When I was invited to my first Bayside Institute class, I heard ‘Coastal Reef Making’ and had visions of abandoned subway cars plunging off the Indian River Inlet bridge creating new reefs for sea life off the coast. My enthusiasm was not to be squelched when I learned the class was actually Coastal ‘Wreath’ Making.  I slipped into the Health and Aquatic Center, just as the class was getting underway and joined 8-10 Bayside homeowners and friends. Everyone had a station set up with moss wreaths, shells, sea glass, driftwood and other unique coastal pieces. Angie Gillis from Zenful Petals of Berlin, Md.wasour guide for the hour. She had us set up with everything we needed, as well as a beautiful wreath from which to model our own creations.

The room was vibrating with chatter and creativity when I sat down.We settled in with our accoutrements and glue guns, which are flesh burning if you’re not careful! Conversations eased intodiscussions of where people lived in the community,kids, grand kids and house guests descending for the upcoming holiday weekend as well as other Bayside activities on the agenda for the day. As conversations progressed, so did our wreaths. Angie circulated and expertly added finishing touches and assistance as she went. A flower here, a piece of sea glass there, always just the right touch to bring it all together.

It seemed some participants came for the creative aspect of the class. They clearly knew their way around a glue gun and already knew just where their new wreath would hang. Others seemed to relish inthe sociabilityof the event, chatting amiably with old friends while making new ones. This was truly a delightful way to spend an hour. When I polled the group on favorite classes they had taken so far, cooking was the overwhelming favorite. The other resounding favorite of the group was Jen Idzi, Bayside Institute Coordinator. Everyone agreed that her passion for learning, and educating and entertaining others was instrumental in the diverse programming and success of The Bayside Institute.

So, if you haven’t been to a Bayside Institute class yet or it’s been awhile since your last one, it’s time! You can check it all out at www.livebayside.com/bayside-institute. Wait until you hear about Wellness Week! Thanks for the invite Jen and keep up the great work!

Twig Burton