Lakes Area Unlimited Learning

A recent Lakes Area Unlimited Learning fine dining event.

Members of the group, Lakes Area Unlimited Learning (LAUL), agree that it’s vital to pursue intellectual stimulation after retirement. At the group’s Sept. 30 meeting at the Aitkin Public Library, members reflected on how they came to be part of the group, and why they think it is an asset to the community.

Regular monthly programs and special events in different locations cater to the interests of older adults in the Lakes Area. The group meets mostly at Heartwood Senior Living Community in Crosby. A program committee decides who should be invited to speak, and it’s always a good time, according to members. There are eight monthly sessions (current and recent sessions are listed on the website).

Lynn Foote has been living in Aitkin since the early 1980s, and has been amazed by all the interesting things to see and learn about in the area. There are wonderful stories to hear about people in the area and their life experiences.

Stephanie Goetz has been a seasonal resident of Crosby for many years. The programs are stimulating, interesting, and something Goetz really looks forward to attending. Camaraderie  and just meeting people are some of the things she enjoys about being part of the group.

“Meetings are during the day, which is a bonus for people with aging eyes,” said Goetz.

Karen Wilson has been a member since 2006 or 2007. She met Bob Manning and learned about the group from him.

Diane Hyytinen Lanstad left Aitkin to go to school and then came back to work as a nurse practitioner. She loves being back in Aitkin. Lanstad started going to some Unlimited Learning events at the Hallett Center in Crosby. She thinks it’s important to keep her brain active and keep learning. “This group has an amazing number of connections that result in invitations to renowned speakers, which is so wonderful,” said Lanstad.

About one-third of the registered members are from Aitkin; there are others from all over the area. There is a membership and marketing committee.

It’s a friendly intellectual group that welcomes all perspectives. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month.

The LAUL group is always  looking for speakers who have an interesting story or perspective. Every year the group tries to achieve a balance of topics.

In addition to a slate of monthly speakers, there is an annual fine dining event, a film festival and visits to local points of interest.

Michele Plagman is the webmaster for the group; she posts the events and such on the website: and Lakes Area Unlimited Learning on Facebook.

Contact the group at one of those places if you would like to join, or have an idea for a future speaker.


Topic 1: “Refugees and Global Migration”

Topic 2: “The Middle East: Regional Disorder”

Topic 3: “Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?”

Topic 4: “The Rise of Populism in Europe”

Topic 5: “Decoding U.S. - China Trade”

Topic 6: “Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics”

Topic 7: “The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested”

Topic 8: “State of the State Department and Diplomacy”

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