Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) offer a way to pursue shared interests with other OLLI members. When we are able to gather in person Special Interest Groups meet on a regular schedule, weekly to monthly, according to the needs of the group. During the pandemic, some SIGs have continued to meet virtually, while many have suspended meetings.  If you are interested in any particular SIG, please contact the coordinator to learn more.

To propose a new Special Interest Group

Review the guidelines and the SIG proposal process, then complete a Special Interest Group  proposal form and return the completed proposal form to the Reuter Center office.  Current SIG coordinators may download a SIG Membership form and download a SIG Attendance form.

Current Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

To join a Special Interest Group, please contact the person listed as the SIG contact. Please note that meeting times are listed for times when we are able to gather face-to-face and that many groups have suspended their operations.  Contact the listed coordinator to find out how each group is operating.

  • Aging in Place (aka: Thriving in Community)-Varied Thursdays, times vary. SIG contact: Meridith Miller at mlmiller1020@gmail.com. This group hopes to provide information and resources for members interested in creating the support needed within their homes and neighborhood so they can “age in place” and thrive in the second half of life.
  • Apple SIG—second Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m. SIG contact: Paula Withrow, 828.350.8406, pvwithrow@aol.com or Bob Mellor, 828.253.5031, bob.mellor@charter.net  Provides a community for continued learning, problem solving and information sharing pertaining to Mac, its applications and hardware, useful websites, and associated mobile devices. All experience levels are welcome.
  • Art – Fridays, 1-4 p.m. SIG contact: Janet Richardson, 828.772.9660, janetdunphy@mac.com   A group of artists of all disciplines who meet once a week in the Reuter Center art studio-Room 230- to produce their art. The purpose is to inspire each other, help with new ideas and to keep us from being isolated while doing our artwork.
  • Beer on Tap-second Wednesdays, 4:30 p.m. SIG contact: Erik Vedeler erik.vedeler@hotmail.com  We live in a Beer City, so let’s explore all the new beer tastings and new locations and events in and around Asheville! Singles encouraged to attend. This is a participatory SIG with each member hosting and choosing a venue for monthly meetings.
  • Bridge Buddies—Tuesdays, 2-5 p.m. SIG contact: A group of intermediate bridge players who play with bidding boxes to eliminate such requests as, “what did you bid?” Members share in the management of the group (organizing materials, setting-up, and dismantling at the end of play). For information contact: Bruce Saidman at bcns422@gmail.com or (954)547-0439.
  • Bridge for Fun–Wednesdays, 2-5 p.m. Meets off-site at North Asheville Recreation Center located at 37 E. Larchmont Ave., Asheville. SIG contact:  Patricia Grace 828.505.0046, pegrace@vt.edu or Anne Challen, 828-333-2227, annechallen@att.net. This SIG is for those of us who prefer to emphasize the social and fun aspects of the game while still improving our bridge skills.  The atmosphere of the group is meant to be relaxed with a comfortable level of competition. Participants should be able to play at the experienced beginner or intermediate level.  Members will be asked to share in the management of the group (organizing materials, setting-up, and dismantling at the end of play.)
  • Bridge Grads—Thursdays, 2-5 p.m. SIG contact: Kay Harrold, 828.257.4027, karonharrold@gmail.com This SIG provides weekly playing opportunities for graduates  of Bob Evans’ bridge classes at the College for Seniors (Beginning Bridge, Intermediate Bridge, and Play of the Hand). Participants should be able to play at the intermediate level, expect to play in a relaxed atmosphere and to share in the management of the group (organizing materials, setting-up, and dismantling at the end of the group session).
  • Chess Club – First Wednesdays and Third Thursdays, 2:30-4:30 p.m. SIG contact: Christopher Swanson, bahdra108@gmail.com. Get good at chess with friendly games and instruction. Chess sharpens the mind with concentration and critical thinking. All levels are welcome. Beginners can work with experienced members to learn to play. Please note that this group meets off-site.
  • Conversing in Spanish–first and third Wednesdays, 4 p.m., SIG contact: Harv Wechsler, wechsler7@hotmail.com   This SIG will provide a place that students can gather to engage in Spanish conversation in order to sharpen their skills.
  • Dulcimer Players-2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 4 p.m.  SIG contact: Cheryl Chason, cheryl.chasin@gmail.com  The OLLI Dulcimer Players are a group of relatively new players of the mountain dulcimer who have recently completed classes taught at OLLI by Melanie and Mack Johnston.  Anyone who is interested in playing is welcome to join us as we learn new music and practice old tunes.  You’ll need to provide your own instrument and music stand (although stands can certainly be shared).
  • Financial Strategies in Retirement—first Fridays, 1:30 p.m.  SIG contact:  Kate Beatty, 828.231.7710, kkbmom@yahoo.com  This group is geared towards people who already have a basic knowledge of finance and investment strategies and wish to share problems and solutions. The group often invites guest speakers to address concerns identified by our members.  We do not invest as a group, but hope to inform members of opportunities that may interest them. We will also discuss major challenges to financial security in retirement.  Any current member of OLLI is invited to attend any session which may be of interest.
  • Gardening SIG – 2nd Tuesday of the month, 4:15 p.m. SIG contact Marilyn Dishaw, 828-215-3838, ncdishaw@gmail.com. A monthly program from February through October featuring speakers from the local extension service, nurseries and specialty stores. Information on the monthly program is published in the OLLI Observer the Sunday prior to the meeting.
  • The Forum: Dialogue to Challenge Our Thinking. Fridays, 1 p.m.  SIG contact: Beth Johnson, johnson1ea@earthlink.net  A free-flowing dialogue designed to enrich and expand participants’ thinking on topics ranging from Changing Demographics of Retirees to Nuclear Disarmament.
  • Friday Bridge  Fridays, 1:15-4 p.m.  SIG contact: Malcolm Douglas malcolm@gdouglas.org  Gloria Dupree, gnd729@gmail.com  Bridge for fun and camaraderie in a non-competitive setting at the intermediate level.
  • Hiking Club Join the Hiking Club by visiting the website:  OLLIHikingSIG.org Information on the SIG Charter, Guidelines for Members and Hike Leaders, and TIPS for Successful Hiking will be found on the home page.  If you have any questions please contact OLLIHikingSIG@gmail.com or call Marcia at 631-987-7451
  • History Book Lovers -History book lovers are meeting at 1 p.m. on the 3rd  Friday of each month. SIG contact: Mike Wang, 267-243-3011, mbwhome@gmail.com Come join the fun to share beloved books, engage in discussion, and connect with like-minded members around our favorite subject – history!
  • Meditation – 2nd and 4th Mondays, 4:15 p.m.  SIG contact:  Sally Ekaireb beriake@yahoo.com  A guided meditation group for members with prior experience with meditation, it is not a beginner group. Please bring your yoga blanket.
  • Men’s Wisdom Works—Call or email for meeting times. SIG contact: Roger Gilmore, rlg455@hotmail.com. Men hold frank, open, and confidential discussions about issues that impact men during life’s transitions in order to bond and build a social network. Topics include retirement, aging, career change, moving, and many more.
  • Poetry Lovers—Varied Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m.  SIG contact: Lottie Erikson, lottie_erikson@yahoo.com   An informal group of poetry lovers committed to helping one another in developing poetry writing skills. Members are encouraged to present their own poems, or include works by others, to facilitate constructive, supportive critiquing.   Meetings are also open to more general topics of poetry, including discussion of new books, publishing opportunities,  trends and other subjects.  All are welcome to join, whether novice or pro.  The main criterion is love of poetry.
  • Stitch in Time-Meets first Monday of the month, 2-4 p.m.  SIG contact: Gay Lambirth, 281.433.1060, gaylambirth@yahoo.com  This is a fellowship group for stitchers of all types (knitting, crochet, quilting, needlepoint, embroidery, cross stitch, sewing, etc) to help encourage, inspire, and support each other.  All skill levels welcome!
  • Texas Hold’Em Poker—Mondays, 4:15-6 p.m. SIG contact: Bruce Jones, 828.338.0265, bruce_e_jones@yahoo.com  Texas Hold’Em is an exciting fast paced game that is simple to learn and difficult to master.  The group welcomes all levels of players from expert to absolute beginner.  Beginners will be able to work with an experienced player who is well-versed in training new players.
  • Tile Clickers (Mah Jongg)—Wednesdays, 2-5 p.m.  SIG contact: Rosemary Walton, 828.667.8979, rh68@bellsouth.net  Mah Jongg is a game that involves skill, strategy, and calculation, as well as a certain degree of luck. Members play at the Reuter Center with a large set of attractive tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols using the book of Wright-Patterson rules and hands.
  • Travel-the third Friday of the month, 2-4 p.m.  SIG contact: Madan Joshi, 302.528.2697, madanmj1947@gmail.com or Kathleen Gainey, 703.298.8203, Kathleen.m.gainey@outlook.com The aim of this group is to share and solicit information on travel; to share past experiences of travel; to assist individual members’ efforts in planning for independent travel, joining a tour group, or using the services of a travel agent. Also, the group hopes to reach out for travel companions; to discuss pros and cons of traveling alone or with a companion.
  • Whole Foods/Plant-based Living – varied Fridays, 3pm.  In this group we provide information and support for anyone interested in following a more plant based diet along the lines of Drs. Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, John McDougall, Michael Greger, etc. and T. Colin Campbell, PhD. Contact Bonnie Wheeler, 330.321.1360, bonniewhee@gmail.com
  • Wine Tasting II—2nd Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.  We gather to learn about and share an appreciation of the world of wine with a hefty splash of fun.  We meet in each other’s homes with the host choosing and introducing the night’s selections.  After the formal tasting portion of the evening, we share appetizers and continue to explore the vintages on the evening’s menu.  Because we meet in private homes our numbers are limited and, currently, our group is full.  We are happy to place interested members on a wait list.  For more information, please contact Ann Wood at haaz@att.net.the third Sunday, 7 p.m.   SIG contact:  Kathleen Mainardi, 828.633.2119, kkmainardi@gmail.com   Enjoy learning about wines during tastings, discussing food parings, vineyards, local wines, and more in a casual setting.
  • Women’s Group—All OLLI Women’s Groups are currently full; be in touch with the listed contact to put yourself on a wait list. Women participate in non-judgmental sharing, for pleasure, friendship, and mutual enrichment. Topics may include such subjects as: grace; humor; guilt; joy; exploring beliefs about aging; how to say “no”; health; death of loved ones; retirement; working retirement; parenting “old” children; parenting our aging parents; sex in the second fifty years, in-lawing, grand parenting, etc. If interested, contact the group you think you’d like to join: Group #6 contact: Lori Postal, loripostal@gmail.com, meets 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 4:15 p.m. (currently at full membership); Group #8 contact: Noriega Lamar, wallygumpus@mac.com, meets 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 4:15 p.m. (currently at full membership); Group #10 contact: Julia Courtney, jcourt4737@aol.com meets 1st & 3rd Mondays, 4:15 p.m.(currently at full membership); Group #12 contact Alice Higgins AHigg78195@aol.com,  1st & 3rd Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. (currently at full membership).