U3A embraced in Mirboo North

 Mirboo North U3A basket weavers. photograph hayley mills.

Mirboo North U3A basket weavers. photograph hayley mills.

Mirboo North and District U3A is going gangbusters with more than 100 people enrolling in volunteer-run courses in less than 12 months since the group was formed.

MND U3A president Cheryl Miscamble said she was hoping for 20 members when she initiated the local group last year and was rapt that so many people had jumped on board.

"It is bringing camaraderie and social interaction to the district. It's bringing people together – they are having fun," Ms Miscamble said.

The retired teacher formed the district's University of the Third Age branch after she moved from the Mornington Peninsula two years ago and saw there was nothing on offer locally.

She got in touch with the organisation for some tips on how to start a local branch and then called a community meeting at which 40 people turned up.

"It turned out to be much bigger than I expected. I thought if I get 20 members I'd be ecstatic. I ended up getting 40 members when we first started and this blew my mind," she said.

"In less than a year we now have 100 members."

Ms Miscamble said the beauty of the Mirboo North and district branch was that it was open to adults of all ages rather than being restricted to over 50s and retirees.

"I wanted something for young mums or for people who are not working who were looking for something stimulating in their life," she said.

"It is good for the younger people to interact with the seniors. They learn from each other – it goes both ways."

Ms Miscamble said some of the more popular sessions were interactive art classes, creative writing, brain exercises, ukulele jams, film buff groups, and table tennis.

She said the local group was also about to run a regional creative writing competition as well as an information forum in October about positive retirement with expert guest speakers.

"Everyone is a volunteer. They may have a certain passion for things so I'm trying to put together different things to attract more members," she said.

Ms Miscamble said new members were welcome to join as a student or to volunteer to teach a class.

The Mirboo North branch has members from Yinnar, Boolarra, Meeniyan, Dumbalk and Allambee.

For more information, head to u3amnd.org.au, or pick up a brochure from around Mirboo North.

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