Purpose and History


The purpose of BALL is to offer learning opportunities for Members of BALL by providing lectures on a variety of subjects in a non-academic environment.

We strive to offer lectures that provide cultural and creative experiences in historical, scientific, current and contemporary subjects, which are relevant and meaningful to adults.


The organization to be known as BALL (Bluewater Association For Lifelong Learning) was originally organized by a steering committee in June, 1999. BALL grew out of the need to further develop lifelong learning opportunities from an existing organization called “In Search of Learning”.

Eva Schwartzentruber was the driving force behind BALL and the initial committee was made up of the following people with Eva as Chair: Betty Giuliano, Rose Hall, Nancy King, Edna Burri, June Cullen, Milt Schwartzentruber, Mike Traynor, Doug Keeling, Ken Barker, Don Willmott, Glenys Stow and Verona Jackson.

The idea was to offer stimulating lectures to older adults that gave them an opportunity to continue the learning process in a friendly environment and act as a social gathering place which offered something more than just an academic setting.

In the spring of 2000, a formal slate of officers was established at the first Annual General Meeting which served as the first official Board of Directors. The names and positions of these founding board members are as follows:

Eva Schwartzentruber, Chair
Ken Barker, Vice Chair
Betty Giuliano, Secretary
Rose Hall, Treasurer
Doug Keeling, Registrar
Nancy King, Program Chair
Edna Burri, Promotion Chair
June Cullen, Social Chair
Glenys Stow, Member at Large
Don Willmott, Member at Large
Chuck O’Hearn, Member at Large
Milt Schwartzentruber, Member at Large
In the early days Board meetings were held in a variety of locations including:
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Owen Sound Family Y, Senior Centre – Harrison Park, Division Street United Church and finally to where current Board and committee meetings are held – The McQuay Tannery Seniors’ Centre.

In 1999, it was the International Year of the Older Person ( IYOP) and one of the first events coordinated through BALL with IYOP was to have Mr. Don Harron as a guest speaker. Funds raised from this event were used to get the first season of BALL started.

The first series to be offered to members was, “Writing Your Life Story”, presented by Glenys Stow, which was offered over two sessions to an audience of about 24 people, with a waiting list, in 1999. By the end of the first year, 1999-2000, there were 243 registered members at BALL.

As BALL developed their programs and became more popular, the BALL logo was established, developed by Eva Schwartzentruber’s daughter-in-law, Margaret Kyle, who was Art Director for Wood Lake Books in Winfield, BC. It is still being used today and is well recognized throughout the community.

More than just lecture series were developed through BALL. An organization, coordinated by Joan Skelton, called BOLT (Bluewater Organization of Learning and Travel), was established which developed travel opportunities – the first of which was to Spain in 2002.

BALL has continued to grow and with the help of many volunteers over the years has offered a range of excellent lectures, interesting bus and field trips, and special guest lecturers which has continued to strengthen this organization from its early days. We now boast membership in excess of 450 members.

When Covid 19 arrived, we had to cancel the last of the 2019-2020 lecture series at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. But beginning in September 2020 we have scheduled our BALL lectures as on-line Zoom Webinars. These arrangements may change as the Covid 19 restrictions change.