WINCHESTER — Attendees of the 37th annual Conference on Extraordinary Living at Umpqua Community College will have the opportunity Friday to explore a variety of work sessions and exhibits.

Designed for people over 50, the conference aims to provide learning opportunities to meet the needs of baby boomers and seniors in the area.

“The topics that we provide change every year and they change to meet the needs, trends and opportunities for people that are living in retirement,” said Robin VanWinkle, community and workforce education director for UCC. “We always try to focus on areas such as financial needs, health and wellness, legal issues, all those issues that come about when you’re 50 and older.”

After registration and orientation, attendees have the opportunity to visit the 26 vendors in attendance. Exhibits include products, information about retirement living, health and wellness and financial advice.

Pharmacists from the VA Medical Center will be available to assess drug interaction risks for those on medication and Rite Aid Pharmacy will offer flu shots.

Keynote speaker this year is author and musician Don Anderson. Anderson will share his story of using DNA testing and genealogy to find his birth parents.

“I kept notes about finding both mom and dad. A lady that heard me at probably the first time I ever spoke about this made me promise to write a book,” Anderson said. “I realized by the way her response was going that this would probably be a benefit to a lot of people, either adoptees or people that are missing a part of their family tree.”

Anderson said his quest is to be the most accessible person for people that have taken DNA tests and might not understand the results or to help those that have found family members through testing and genealogy to make contact.

“He is a masterful storyteller and he uses it to talk about how we can utilize things like DNA tests and more traditional genealogy practices to be able to track down where we are from,” VanWinkle said.

This year, the conference revolves around the theme journey of discovery.

“Not only is it a play on genealogy, but it is also the idea that we have so much more in our lives to come and what are some things we can learn or what are some areas we are interested in that we can put that passion towards in the future,” VanWinkle said.

Spots are still available, though some workshops are full. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the fee is $40 with lunch provided. Orientation begins at 8:45 a.m.

For information on the conference, call 541-440-4668 or email You can also go online at

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at or 541-957-4218.

(1) comment


It would be nice if this were free. Lots of people can't afford $40 who could use the information. Where does the money go, it looks like the sessions are all done by volunteers giving out free information anyway.

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