Summer Hostel brings the pioneer spirit to senior adults

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Annual week-long event took alumni and seniors to Bardstown, Ky., and Land Between the Lakes

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They may not look like traditional students, but the senior adults who come to Summer Hostel each year have a huge heart for learning. Lipscomb’s 28th annual Summer Hostel, a weeklong program held June 22-28, was designed to take advantage of that with exciting field trips and informative speakers.

During a week full of classes, field trips and travel along the theme, “Famous Pioneers: In Search of America’s Heroes,” participants got the chance to tour the Arnold Engineering Development Center, to attend a performance by the Fiddle Orchestra, tour United Record Pressing and to see "The Homeplace" and a bison and elk sanctuary at Land Between the Lakes State Park.

“The purpose of the week is to offer an opportunity for senior adults – some of whom are alumni – to come to campus, stay in the dorm if they wish, sit in classes taught by professors or experts in the topics offered, to socialize with other people of similar age and to take part in a travel learning experience,” said Amy Hamar, director of Lifelong Learning and senior alumni programs at Lipscomb.

Summer Hostel travel included a trip to Bardstown, Ky., to see “The Stephen Foster Story” in My Old Kentucky Home State Park. While there, students also took a ride on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, dined at the Historic Talbott Tavern, toured the Abbey of Gethsemani founded in 1848, and visited Museum Row for Civil War, Native American and natural histories of the area.

Classes were taught by Lipscomb professors in addition to author Mark Baker. Students learned about the colonial frontier culture and listened to tales of survival and hunting from Baker.

Lipscomb engineering faculty Greg Nordstrom and Fort Gwinn spoke about early developments that led to modern technology, and even led students in a small hands-on robotics project. A little early music education was provided by Donna King, assistant professor of music at Lipscomb.

“We hope participants take away knowledge of the subject they did not have before, but also we hope they enjoy the social aspect of Summer Hostel—that they reconnect with old friends and make new ones,” Hamar said.