R-P Community Education offers lifelong learning opportunities

Submitted Photo Sue Hoff along with Hoff Funeral Home’s therapy dog, Charlie, recently visited Kids Club, part of Rushford-Peterson Community Education.
By : 
Chad Smith
Tri-County Record

Rushford Peterson Valley residents don’t need to be youngsters to continue learning. The Rushford-Peterson Community Education Program engages learners of all ages with a year-round calendar. 

R-P Community Education Director Lisa Lawston said their goal is to get everyone in the community involved in lifelong learning.

“It could be from babies that have just been born in our early childhood family education classes, up to preschool programs that we offer, which can be an especially big deal for new families just moving into the community,” Lawston said. “Through the school year, we have Kids Club, which is our school-age childcare after school is over for the day. We also offer that in the summer. There are also youth enrichment activities, which include everything from dance to voice lessons, as well as different kinds of camps like Lego Camp and Science Camp, as well as lots of other fun things.”

The Community Education Office also runs the Summer Recreation Programs, which includes sports like baseball, softball and soccer. During the spring soccer program, 109 kids signed up to participate, one of the highest turnouts in recent memory. “We also have programs during the school year like flag football, youth tackle football, volleyball, and basketball for kids ages preschool and up,” Lawston said. 

“All of the things I’ve mentioned doesn’t include the adult enrichment activities we do throughout the year,” Lawston added. “With our adults, we partner with our area communities like Winona, La Crescent, Caledonia, and Houston, to offer trips to places like Canterbury Downs and the Mall of America, just to name a couple.”

R-P Community Ed offers several exercise classes for adults, including water aerobics in the summer, as well as activities like yoga and zumba during the school year. 

They do try to offer a variety of adult educational classes. For example, they just finished a classes on straw bale gardening and drivers’ improvement.

Lawston says she reaches out to local businesses as partners in offering more specialized classes. “We’ve partnered with Root River Floral for things like flower arrangement classes, and with Hoff Funeral Home to offer different funeral pre-planning classes too. 

“We also run Horizons, which is a program for adults with disabilities,” she said, “and that’s a collaborative effort with other school districts, including Fillmore Central, Kingsland, and Chatfield. We publish a newsletter about the different activities we offer, and we are always looking for new ideas. We also need more people to help facilitate some of our events.”

Lawston admits there’s a lot going on, and making things run seamlessly requires a lot of background work. “Most [people] doesn’t see all the little mice running around in the background,” she laughed.

 The extra space afforded by the new school building has also allowed Community Education to offer even more learning opportunities to the public.

“People can most likely still sign up for a good number of the summer programs if they haven’t done so yet,” Lawston said. “Not so for the traveling ball clubs as that signup deadline was in June. If someone wants to come to something like our soccer program, absolutely, come on in. Unless the instructor in a certain class or program has a limited number of spots, we’ll try to make something happen.

“Some of our programs are still growing,” Lawston added. “For example, our horse camp started off with one camp every summer. It jumped to three different camps every summer and now, another one is coming up in August, so it’s up to four horse camps.”

Because of the growing interest in soccer, Lawston said Community Ed will be offering a soccer camp this summer for the first time. Youth golf is another sport that’s seeing growing interest. She usually gets the summer program information out every April to let the public know what will be coming up in a particular year. They’re also looking for people to teach new classes and she loves to get new ideas from the public. 

Interested people will find more information on Community Education programming at www.r-pschools.com and then click on the Community Education Tab.