I come from a family of educators, and believe strongly in lifelong learning. ?Our community has its fair share of traditional schools where one can earn various diplomas and certificates… and when one thinks “education,”?it’s easy to focus on those more career-oriented programs and institutions. ?But?there’s nothing wrong with learning just for fun, and we’ve put together a sampling of the wide variety of?options for doing just that.

Fused Gingerbread House by Nonnie Lyketsos -Photo Credit Harry Seaman-

Fused Gingerbread House by Nonnie Lyketsos – Photo Credit Harry Seaman – courtesy: The Studio at CMoG

You’ve probably visited?the Corning Museum of Glass many times, but did you know that just across its parking lot is The Studio at CMoG? ?The Studio offers everything from simple?Make Your Own Glass?projects to world-class instruction in advanced glassmaking. ?The Fused Gingerbread Houses weekend workshop is perfect for the holidays?and requires no prior experience. ?Just don’t try to eat your creation.

Fencing at 171

Courtesy: 171 Cedar Arts Center

Every time I watch The Princess Bride, I’m reminded of how badly I want to try fencing – one of many diverse offerings at 171 Cedar Arts Center. ?My plan to take that this fall was “foiled” since I missed the deadline, but show me someone who couldn’t benefit from the Holiday De-Stress with Tai Chi Workshop. ?Find their full class listing?here.


And if the Tai Chi Workshop just doesn’t cut it for you, try drinking that stress away with the Classic Scotch – A Whiskey Seminar at Bottles and Corks.



Courtesy: Marich Music

If you’ve always wanted to learn?a musical instrument, Marich Music? has you covered. ?I’ve always thought the ukulele looked pretty fun and non-intimidating.


happy tails

Courtesy: Happy Tails Daycare & Pet Resort

Admit it, you’ve always wanted?your dog to be able to do some cool tricks (or at least stop jumping on guests). ?Happy Tails has both beginning and advanced classes slated to begin on or just following the holidays.


You pass by those AED machines hanging on the wall just about everywhere you go these days, and in the right hands those units can be literal lifesavers. ?Get certified at the Red Cross right here in Corning. ?Their next course is coming up on November 23rd. ?You can get similar training at the Corning Community YMCA?too. ?While it may not be the most “fun” option on this list, it’s perhaps the most valuable.


You’ll find?arts & crafts options aplenty at various Market Street shops:

Wooly Minded

Knitting gathering at Wooly Minded

Wooly Minded?offers all sorts of?knitting and crocheting possibilities, and you can even make your own custom class.


stained glass

Courtesy: Stained Glass Works & Antiques

Stained Glass Works & Antiques?offers four levels of classes where you can learn to make windows, lamps, and even jewelry boxes.


soulshine wine corks

Says Soulshine’s owner, “I have plenty of wine corks to choose from (don’t judge me :P) or bring your own special cork.”

Learn to make custom jewelry at?Soulshine Studio Bead Shop. ?They even offer a class dedicated to?repurposing wine corks.


Finally, Corning Community College has?a full catalog of academics – primarily aimed at career & transfer undergrads. ?But scattered throughout their offerings are some fun classes that just about anyone in the greater community might find of interest.


There’s more than astronomy being taught in the CCC Planetarium – Courtesy: Corning Community College

(*Shameless plug alert) This spring I’ll be teaching?History of Film, Part II (MCOM2710). ?Do you like watching movies? ?Talking about movies? ?Me too. ?How about watching them in comfortable seats, via HD projection with surround sound? ?It’s not quite the Palace Theatre, but close… ?and Part I of the course (which covers the early history of film and is going on now) is not a pre-requisite. ?Registration for the spring 2016 semester opened this week,?and the class?will be offered on Tuesday evenings from 5:10-8:30. ?Students of all ages are welcome – whether you’re enrolled at CCC for any other reason or not, consider taking the class just for fun. ?The Planetarium has plenty of seats, and students are always welcome to bring guests and even snacks. ?Contact me offline if you don’t meet the English Composition pre-requisite but still feel confident about your writing skills. ?I’ve heard the course gets good reviews on ratemyprofessors.com (not that I’ve ever checked or anything…), and seniors (over age 55) can even audit the class for free!

With the holidays upon us, consider that a gift certificate for one of these learning opportunities could make a perfect gift, and is another great way to shop local. ?We’re also sure we haven’t hit on all the great places to enrich yourself and have fun doing it, so if you know of ones we’re missing?share them in the comments.

Dave Rochelle
Dave owns Rochelle Media Works and is a partner at CreAgent Marketing in Corning, NY
Dave Rochelle
Dave Rochelle

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