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Senior center wants your opinion on topics

The Center will hand out surveys Friday (March 28) and Saturday at the Brainerd

If you had your choice, what would you want to learn? How to do craft work? More information about world issues or retirement?

The Center, the senior center located on Kingwood Street in Brainerd, would like to know what Brainerd lakes area residents — of all ages, not just senior citizens — would like to learn. The Center is in the beginning stages of creating new programming called The Forums. They will incorporate intellectual, educational and experimental opportunities for community members implementing speakers, discussion groups or movie events.

The Center will hand out surveys Friday (March 28) and Saturday at the Brainerd Lakes Marketplace, the area’s largest consumer trade show, at the Brainerd Area Civic Center. The event features about 130 booths, attracts more than 5,000 consumers and raises funds for the Brainerd Lakes Chamber.

The survey will ask people if they would be interested in attending the programming; what time of day they would attend a one- to two-hour program; and have them check off a list of potential topics including: books and literature, travel, movies and documentaries, discussion groups, current events, arts and music, health issues, international, retirement/aging, human growth and development and history.

The survey will ask participants about other topics they are interested in and if they know of an expertise in a particular field who would conduct a good program. Those not attending the Marketplace who want to fill out a form may pick one up at The Center or go online at

Surveys will be accepted through the end of April, then will be tabulated with the anticipation for The Forums to begin in May or June.

DeAnn Barry, director of The Center, is working on the programming with Bob Passi of Baxter and Roy Miller of Brainerd. Passi has experience working with several organizations on programs, such as Central Lakes College’s Center for Lifelong Learning program that is no longer and Unlimited Learning on programs geared for senior citizens.

“I know there is a need and the interest for this type of programming,” said Passi. “It was a shame that the Center for Lifelong Learning disappeared.”

Passi said. The Forums will be different from what the Center for Lifelong Learning offered. Passi said The Forums will not just focus on speakers. The program will offer a variety of events from having panels with a discussion group to having people watch a documentary on a certain topic.

Miller said the programs are open to all ages, but may be geared to the older population as the Brainerd lakes area has seen an explosion with the baby boomer population. Miller said with the older population there are many issues of interest to discuss, such as housing, quality of life, employment and retirement. Miller hopes community leaders will attend some of The Forums.

Barry said they hope to have the programming offered to the public for free, but there may be a small fee for particular events. She said it all depends on the planning and how the programming goes.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at