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

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

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

The eight-week Basics of Chess course is for beginners who want to learn and play with others.

The instructor, Mitze Vermote, learned to play chess as an adult.

“My father taught me to play when I was eight years old, but since then I haven’t had a chance to play for years, but now that I’m retired I’ve become interested in doing this again,” she said.

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

“I didn’t win much at first, but it fueled my enthusiasm for the game.”

The course involves learning and doing, with the participants fully involved.

Mitze said that chess can give your brain a good workout, but it shouldn’t lead to a burnout.

“It can improve a person’s ability to focus and think two or three steps ahead and devise strategies more effectively.”

Mitze Vermote of U3A Margaret River says that playing chess can improve one’s concentration and strategy.

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 skill level can play with almost anyone, 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 host Mike Wood said the course was about how a major cultural organization handles forces seeking to change a venerable institution.

Reforming the Catholic Church: from Crisis to Change focuses on how the institution tries to deal with major changes that are demanded by some parts of the church community, but which others resist.

“This course will be of interest not only to those of religious faith. It will examine how a long-lived and large cultural institution in our midst manages (or does not manage) organizational change.”

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

Instructor Fred Affleck shares his knowledge and fascination with the heroes, villains, and riches that are all part of the story of the state’s rail system.

For more than a century, railroads were essential for travel and transportation through most of South WA and as far north as Meekatharra.

Nearly every community had a railroad where produce would be picked up and “city goods” ranging from school books to machines would be delivered.

Rail travel in rural areas is now very limited and the use of the train for commercial goods is only used for a few important goods.

But almost every community has a ‘station street’ that reminds us of the importance of the railways in connecting them to the world.

The course examines the history of colorful social and political events fueled by the construction and use of railway infrastructure, including uses in gold mining areas, the Perth metropolitan region, timber towns and iron ore mines.

In addition to the presentations, participants can share their personal experiences and observations of train and train travel in WA.

There are still places available for this course, which lasts six weeks in April and May.

Students should ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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