The university of the third age (U3A) is an international movement which aims to educate and stimulate retired members of local communities.
Established in the early 1970’s in France, the model and idea of retired members of the community utilising their existing skills to aid others in furthering their education or learning new skills, quickly spread throughout the world.
By the early 1980’s Australia had embraced the U3A. In 1996 Jeanette Urbanik, was the founding member of the Batemans Bay U3A, Mrs Urbanik recently celebrated her 90th birthday with the U3A Singers.
Over the years the local branch has grown and currently has over 600 members who access around 40 courses, which are held across the region. Members not only enjoy the opportunity to learn new things, the U3A enables people to form new friendships. The U3A also fosters an invaluable connection within the community and, if you ask any member, is a lot of fun to be part of.
Courses are run by tutors, who are active members of the U3A, and happily share their wealth of knowledge and experience with everyone who signs up to participate in their course of choice. The U3A welcomes all members of the community over the age of 50 who are not working full time, there is no judgement, or confrontation, it’s just a bunch of people who are excited about continuing to be active in their retirement.
Local U3A member Helen, underwent a hip operation in early 2017 and during her recovery became depressed and isolated from friends and past co-workers. When her daughter suggested that she needed to “get out and about”, she decided to sign up the U3A. Helen was nervous about attending the enrolment day, but she soldiered on and now participates in U3A courses 5 days a week.
Helen says “the friendships I have made went a long way in helping me out of my depression. I have learned so many new things; and I even, stepped completely out of my comfort zone and joined the U3A Singers – which I absolutely love”.
Above: If you have a bucket list and singing is on it, than the U3A Singers group could be perfect for you. Bringing the group together are conductress Lynne, pianist Julie and Des who organises just about everything. You don’t need to have experience as there are many talented singers in the group who will encourage you and before you know it you will be belting out tunes with the best of them; and it just so happens that at the moment we are looking for new singers to join us in creating happy harmony.
The U3A Singers meet every Thursday afternoon at the Salvation Army Hall and as Christmas approaches the group will be entertaining the community at aged care facilities, the Village Centre and the Nelligen Carols.
Membership to the U3A Batemans Bay costs $40 per year and this covers insurance and venue hire. Each Branch is overseen by a management committee of democratically elected members and administration and office functions are performed by members on a voluntary basis and volunteers are always welcome.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining U3A or would just like more information, please call 8250 5262 or check out the website https://bbay.u3anet.org.au/