Adult Education Classes, 2017

Adult Education Classes

     Morning Classes  >  Adult Education Classes, 2017

There are three periods during the morning of 55 minutes each. Classes are for six days, Sunday through Friday. Teachers are selected by the Program & Evaluations committee. Each teacher teaches his/her class twice each morning for 6 days. Classes are strictly optional and no attendance is kept.

The Program & Evaluations committee seeks to achieve a balance of classes in these categories, usually nine or more classes total:

  • Social/Political:  Labor issues, political workings, and miscellaneous other
  • Religion & Spirituality:  Bible study, comparative religion, etc.
  • Personal Development:  Dance, yoga, etc.

New teachers are sometimes brought in because the committee is looking for someone to teach a specific topic. Most often, a teacher is brought in by a camper who has experienced the teacher elsewhere.

The classes, 2017

—    Socio-Political    —

Diversity Of Personality - MBTI (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator)  –  Rev. Marilyn B. Kendrix

There are so many ways that we humans are alike and yet we tend to focus on our differences. One difference that many people fail to notice is the difference of personality and yet this difference has the power to create conflict in our relationships and undermine our efforts to effectively live and work together. In this course, we will discover our own personality types, on four scales: (1) Where do you get your energy? (2) How do you gather information? (3) How do you make decisions? and (4) How do you prefer to live? The class will include type-alike exercises to help us understand how differences on these four scales can impact how we exist in the world. We will also spend time looking at how personality impacts our relationships as couples and our preferences in terms of spirituality.

Rev. Marilyn currently serves at the Interim Senior Pastor at the Congregational Church of Naugatuck in Naugatuck, CT. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Marilyn worked for over 15 years as an Organizational Development Consultant principally at AT&T but also in other profit and not-for-profit settings. As an OD consultant, Marilyn used the MBTI extensively to help groups work together more effectively. Marilyn earned her Bachelor’s degree in French and secondary education from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, her Executive MBA from the University of New Haven and an MA in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, also from the University of New Haven. In May of 2013, Marilyn received her Masters of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She was the recipient of the Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize for exceptional promise in pastoral leadership, the highest prize that Yale Divinity School confers on a graduating student each year, for her work in raising awareness about mass incarceration in America.

The New Politics: Paradigms in politics, power and communication  –  Robert Campbell

We have all experienced the pain of the last election cycle. New information attacks us from every side — social media, Facebook, the Internet, cable television. Change that used to take years or months or weeks is now happening within hours. This class will deal with many of the changes that have taken place in the last decade for good or for bad.

Two films will be shown during the week The Internet’s Own Boy  and We Are Legion - The Story of Hacktivism  that will prompt our discussions about where we are now and where we are headed. We will also explore how to decipher the truth in the current barrage of misinformation that is out there and keep a positive vision of the future.

—    Religion and Spirituality    —

Radical Hospitality For A New Year  –  Rev. Dr. Hope N. Luckie

If the current social and political realities are getting you down, come and find a place where you can talk and be heard, where you can listen and learn, where together we can be community through radical hospitality and care. Or as Dorothy Day says: 

We have all known the long loneliness
and we have learned that the only solution is love
and that love comes with community. 
It all happened while we sat there talking, and it is still going on. 

We will gather each day for conversation, connection . . .

We will be using resources like Jean Vanier and L’Arche communities for people with intellectual disabilities, Brene Brown and her work on vulnerability and courage, Dorothy Day along with Robert Coles and Houses of Hospitality, and even David Brook's recent article on communities of love and acceptance. We will explore and practice noticing God in the other and how we welcome the God in each other through community. “Communities,” claims Vanier, “are truly communities when they are open to others; when they remain vulnerable and humble; when their members grow in love, compassion and humility. To experience the community is to let go of the boundaries, to welcome difference.”

The practice of radical hospitality assumes an interest in others, no foothold on truth and a willingness to be uncomfortable for the sake of deepening growth. Radical hospitality exists in most religious traditions and can be adapted as needed to one’s own understanding of a life of faith. This approach to our changing context politically, socially and spiritually will radically challenge our perspective and just as radically impact our lives and our world.

Rev. Hope is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. Hope received her Doctor of Ministry in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. She also holds a certificate in Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Collaboration from the Washington Theological Consortium. Hope has a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University's School of Theology where she specialized in spiritual formation and direction and a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University where she was a research assistant in the study of reading processes in children.

The Lost Rites: Ancient Wisdom For The 21St Century  –  Bill Roberts

Everyone knows that life has passages, major transitions as we move from one stage to another. But too few people know that since the beginning of human culture, the people all over the globe provided guidance through these transitions with "rites de passage," highly structured ways to introduce the techniques and mysteries needed to make a successful passage to the next stage of life. Over a period of more than 40 years, we have adapted these ancient rituals and created three contemporary rites de passage:

  • 1974:  An Initiation to Adulthood for Adolescents
  • 1994:  A Rite of Passage for Men and Women at Midlife
  • 2014:  A Rite for the Elder Passage

In this course we will look at both the dynamics of each transition and the shape of the rite of passage that could empower them. We will give much of our attention, especially as the week goes on, to the process of growing old and the techniques (practical knowledge) and mysteries (rituals) that we have created for our rite for the elder passage.

Bill and his family were very much a part of the Winni experience for nearly a decade some time back. In his own words: At that time I was the minister of First Church in Middletown. I left the parish ministry in 1989 and, after a five-year stint in very big business (KPMG and Prudential Residential Services) I created my own consulting firm focusing on the Management of Change. I have published two books: Initiation to Adulthood: An Ancient Rite of Passage in Contemporary Form and Crossing the Soul’s River: A Rite of Passage for Men (At Midlife)

Confidence In The Midst Of Chaos  –  Ron Kittel, Th.D.

How do we face the chaos of our times with courage? Many early Christians were willing to risk everything and stand up to persecution, degradation and possibly gruesome death at the hands of the Roman occupying army. They had this courage because their lives had been consciously re-shaped by following the dynamic pattern they found in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Their journey to their own inner wholeness and fortitude mirrored Jesus' finding his more basic origin (baptism), his restoring a vitally present understanding of God (temple confrontation), and his nullifying of death (empty tomb). Transformed in this way, they found substantial and sustained footing in the confused and threatening world of their time. As we clearly know, our world is at least as chaotic and frightening as theirs was and our need for direction in our lives as imperative. In this class, using the Gospel of Mark as a guide, we will revisit these same basic life-of-Jesus events afresh and try to understand and re-capture what so emboldened those early Christians.

Ron received his doctorate from the Graduate Theological Union (1977) in New Testament studies. He has lectured at the CT Association for Jungian Psychology, the Jungian Assoc. of Western MA, the Temenos Institute and ran a seminar on Practical Theology at Yale Divinity School. He has published several articles in the Living Pulpit, applying Jungian insight to Biblical subjects, and has been an annual lecturer at the NNESRE. Having worked as an interim minister in Connecticut for 23 years, Ron now "enjoys" retirement as he and his wife, own, work, and live on a sheep farm in upstate New York.

Mindfulness  –  Jo Bentley

Mindfulness Based Compassionate Living (MBCL) is a recently formed introduction to mindfulness programs and focuses on growing self-compassion and compassion for others.

This course is suitable for those who have taken my previous courses and also those new to mindfulness; it will specifically focus on growing compassion, which is not only good for others but also for our own well- being and let’s be honest — something the world needs more of! However, please don't think that there has to be something troubling you to benefit from learning mindfulness; it is beneficial for all of us and can bring about greater feelings of calm and happiness, allowing us to get more out of all our moments. The class is suitable for older teenagers and as much of my work in the UK is with teenagers; should the group include them, I will incorporate shorter practices which are suitable for young people.

Jo has been teaching and training in mindfulness based programs for the last 6 years, working with adults and young people (12 years+), delivering training which supports individuals to be fully present to their lives, to access greater feelings of calm and happiness, and to learn self-development skills — of clinically proven benefit — for dealing with depression, stress, anxiety and a range of medical conditions. Her work has been featured on British national TV and radio and, increasingly, she is working with local authorities on bringing mindfulness into education, business and health services.

—    Personal Development    —

Videography And The Art Of The Story...  –  Fran Sylvestri

Building upon last year's photography class where we chronicled a "Day in the Life of Winni," this year will focus on hearing the stories of Winni by using our camcorders, webcams, flip phones, iPhones or whatever device you have that can record and video our NNESRE community. We will discuss how to inspire storytelling from interviewees, how to video them in the most artistic fashion, and how to create the NNESRE story out of all these mini-stories. Join us as will help to build the Winni Archive of memories to be enjoyed by generations to come.

The class will focus on completing six projects: interviews with six individuals who have a long history of attending Winni, have experienced its growth and  changes during several decades and have benefited  from being part of the Winni family. To accomplish these interviews, we need the following: 

  • Photographers who enjoy portraiture 
  • Videographers who are willing to document the full interviews and if you have editing capability great, but not necessary 
  • Young Interviewers who will work alone or in small teams to conduct the interviews. 

This will be quite a bit of fun and a chance to be  engaged and capture Winni history. We will share our  knowledge and skills of photography, videography and  basic journalism to prepare for the interviews. The best  part, we will make it all happen through working and  learning together. 

Fran divides his time between Auckland, New Zealand, New Hampshire and Maine. An Italian American born west of Boston, he shifted from oil painting to photography in the early 70’s. He has travelled widely, including spending time in his ancestral home outside of Rome, Italy.

Known mostly for his black and white photography, Fran works in a variety of formats. He most enjoys taking photographs in fog, rain, wind and snowstorms, exploring ways in which the weather intensifies the emotional impact of the image.

Capturing Treasures – Creating Memories  –  Travis Leap

This course will be an overview of various photographic topics including the philosophy of photography, development of the “photographic eye,” basic camera operation and technique, and post-processing. Participants are encouraged to engage in simple projects and share their results during class. I also plan to offer at least two photo excursions: a sunset shoot and an astrophotography shoot.

This class naturally lends itself to the inclusion/engagement of teens, as it lends itself to social trends and relevant technology. This is a hands on class! The photo excursions will also give them a chance to participate outside of the normal class time.

Travis is an elementary music teacher by day and a photographer by night — or at least evenings and weekends. A few years ago, he picked up a camera in hopes of photographing his family. That hobby quickly grew into a second job! He enjoys various types of photography, ranging from portraits to remote landscapes. Travis is constantly expanding his knowledge on the topic and greatly enjoys sharing everything he learns!

Breakthrough Songwriting  –  Lindy Hearne & Lynn Adler

Using the songwriting process as a kind of 'song  therapy' to work on a life problem or challenge, to celebrate a joy, to express love, to wonder about a  mystery, to inspire personal change, or to simply get outside your comfort zone and try your hand at something you've never tried before. Our goal is to help others experience the release and energy that can come from taking something that's been working on them on the inside, and finding a meaningful way to express it in song. No instruments needed or required but if they help you with your writing and you have  them, bring them!  

Lindy & Lynn are the national touring, performing-songwriting duo Adler & Hearne. The two met in Nashville while on solo musical journeys. Years later their paths merged in Texas, and the couple now hails from Texas’ Upper East Side where they reside at their Spring Hollow Organic Song Farm outside the rural arts hamlet of Winnsboro. The two are award- winning performing songwriters, who also teach voice, guitar and songwriting. They share a love of helping others write, sing and play their own songs in the world. To learn more, visit them at

Work Out for the Ages  –  Susan Nisson & Melissa Goldstein

Let’s work out the Winni Way—no equipment, no weights, working out off the land we love (with Susan Nisson, 57, & future daughter-in-law, Melissa Goldstein, 26).

Let’s work out for one hour a day off the land that we love and our own body weight. Every day will be a different profile of workouts to show you how to move effectively for your own style, pace and level. We will have discussions on nutrition and diet as well, so bring your questions. We will do one day of water aerobics, which is easy on the joints, so you will need a bathing suit. Mandatory are sneakers, a bottle of water, and a towel!  These work outs are intended for anyone that  would like to learn how to work out if you have little experience with fitness or for the hard-core gym rats. 

Susan has been a fitness instructor for 35 years in various arenas at the gym such as weight training, kick boxing, water aerobics, spinning, and personal training. 

Milissa has her Bachelor’s degree in Athletic training/ sports medicine and her Master’s in Nutrition with a concentration in nutrition and exercise physiology. She is also a certified personal trainer.  


International Folk Dance: New and Improved!  –  Barb Siftar & Bari Prince

Barb and Bari will be co-teaching international folk dances new to the current Winni experience. The material will vary in style and be from many regions, mostly around Europe and the Near East. Even though these dances will be more complex than the evening Barn Dance material, all will be taught step by step and there will be time to repeat over the course of the week. If a core of people learn them we might be able to use some at the evening Barn Dance. Join us in exercising your body, brain, ears and heart in this joyous expression of community.

Dress in comfortable layers, wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle and come share your treasures on the dance floor.

Barb has been the Folk Dance leader at NNESRE for over 15 years and on staff at the Eastern Cooperative Recreation School where she has led singing and folk dance for many years. She specializes in intergenerational beginner groups and sometimes can be found singing!

Bari is a dancer and dance instructor with a background in multiple dance forms including Israeli and International Folk. She has taught dance to preschoolers through adults in a variety of settings and can always be found dancing!

Woodcarving with Reinaldo

Let me help you access the woodcarver in you! I teach a mostly non-electric, sustainably inspired wood spoon carving class. Below are all that happens in class during the week: wood identification, understanding wood grain, safety, knife and tool sharpening, sculpting, whittling, sawing, splitting, carving and finishing.

Wood and tools are provided! What you could bring, if possible: comfortable work gloves; tools: hook, knives, gouges, hand saw, to share if possible; and all are encouraged to bring wood  that you personally want to work on or share.

Bringing utility and beauty out of a piece of wood once considered dead and, at best, en route to the wood stove, is honoring it!

Reinaldo Cruz is an artist, woodworker and permaculturalist that combines these disciplines when carving functional art (spoons, cutting boards, walking staffs, benches). He enjoys carving in public to spread the joy of this artform and collect new interested students for workshops and private instruction. Reinaldo is a Certified Permaculture Designer and is the co‐founder/owner of La Montana Mariposa Finca Organica, a 7-acre sustainable agriculture and reforestation project in Utuado, PR; He hopes to continue to develop the Finca through educational eco-retreats.

Yoga  –  Jennifer Brosious

Yoga as currently taught runs a really wide gamut — I will be teaching a class that is as inclusive as I am able to (in 55 minutes!) — starting with centering, basic instructions plus variations available for those who want to physically challenge themselves further, and closing with a brief meditation. 

Also, if there is sufficient interest and/or need, I would be willing to do a single session in chair yoga — how to adapt basic yoga postures to be done while seated and using a chair to aid in balance. This would be offered at a separate time. It would be helpful if those interested would email me ahead of time: jbrosious [at symbol] 

If you have them, please bring: yoga mats and props (and extras to lend if they've got them), and please be sure names are on them! I will be bringing some mats and props, but it's often not quite enough. 

Namaste, the light within me recognizes and honors the light within you. 

Jennifer has been attending Winni since the mid-60s. She is the co-owner of and yoga instructor at Your Community Yoga Center in Hamden, Ct. She is a graduate of the YogaSpirit® Studios (Iyengar-based) 200-hour yoga teacher training as well as an advanced 500-hour tantric hatha yoga certification in Teaching Deeper Practices: In the Lineage of ParaYoga®.

—    Other    —

Dean’s Drop In: Sharing The Treasures Of Winni  –  Bill + Joann Milford

The Dean’s Drop In is an informal gathering during 3rd period around conversational topics. Building on last year’s reflection of our Centennial, we will continue to talk about the impact that communities, and particularly the history of NNESRE at Winni, has had upon attendees in shaping our own values and redefining what we consider to be treasure – and how that influences our lives, beliefs, and politics during the year.