Community Education Programs Start June 7. They're Safe. And Fun. And there's Chocolate.

As summer registration approaches for Yavapai College's Verde and Sedona Community Education classes, Verde Associate Dean of Lifelong Learning Linda Shook and OLLI Sedona/Verde Administrator Jennifer Theroux eagerly await the in-person return of OLLI, Community Ed, and College 4 Kids students.

Explore the Community Ed Opportunities

"I look forward to being face-to-face again," Theroux says. Coaxing students back from their Zoom-and-sweatpants cocoons can be a challenge. But Sedona/Verde Campus Comm Ed is doing it with a clever combination of new guidelines, COVID-safe procedures and … chocolate.

An Edible Curriculum

At YC's Sedona Center, "Chocolate Tempering and Dipping," a class taught by Colleen Corson of Gayle's Chocolates, headlines a Comm Ed catalog that runs from the edible ("Wine Tasting," "Assembling a Charcuterie Board" and two cooking skills classes for kids) to the practical ("Microsoft Excel") to the serene ("Drawing the Red Rocks," "Birdwatching," "Tai Chi").

The Sedona/Verde Valley's OLLI program also offers an eclectic, 30-course selection for its members 50 years and older. "It's a diverse lineup, with a lot of music." Theroux says. "We have a Native American flute course – and we will ensure plenty of social distancing since it's one of our breathier classes." OLLI personnel, she says, will be drilling on the latest COVID-safe techniques. "At our facilitator orientations, we will explain YC's COVID-19 protocols and their use in the classroom."

While the aspirational OLLI classes grab a lot of attention, Theroux says the self-development courses always find their following. "Meditation, Yoga and Qi-Gong remain popular," she says. "We also have a course on Yavapai Tribal History, and a film class called, 'Into the Noir.'"

Literary Bootcamp for Kids

This summer, YC's College 4 Kids Program has focused its Verde curriculum to help middle- and high school-aged students develop the writer within. Community Education Director and local novelist Zack Jernigan will host a Writing Bootcamp, helping budding storytellers spin yarns in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Graphic Novel genres.

"Writing Bootcamps seemed like a natural fit because I have experience in publishing and I love talking to kids." Jernigan says. "I've rarely met a kid who doesn't at least want to try writing. Some kids think they're bad at it, and they're usually wrong about that. All it takes is imagination, patience, and a plan."

For students craving less literary pursuits, College 4 Kids is offering classes in subjects like YouTubing, coding and video game design through its online teaching partner, Black Rocket.

"Black Rocket is an amazing partner," Jernigan says. "Whose kid doesn't want to take a class on Game Design, eSports, or Minecraft? We have secured a computer lab classroom on the Verde Campus, to allow parents to drop their kids off with us for online learning."

Summer classes at YC's Verde Valley Campus and Sedona Center begin Monday, June 7, and everyone at both learning centers is excited about their return. "It's time we get students back in here." Shook says. "Chef Barr and I are tired of running into each other in the hallways."