ILR members enjoy field trip excursion

Published 6:40 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You are never too young for a field trip.

Members of the Institute for Learning in Retirement atCopiah-Lincoln Community College were curious as to why Brookhavenis a retirement center. Not only did they find their answer, butthey also took a guided tour of Homeseekers Paradise.

Tuesday morning at the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center, theILR members met with Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of CommerceProgram Director Kay Burton to learn about the qualifications thecity needed to meet to become a certified retirement city.

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The pamphlets Burton handed to the group informed them thatBrookhaven needed to meet 15 criteria to become certified, whichincludes affordable cost of living, low crime rate, recreation,health care, work opportunities, public transportation, volunteeropportunities, airports, tax breaks, low tax rates, libraries,available housing, educational opportunities, town spirit andentertainment.

Brookhaven has been a certified retirement community since1996.

Being a retirement city also provides a boost to Brookhaven’seconomy. Burton said every relocated retiree household toBrookhaven has the economic impact of 3.2 jobs.

“Kind of like a business coming to town,” Kay said. “It’s awin-win for our community.”

The requirements for education and entertainment were certainlymet as the eager participants boarded a bus that made several stopsaround Brookhaven to get a fresh look at the city.

“I’ve been in Brookhaven for years,” ILR member VirginiaAtherton said. “It’s nice to tour around and have a reminder ofwhat’s here.”

Burton gave ILR members a guided tour of some of Brookhaven’shistorical sites. The trip included stops at First Baptist Church,a loft apartment above Snazzies, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce, the Foster-Smith Log Cabin and the Multi-ModalTransportation Facility.

While most members enjoyed learning something new about a citythey thought they really knew, friendship was something that themembers enjoyed most.

“The camaraderie and the fellowship that we have, you becomelike a family,” ILR member Peggy Hawkins said. “We have food, funand family.”

The ILR does more than provide its members with city tours. Theorganization allows senior citizens a way to stay active and tocontinue their education.

“I think the program gives them another opportunity to interactwith other senior citizens and we give them legitimate learningopportunities,” Program Coordinator Marilyn Brown said. “Theprogram gives them an opportunity for growth even though they’remature adults.”

The ILR was established in 1996 and offers a variety ofactivities and programs, which its members help plan andorganize.

Previous activities and events include computer, art and potteryclasses, self-defense and CPR training and a book club.

“When I moved here six years ago, I was a senior and looking forsomething to keep me active and mentally alert,” Hawkins said. “Iwent up to the ILR and I’ve never regretted it.