GILL Kick-off Garnered Enthusiastic Response as Class Rosters Filled

Drawing a crowd of about 75 people, the Garrett Institute of Lifelong Learning (GILL) kicked off its inaugural season last week at the Garrett College Art Gallery. A newly formed organization geared to the age 50+ community, GILL was developed by a group of interested local residents in cooperation with the Garrett College Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD).

Core GILL organizers elected a board of directors and set about designing a program of educational offerings which will begin next month. The introductory reception, an idea suggested by board member Ellen Fritz, brought together interested community members and the instructors for the upcoming classes.

Sue Fowler, GILL board member and program director for Garrett College CEWD, deemed the gathering a great success. “By becoming a member of GILL a participant has a voice and a vote in the next round of class offerings. People at the reception seemed very excited to learn about the GILL concept of members designing their own programs of study. The first group of class offerings includes Mystery History Tours, Healthy Living, Native Plants and Wildflowers, and Alternative Energy. Some of these classes filled to the maximum number during the reception and we're working on either identifying other dates to hold the classes or making it possible to open new sections to accommodate those who are interested,” she said.

Lena Fratz of Accident was among those attending the GILL reception and talked about how excited she is to become a part of GILL. “I always dreamed of retiring near a University where there would be interesting programs to attend.  GILL will provide opportunities right here in Garrett County where I love to live. Their class schedule offers more than I have time to attend and at affordable fees. I'm starting with the Wildflower classes in May,” she said..

Pat McNally, a resident of neighboring Confluence, Pa., spends much of her time in Garrett County and became a GILL member but is still pondering which classes she will register for. “This is one of the reasons I love Garrett County. People are so interesting and so involved in the community,” she said.

Judy Salter, who lives near Accident, said she was very impressed with what she learned about GILL. “I was glad to attend the GILL Open House with some of my friends. I registered and shared in the ‘buzz’ of enthusiasm for May beginnings and beyond. It made me feel like Spring was just around the corner,” she said.

A GILL website is currently in development. More information on GILL is available by call Sue Fowler at 301-387-3087.

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