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Looking on the Bright Side: Joy, Peace and Lots of Laughter

Program Number: 8553RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/19/2015 - 4/24/2015; 4/10/2016 - 4/15/2016; 5/1/2016 - 5/6/2016; 5/22/2016 - 5/27/2016; 8/28/2016 - 9/2/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/23/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/23/2016 - 10/28/2016; 11/6/2016 - 11/11/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Potosi, Missouri
Price starting at: $595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Health & Fitness
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

Join a week of feel-good fun that will make you laugh out loud as you learn to find humor in everyday life while playing some of the games you loved as a kid. Chuckle as we sample the works of hilarious authors like Erma Bombeck, take the opportunity to journal your own "best of times," and have a wonderful fun time while learning about music, singing and gaining insight on the Ozark humor and heritage. Explore the lovely campus of the Trout Lodge along its paved paths while you celebrate life and immerse yourself in the healing power of laughter.


• Take a field trip to Maramec Spring Park to learn about its 100 million-gallon-per-day spring.
• Taste wines at the Peaceful Bend Winery and explore its cellar for an overview of the wine making process.
• Enjoy different activities such as arts and crafts, mini-golf, a pontoon boat ride and much more!

Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing.

Coordinated by YMCA of Greater St. Louis/Trout Lodge.


The Eastern Ozarks are defined as much by its history and culture as by geology, geography and landscapes. Potosi is one of several rural communities in this region of clear streams, big springs and pastoral scenery. Gently rolling hills, deep valleys and plateaus are home to small farms and an abundance of wineries which dot the countryside.

Conference center with comfortable lodge-style rooms that have a lake-view.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Rick Key

Rick Key has had a passion for music as long as he can remember. At an early age, he began tackling a wide array of musical instruments —accordion, clarinet, guitar, bass guitar, mandolin and harmonica. He eventually set his sights on playing the violin, but with a catch: He wanted to play it left-handed. This desire led to Rick teaching himself how to build his own violin, and that prompted his lifelong passion for fiddle making.
Judy Johnson

Judy Johnson spent 35 years teaching in the public school system. Along with teaching reading, English and adult GED programs, she taught journalism and advised on the student newspaper. Her papers took many top honors. She has a master's degree in English from the University of Missouri.
Shanna Babiak

Shanna Babiak came west from the East Coast to join the YMCA of the Ozarks team as a Trout Lodge program director. She has been with the YMCA for a dozen years. Shanna earned a bachelor’s in Geo Earth Systems and is passionate about sharing her love for the outdoors and educating others.
Meals and Lodgings
   YMCA Trout Lodge
  Potosi, MO 5 nights
 YMCA Trout Lodge
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Modern hotel style room with patio or balcony overlooking Sunnen Lake. Property has Wi-Fi.
  Contact info: 13528 State Hwy AA
Potosi, MO 63664 USA
phone: 314-241-9622
  Room amenities: Guest controlled heat and air condition. Balcony or patio overlooking Sunnen Lake.
  Facility amenities: Wi-Fi available in most areas of property. Laundry is also available
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $65 per person special rate. Additional nights include 3 meals in our dining room and most Trout Lodge activities.
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: $65 per person special rate. Additional nights include 3 meals in our dining room and most Trout Lodge activities.
  Check out time: 11:30 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in at 3:30 pm in the Lodge, Main Lobby. You will be staying at YMCA Trout Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
After lunch. Check out is 11:30 am. You will be staying at YMCA Trout Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free Parking. Located up a small hill from the lodge. Handicap parking is available in the front drive.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Potosi, MO
  Nearest city or town:  Potosi, MO
  Nearest highway: MO State Hwy AA
  Nearest airport:  Lambert International (STL)
  From End of Program
  Location: Potosi, MO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

St. Louis


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
YMCA Trout Lodge
phone: 573-438-2154
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$40 per person / $65 per couple round-trip
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 - 2 depending on traffic 


Shuttle is run by YMCA Trout Lodge. Sign up form is sent out with Health Forms approximately 6 weeks before arrival. Current pick up times are: 1:30pm St. Louis Airport (Terminal 1) 1:45pm St. Louis Airport (Terminal 2) 2:30pm St. Louis Downtown Amtrak Station Return at end of program is approximately 2:00pm at airport and 2:45pm at train station.

Driving Directions
  Greater St. Louis Follow I-70 West to I-270 South. I-270 South to State Hwy 21 South. Follow 21 South to the town of Potosi. Turn right onto State Hwy 8. Follow 8 through town and continue for 10 miles. Turn right onto State Hwy AA. Main entrance to YMCA of the Ozarks is about 2 miles on the right.
Elevation Note: Elevation ranges from 800 - 1100 feet

Equipment Requirements: Bring a spirit that is ready for some fun!!
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and Check-in / Orientation / Welcome Dinner / Getting to Know You
(Sunday, April 19)

Note: Arrive and check in beginning at 3:30pm. Fruit basket at registration table.

 Afternoon: Check-in: Available from 3:30 p.m.

Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. Help yourself to the fruit basket! If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check-in.

Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have.

Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, or activities. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own.
 Dinner: In the Trout Lodge dining room, enjoy a buffet with a choice of two soups, salad bar, choice of two entrées, assorted side dishes, and dessert bar plus juice, milk, soda, coffee, tea, water.
 Evening: Continue getting to know instructors and fellow participants as we enjoy an evening snack with decaf coffee and tea.
Accommodations: YMCA Trout Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Humorous Authors and Distractions from Daily Life / Humor and Music / Explore Trout Lodge / Wine Tasting
(Monday, April 20)

Note: Low activity level.

 Breakfast: In the dining room, our hot buffet breakfast varies daily with selections such as omelettes, biscuits and gravy, bacon or sausage, pancakes or French toast, fresh fruit, breads, cereals, and pastries plus juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.
 Morning: The first of our two sessions this morning is led by Sylvia Duncan, an essayist, poet, and short story writer who has had her work published in local and national publications including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sylvia will focus on humorous authors.

We’ll have a short break between classes, with fruit, coffee and water available during both sessions.

Judy Johnson leads our second morning session that involves class participation in humorous activities. Judy learned much of what she knows about humor from teaching 35 years in the public school system!
 Lunch: In the dining room, the lunch menu varies with soup, salad bar, and a hot dish plus juice, milk, soda, coffee, tea, water
 Afternoon: This afternoon we’ll explore humor and music with Rick Key. His passion for music at an early age led him to learn and play a startling number of instruments — including a left-handed violin! The session includes film clips and discussion.

Next, we’ll have a bus excursion to experience the beauty of Trout Lodge, with short walks to points of interest. Situated on a 360-acre lake, Trout Lodge is surrounded by 5,200 acres of forest-covered hills. You will also have free time to explore on your own.
 Dinner: In the dining room.
 Evening: From earliest recorded history, good wine and good humor have been good companions. We’ll be joined by representatives from a local vineyard who will introduce the tastes of their fully Missouri-made wine and tell you about their wine-making process.
Accommodations: YMCA Trout Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Humor in Writing / Silliness, Amusements and Diversions / Maramec Spring Park and Peaceful Bend Vineyard Field Trips / Music and History of the Ozarks
(Tuesday, April 21)

Note: Field trips include walking on sidewalks and gravel pathways.

 Breakfast: In the dining room.
 Morning: It’s another morning of the Sylvia and Judy Show, with Sylvia focusing on humor in writing followed by silliness, amusements, and diversions with Judy. Coffee, tea, and water available during class.
 Lunch: In the dining room.
 Afternoon: We’ll take a field trip to Maramec Spring Park, which boasts the fifth largest natural spring in Missouri. Learn about the spring from a park naturalist. We’ll also recall the iron works based there in the late 1800's and early 1900's, through a museum and remaining historical markers.

Next, we’ll head to Peaceful Bend Vineyard to see the wine-making process and machinery and learn from the experts. Plus an opportunity to taste the wine!
 Dinner: In the dining room.
 Evening: At the lodge, we'll see a film about the music and history of the Ozark region. Popcorn provided!
Accommodations: YMCA Trout Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Parody, Poetry and Satire / Interactive Silliness / Violins and a Luthier / Nature Hike / Evening Tea
(Wednesday, April 22)

Note: Gradual hills and some rocky terrain on nature hike; bring appropriate footwear.

 Breakfast: In the dining room.
 Morning: Parody: the deliberately exaggerated imitation of a well-known person, literary or musical work for comic effect. Poetry: words consciously chosen and arranged for their meaning and the effect caused by the sound and rhythm of words that may or may not rhyme. Satire: a technique used to highlight the follies and foibles of humanity. Sylvia gives examples and weaves them all together.

Judy ends the morning with us outside (weather permitting) as groups of participants mix, mingle, and get silly together.
 Lunch: In the dining room.
 Afternoon: See how violins are made as Rick Key shares his luthier skills and expertise.

Then, “mens sana in corpore sano” — a sound mind in a sound body! Led by an outdoor expert, we’ll take a mile-long hike on well-kept Trout Lodge nature trails.
 Dinner: In the dining room.
 Evening: In other lands, “tea” has long been used to describe not only the beverage made from tea leaves, but also a meal or snack that encourages sociability. We’ll have Evening Tea with scones, coffee, and of course, tea. Relax and enjoy spending time with new Road Scholar friends.
Accommodations: YMCA Trout Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Finishing Mark Twain / Newspaper Fashion Show / Karaoke / Ice Cream Social
(Thursday, April 23)

Note: The pontoon boat is open-air, with comfortable seating.

 Breakfast: In the dining room.
 Morning: Learn about fascinating aspects of local boy Mark Twain with Sylvia, hear an unfinished story, and then have fun finishing it yourself.

Judy then gets our creative juices flowing with a newspaper fashion show. Create a costume entirely made out of newspaper, and craft a story for your character.
 Lunch: In the dining room.
 Afternoon: Karaoke! Don't worry about knowing the lyrics, the screen shows you the words. Sing alone or together. Singing along with words on a screen first became popular nationally in the U.S. with the 1960s musical show called, appropriately, “Sing Along With Mitch.” The first actual karaoke machine appeared in Japan in the early 1970s and quickly spread through Asia and the western world.

Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You might like to see more of the Trout Lodge grounds and facilities including taking a pontoon boat ride on Sunnen Lake.
 Dinner: In the dining room.
 Evening: Spend a delightful last evening together as a group with an ice cream social and all the fixings. Road Scholar Passport stickers will be available.
Accommodations: YMCA Trout Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sylvia, Judy and Rick Wrap Up / Program Concludes
(Friday, April 24)

Note: Check out time is by 11:30 a. m. Box lunches (for an additional fee) will be available for those who wish to depart as soon as class is over. Please check with the Group Leader if you'd like to stay longer after the program concludes.

 Breakfast: In the dining room.
 Morning: We’ll round out “Looking on the Bright Side” with three 45-minute sessions. Sylvia leaders a trip through history with best-selling books from 1900 to today. Judy offers brain teasers and playful state mottos. Rick wraps up teaching everyone how to play an instrument.
 Lunch: In the dining room. This concludes our program.

Participants are welcome to stay and utilize Trout Lodge facilities and activities this afternoon.

We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Potosi, MO YMCA Trout Lodge
Full use of YMCA Trout Lodge. Includes boathouse, fishing, hiking, tennis, golf, mini-golf, lake swimming, Arts and Crafts, horseback riding and climbing towers. Some may require an additional fee. For additional information, visit
  Elephant Rocks
The giant elephant-shaped granite boulders are the star at Elephant Rocks State Park. The coarsely crystalline red granite forms are popular with history buffs (who like to read the names of the 19th century miners who used to work in the area and who carved their names into rocks), children (who love to climb and scramble over and through the rocks) and parents (who revel in taking pictures of their children pretending to push the rocks). The park has a trail that winds through the rocks, which is an interpretative Braille trail. Abundant picnic areas and vibrant fall colors add to the park’s appeal. For additional information, visit
  Johnson Shut-ins
Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River. Shoot through Mother Nature’s hydraulics in the shut-ins. Hike a trail that will show you 1.4 billion years of geologic history. Take your horse on a pretty mountain trail. Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is a jewel of the system, a place with something for everyone: pretty picnic areas, Ozark landscapes, natural places to swim, great campsites. For additional information, visit
  Fort Davidson
Fort Davidson (at the base of the lookout, Pilot Knob Mountain) was a strong defensive position: hexagonal walls nine feet high and ten feet thick, surrounded by a dry moat nine feet deep. Two long rifle pits ran out from the walls and a reinforced board fence topped the earthworks. Access to the fort was through a drawbridge on the southeastern corner of the structure. In September of 1864, Fort Davidson became the scene of one of the bloodiest and most important battles of the Civil War in Missouri . . . the Battle of Pilot Knob. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

If life is bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?

Author: Emma Bombeck

The signet book of American humor

Author: Regina Barreca

Leaving Home

Author: Garrison Keillor

The English comic characters

Author: J.B. Priestley

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