Extension News

New ISU Extension Program Visits Unusual Iowans


How well do you know your neighbors? Iowa State University Extension is providing a peek inside the personal homes and lives of some of Iowa’s most unusual residents.

Through a new partnership between Elderhostel of Boston, Mass., and ISU Extension Community and Economic Development, anyone age 55 or older may participate in an educational travel program entitled “Exploring Unusual Societies: A Touch of History, A Taste of Utopia.” The May 6-12 program will travel through central and southeast Iowa, with hotel lodging and themed dining encapsulating the experiences each day.

The program’s creator and lead instructor is Diane Van Wyngarden, community and economic development specialist for ISU Extension. The program is possible through the work and relationships that Van Wyngarden developed with communities and their residents over several years. “The personal histories and stories of these people are fascinating,” said Van Wyngarden. “Stereotypes shatter over coffee at a kitchen table.”

The program incorporates community history and personal visits with residents, such as Drakesville Old Order Amish, Vedic City Maharishi, Nauvoo Icarians and elders of Amana Church Society. Instruction continues during chartered coach travel, beginning and ending in Pella, Iowa.

Elderhostel programs are all-inclusive. The program’s fee begins at $1,016 and includes six hotel nights, all meals, coach transportation, instructors, materials and even all gratuities. Persons younger than 55 may participate if their traveling companion is 55+.

For more information go to www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/elderhostel/ or contact Van Wyngarden at (641) 682-8324 or dvw@iastate.edu. To register call 800-454-5768 and ask for program number 13032.


Contacts :

Diane Van Wyngarden, Community and Economic Development, (641) 682-8324, dvw@iastate.edu

Del Marks, Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-9807, delmarks@iastate.edu