The Community Education program at Butler Community College serves our constituents in a variety of ways. Life Enrichment is one of the programs designed to provide activities for the senior citizens of our service communities. Each Tuesday throughout the school year a program is planned for the members to include activities, speakers, and enrichment opportunities. Additional activities may include day trips in Kansas as well as longer trips to various locations throughout the United States. There are approximately 170 members who support this program with their attendance.
The Golden Grizzlies (the college mascot is the grizzly bear) is made up of 30 members of the larger Life Enrichment group who volunteer to provide services to the college and students when the need arises. Occasionally, they have helped with city and K-12 events, but their primary emphasis is in supporting the college. These retired volunteers are willing to do most anything requested of them. Some ways they have helped in the past are in labeling and sorting mass mailings, serving as guides and scorekeepers for the Water Festival (annual science event for K - 8 students), assembling sack lunches for college inservice activities, serving as scorekeepers and timers for the Scholar's Bowl, assembling materials for mailing to 500 full and part-time faculty, helping with special events in the college library, acting as patients for first semester nursing students, sharing their lifetime experiences with both our students and those in K - 12, mentoring young people for Butler 2000 ( a summer program for middle-school at-risk students), serving as host/hostesses for the endowment Banquet honoring scholarship students, and decorating a large Christmas tree which the students greatly enjoy. Two new projects this year directly involved contact with our students. Three weeks after the beginning of the fall semester, the Golden Grizzly Ambassadors called each of the new full-time freshman students to inquire about their experiences and to determine any problems they might be having. This program was a rousing success with the students who feel they have found a school that made the time to make sure that the semester was beginning in a good way for them. The second new activity was to act as greeters the week before the beginning of the spring semester at our largest attendance center as students hurried in to enroll. In the past, the experience of that week had been traumatic for students and staff alike but the addition of this group of pleasant, enthusiastic volunteers helped to make the experience easier for all involved.
Since the beginning of the program the the Golden Grizzlies have volunteered for a total of 71,495 hours. These 40 members have volunteered for a total of 71,495 hours. If these services had been completed by paid staff at a wage of $5.75 per hour, the cost to the college would have been $411,096.25. Besides the financial saving, this program has created a unique relationship between members of the Golden Grizzlies and the students and staff of Butler Community College. As one Golden Grizzly expressed it "I didn't retire to just sit and rock. I want to be productive". Through programs such as this one, both groups have gained mutual respect and friendship for each other. Together we will explore other avenues of cooperation. Butler Community College can't thank these wonderful volunteers enough!