The richness and diversity of community talent never fail to amaze Helena McCuaig. McCuaig, who oversees curriculum development at Glengarry Encore Education Centre, doesn’t have to look far to find people willing to host workshops or courses.

“People are usually receptive when asked to run a workshop,” says McCuaig. “We get so much support.”

While McCuaig and the seven-member curriculum committee at Glengarry Encore maintain a list of potential topics, sometimes people come to them to offer to teach a course or host a workshop.

Glengarry Encore has offered adult education since it started in 2004 as the Alexandria campus of Cornwall-based Encore Seniors Education. The Alexandria location became independent in 2006 and now manages its own roster of adult-education courses.

From the beginning, Glengarry Encore’s board of directors decided not be age-exclusive. The organization offers adult education, and its courses are not limited to those above a certain age.

“We try to fight the ‘seniors’ label,” says McCuaig.

Programs at Glengarry Encore cover diverse topics: health, crafts, philosophy, travel, home repair, and cooking, among others.

“We have a bit of everything,” says McCuaig. The curriculum committee keeps an eye on newspaper ads, craft shows, and new businesses to find people who might be interested in holding a workshop.

Glengarry Encore holds two semesters of programs, Fall (September to December) and Winter/Spring (January to May.) Participant spaces are limited for most programs and some fill up quickly.

“We’re never sure what’s going to be popular,” says McCuaig. She notes that general computer courses were popular when Encore first started, but now people are looking for more specific training, on iPads and smartphones, for example.

“People come to Glengarry Encore because they’re interested in learning and doing,” says McCuaig. There’s a social aspect, too. New community members develop contacts by attending classes at Encore.

Most programs are held at Glengarry Encore’s location in Glengarry District High School, at 212 Main Street North in Alexandria. On-site visits to wineries or orchards, or hands-on cooking classes, are held at other locations throughout the Glengarry area and beyond.

Program fees start at $10, and depend on the number of sessions in a program and materials involved. Participants also pay a $5 membership fee each semester.

“We keep costs down so more people can access our programming,” says McCuaig. Fees from program registration cover most of Encore’s day-to-day operating costs, including one part-time employee.

Proceeds from Encore’s two successful book projects, A Story in Each of Us: Memories of Glengarry storytellers (2011) and Glengarry My New Home (2013,) currently cover facility rental fees. Grants received from the federal New Horizons for Seniors program have allowed purchases of specific materials, such as desks and computers; grants also assisted in the publication costs for the two books.

The list of fall programs at Glengarry Encore will be available by mid-August. Contact Glengarry Encore at 613-525-1008 or for more information.