The Prospects are Excellent: The Third Age Team Reports Phase 1 Findings

third-age-graphic, long windowsLast time, we reviewed the Changemakers’ and Youth Education Project Teams’ Phase 1 Reports. Today’s focus is on the Third Age Team’s findings.

“Third Age?”

Pearson Education identifies “Third Age” as “a period of life often free from parenting and paid work when a more active, independent life is achieved.” A demographic between ages 50 and 75, Third Age is also “sometimes described as the Silent Generation.” The Third Age Project Team has focused on “next steps” for Third Agers, who have raised their kids, are late in their careers, and are yet have retained interest in intellectual and spiritual growth, as well as engaging social change. As the Team found, many Third Agers “seek to engage in social issues do so from a faith foundation.”

The Third Age Programs Team is lead by Trustee Stan Barkey and coached by CI consultant Erika Gregory. Informed by new patterns of retirement and aging, the Team’s research also included interviews with current PSR students who fit this demographic.

Opportunities for developing Third Age programs include areas and fields of:

  • Fundraising (stewardship)
  • Leadership skill development
  • Strategic planning
  • Gift discernment, and
  • Creative worship

Educational models include the membership-based, multi-campus Osher Lifelong Learning programs, as well as Continuing Studies and Extension programs such as Stanford’s, and University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute for Lifelong Learning.

Notably, many PSR Alumni of this age group already participate in the Field Education Program as mentors. MDiv and MA students also come to PSR to prepare for second careers. Short-term, flexible programs in attracting and retaining such students. The Third Age Programs Team recommends strengthening the programming and support for these students. The Team found that in the Osher example, no spiritual or religious education was offered. Through PSR, course offerings to those “who do not attend any local church, but might attend a lecture or participate in an online class or series that addresses a compelling issue” could fill this gap.

Next Steps

The Third Age Team is exploring programming specific to development of “engaged 3rd Age spiritual leaders”, including their potential participation and interest levels. They see PSR as an untapped resource for local ministries, and a place where people come to prepare for second careers.

Focusing on the general public and in-person/offline lectures, the Team is confident that Third Age interest in such programs exists, and that it is possible for PSR to create programs to fill the educational needs of this demographic.

Next up: New Technologies and Organizational Business Model Team reports. Stay tuned…

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