C.A.L.L. Mental Aerobics

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Central Arizona College’s Lifelong Learners program is offering a series entitled Mental Aerobics designed to keep the mind sharp, promote community, and introduce residents to C.A.L.L.

This series will take place at Central Arizona College’s Corporate Center, located in the former Palm Center at I-10 and Florence Boulevard in Casa Grande.

First on the agenda is Mah Jongg led by Susan Rhoades, the president of the Mission Royale Mahjaholics. The games will take place from 10 a.m.–noon on Feb. 27 and March 5.

A self-deprecating woman who spent 25 years as a regional and national staff person for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Rhoades states she has a bachelor's degree in education and a master’s degree in senior moments.

But the mother of five, grandmother to 11 and great-grandmother to one with one in transit, uses humor to breakdown the unwarranted reputation that Mah Jongg is a challenging game to learn and play.

“Mah Jongg is a Chinese-based game that has this heavy reputation for being difficult and too hard to learn,” Rhoades said. “My main objective is to have fun in this class. True Mah Jongg players learn early on that skill and competition have their place, but luck has a lot to do with how the game goes. Once people figure out that winning isn't Mah Jongg's only gift, they have it made. Of course it helps to have forgiving friends who like to laugh and complain a lot like I do.”

Rhoades will begin her class with the history of Mah Jongg and a variety of tidbits about the game before letting the class embark on its own competition. But to play Mah Jongg, people have to find the joy in the camaraderie it builds.

“The members of my entire family are consummate game players,” Rhoades, who is a member of the National Mah Jongg League, said. “And I have a strong ability to laugh at myself, find joy in the little things, and really take nothing too seriously.”

C.A.L.L. moves from China to Japan on April 2 with Sudoku, a crossword numbers game that has swept across the nation in recent years.

“It was first created and published in New York in the late 1970s,” Vera Walters, the program director for C.A.L.L. who will teach the class, said. “This is a logic-based placement puzzle that keeps the mind active and alert.”

According to Walters, a Sudoku addict, the word means numbers singly.

“It makes sense when you see how to play,” she said. “I will teach participants the methods of the game and some tricks on how to play.”

Beginning March 11, the C.A.L.L. class Games People Play will run for four Tuesday mornings over a five-week period from 9-11 a.m. at the Corporate Center. The class will also meet March 25, April 1 and April 8. Central Arizona College is closed March 17-21 for spring break.

Games People Play will introduce participants to a variety of thinking concepts, including word challenges, number puzzles, mystery logic, and board games. All require skills that are designed to sharpen mental abilities

Both Rhoades and Walters will be on hand to coordinate the class, which will teach new games, revisit old ones, foster new friendships and create lots of laughter.

For more information about the C.A.L.L. program, to sign up for a class, or to receive a current catalog, please contact Vera Walters (480-677-7707 or 520-494-5444, ext. 7707 / vera.walters@centralaz.edu) or Joel Beck (480-677-7721 or 520-494-5444, ext. 7721 / joel.beck@centralaz.edu).

C.A.L.L. is an enrichment program for adult learners of any age without regard to previous education. C.A.L.L. provides its members with a variety of informal, low-cost, high-quality classes, study groups and field trips.

With an unwavering commitment to serving the citizens of Pinal County and the East Valley, anyone can join the C.A.L.L. program for just an $89 annual membership fee – an unbelievable bargain that entitles participants one year of unlimited classes from the date of registration.


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