U3A courses build skills and knowledge | Augusta-Margaret River Mail

The latest Margaret River U3A course program has been out since December and courses will begin in early February.

Each course offers opportunities to learn new skills and knowledge, to exercise in new ways and to meet new people and old friends.

The eight week ‘Basics of Chess’ course is for beginners who wish to learn and play with others.

The course leader, Mitze Vermote, learned chess as an adult.

“My dad taught me to play when I was eight years old, but since then I didn’t have a chance to play for years, but as I have retired, I have become interested in doing this again,” she said.

“I was in Ubud, in Bali, where people were playing chess on the street and they invited me to play with them and to even have a cup of tea during play.

“I wasn’t winning much at first, but it fired up my enthusiasm for the game.”

The course involves learning and doing, with participants fully engaged.

Mitze said while chess can give your brain a good work out, it shouldn’t lead to brain burnout.

“It can enhance one’s ability to concentrate and think two or three moves ahead and to strategise more effectively.”

U3A Margaret River’s Mitze Vermote says chess can enhance one’s ability to concentrate and strategise.

Participants learn through discussions and teaching as well as exposure to computer chess games and online tutorials.

“Chess is something that people of any age and ability can play with almost anyone else, regardless of age,” she said.

“It’s all up to you, that’s what I like about the game”.

Another new course will also focus on strategy, this time in the Catholic Church.

Course presenter Mike Wood, said the course was concerned with how a major cultural organization deals with forces that seek to change a venerable institution.

‘Reforming the Catholic Church: from Crisis to Change’ focuses on how the institution is seeking to address major changes demanded by some parts of the church community but that are resisted by others.

“This course will not just be of interest to people of religious faith. It will examine how a long-lived and major cultural institution in our midst is managing (or not managing) organizational change.”

‘The Role of Railways in supporting social and economic development in WA’ will be the focus of another new U3A course.

Course leader Fred Affleck will share his knowledge and fascination about the heroes, rogues and riches that are all part of the story of the state’s railway system.

For more than a century railways were essential travel and transport through most of southern WA and as far north as Meekatharra.

Almost every community had a rail siding where produce would be picked up and ‘city goods’ ranging from school books to machinery would be delivered.

Rural train travel is now very limited, and train use for commercial goods is used only for a few major commodities.

But almost every community has a ‘station street’ that recalls the importance of the rail lines in connecting them to the world.

The course will look at the history of colorful social and political events sparked by the establishment and use of rail infrastructure, including use in gold mining areas, the Perth metropolitan region, timber towns, and iron ore mines.

In addition to the presentations, participants will be able to share their personal experiences and observations of railways and train travel in WA.

Spaces are still available in this course which runs over six weeks in April and May.

Course attendees should ensure that they are fully COVID-19 vaccinated.

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