing because their numbers are my guess.
I had heard of it, but never gone on one. I do have a friend who has, however. I can't remember where she went. I think lowering the age that far sort of changes the whole thing - and probably not for the best!
I can only imagine that they lowered the age requirement for financial reasons. They used to hold Elderhostel events at Cornell College in my home town of Mt Vernon, Iowa. It seemed to be a fantastic thing. I hope the change isn't for the worse.
I attended an Elderhostel trip to the Miami Book Fair....good time...and I can imagine that when I am less able or comfortable traveling on my own i might try more.....I read about the trips just to get ideas for my own independent travel....
I never went on an elderhostel trip because I was more interested in the sights than in going to class. They were a great value, though and it's a shame they have changed.
I have never heard of this, but what a great idea!!!! I'm sure lowering the age to 21 will change the whole idea of what it was set out to be.

I think you are right - the numbers are dwindling - My husband and I attended many programs and as time went by the cost went up and they were offered for a shorter time period.

We shopped around and found other packaged trips that cost a little more but were a better value.

I'm sure that is what is happening now.
My brother once taught an Elderhostel on Romeo and Juliet. He had used the same lecture for years in his college classes. What amazed him was the different approach Seniors took. He loved comments like "Romeo, why I have a grand nephew just like him."

I have attended Elderhostels close to home and loved them. I learned so much about the county I live in.
At first glance I thought you were changing the name of your blog, and I thought, "What???"

I enjoyed reading of your Elderhostel experience -- frankly, not sure I like the name change, but if they're changing the age requirements suppose they had to.

I've never attended any of the Elderhostel classes, since I'm still having to attend all-day-like-classes seminars to stay current in my profession. Perhaps in the future I'll enjoy that activity.

I think Elderhostel classes have been held at one or more of the
The Claremont Colleges in my city. These are a consortium of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions and a central organization. Our sister city in Claremont, N.H. may offer Elderhostel, too, but am not sure if these are the same group of which you speak.

Thesr colleges allow elders in our community to attend and audit regular classes with some requirements and think they're free, or at best a very nominal cost.

Maybe bringing in younger folk to Exploritas will inject a new life and perspective into the classes. I'm a strong believer in a need to mix the ages, especially since there are going to be so many more oldsters and fewer youngsters in the years ahead. Consider that likely the only young 'uns that will attend will likely be truly interested in the topic since they'll have to pay for it, may be more motivating to them when it's not compulsory as when they're going for a degree. Also, they'll have to have some means to be able to afford to attend in the first place. They may even be interested in hearing an elder's point of view as I might be the youngster's. Time will tell, and what do I know having never having experienced the program.
Fascinating. I think I will be spending a long time exploring the options. Glad that you shared. :-)
My husband and I went to Panama to see the Canal....a dream of his....on an Elderhostel trip and loved it; especially being with people our age and interests. I wish the age requirements hadn't changed. We will probably not participate anymore.
It will be interesting to see how Elderhostel will change with the new mix of all ages.

I'm leaving tomorrow for London and Paris on an Elderhostel trip and I'll let you know how it went! This is my first international trip with them and my fourth trip over all.

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