February Newsletter

CLICK HEREto view as PDF you can PRINT

The Silveridge Sun

Whatever She’s Selling, We’re Buying


Dale Dauten, Syndicated Columnist

You could guess that Sue Arneson had a successful career in sales. She has that infectious energy that makes you want to join in, one of those people you just can’t imagine saying no to. As a girl, she toyed with becoming a nun, and if she had, well maybe everyone at Silveridge would now be Catholic.

Sue Arneson Office


I sat down with Sue to talk about how she came to be the Activities Director at Silveridge and we soon were discussing her past career. For 30 years she worked for a national interior design/decorating company, many of those years as Director of Sales. She had a hundred sales consultants working for her, and became a certified instructor, doing training and recruiting throughout the firm. She says, “The thing I learned in sales that keeps coming back to me is Interest/Enthuse/Date. You have to find what people are interested in, then get them enthused and then set the date, by which I mean that you get a commitment to get started.”

She then went on to explain how she puts that principle to work at Silveridge, describing what transpires when she meets a new resident, exploring their interests, then getting them enthused — by describing how volunteering is the way to get to “know people and know the park” – then figuring out the day they’ll start.

She added, “The volunteers make everything possible. That’s how you become part of the park.” No wonder she has 300 volunteers, happy to pitch in.

With that, Sue pulled out her list of groups and activities. “There are 50 of them – 50! – so if you have interests, you’ll find others to share them with. And that doesn’t include the events, all the boogies, dances, shows and concerts – there are 35 of those this season.”


Next, she picked up a wood carving of a single word that she says fits the philosophy of the Activities team:


In addition to all those volunteers, Sue has an Activities Team: there’s Jill Belcher, Assistant to the Activities Director, William Shelton, who heads setup/prep, and Jerry Colling and Tracy Gagnier, who run the kitchen.

Silveridge Various Activities

Plus, Sue passed along these photos of some of the volunteers who are regular contributors to the Activities Team.

Silveridge Various Activities
Silveridge Various Activities

Pictured are just a few of the 100 and volunteers serving at an event. The kitchen serves at over 70 events throughout the year. Chef Jerry Colling and Head Volunteer Coordinator, Tracy Gagnier pictured on the left.

Silveridge Various Activities

Working on the Newsletter are volunteers from left to right: Jerry Byker, Esther Rusk, Judy Albright, Marjorie Byker and Richard Rusk. This team puts the inserts in the newsletter. Another team collates all inserts ahead of time.

Silveridge Various Activities

These gals cheerfully volunteer in The Activity Office. Pictured from left to right are: Back Row: Annette Viscomi, Marge Ranstrom, Lois Oberg, Nancy Swain, Sandy Kennedy, Linda Huss and Jill Belcher. Front Row: Sharon Beckett, Maxine Flentje, Marge Factor, Sue Arneson and Karilyn Martinsen. Not pictured are Ginny Wander and Cheryl Fowler.

There are many more volunteers, but with limited space not everyone could be pictured.

Currently the Activity Office is handing out the new Business Directories. Please come down and sign for yours. The Activity Office is where you purchase all your tickets, order the Az. Republic, buy stamps, “Lost and Found “and does copies and faxes. Jill types all the messages on Channel 6.

Sue is grateful for the many helpful hands that make the Activity Department run successfully!

But let’s back up, and fill in Sue’s journey to join us at Silveridge.


“I was a farmer’s daughter,” Sue began. “I was the oldest daughter, out of eight kids, and so I became my mother’s right hand, the Second Mom.” This was on a family farm near Highmore, South Dakota. (If you’re thinking that story sounds familiar, our GM, Rhonda Ciacco, was also raised on a farm in South Dakota.)

Sue went to a one-room schoolhouse, all eight grades in that one room, and at home she cleaned chickens and cooked meals. She smiled as she recalled one detail: “I was the baker. We baked every day.” That lasted till the local priest spotted her potential and helped her get a scholarship to go to boarding school, a Catholic high school, four hours away, run by nuns. Then it was off to Northern State College. She says of that time, “I got close to becoming a nun, but met my husband instead.” That’s Jeff, who was in the Air Force, stationed in Grand Forks. They married, moved to Minnesota, Jeff left the military to take a series of police jobs around the Twin Cities area, they had three kids, and soon Sue found her way into sales.

Silveridge Various Activities

(Sue and Jeff with their kids and grandkids)


Sue and her husband, Jeff, made visits from Minnesota to Arizona, and came often to Silveridge. That’s because Sue’s mom, Marjorie, had become a seasonal resident at the park. It wasn’t too long till Sue and Jeff wanted more of Silveridge, and in 2005 bought a place in the park of their own. “Why not? was our thinking. We liked the people and we liked the park.”

Silveridge Various Activities

Then, in 2010, Sue got word that the Activities Director, Donna Ward, had announced that she’d be retiring. Sue had herself been retired a while. and found herself reacting to the news of Donna’s departure by thinking, “I could do that.” Oh, yes, she could. After a year as Donna’s assistant, she took over the Director’s job. Of that decision, Sue said, “It was a good fit. I knew the park and the park is family. I knew this was God’s calling for me for this time.”

How did her husband react to her going back to work? She reports that “Jeff is my number one volunteer.”

They spend the season, from September to April, at Silveridge and then return to their beloved home on Round Lake in Minnesota. This year they’ll be going back to the new pontoon boat they just bought and Sue asked me to include this:

“Jeff and I would like to invite any of our Silveridge family to come for a visit and have a ride in the new boat.”

Silveridge Various Activities

(Round lake at Sunrise)


Last year, Sue undertook the labor-intensive project of creating a book about Silveridge and its residents; she chose the title, The Silveridge Family. That title expresses exactly how she thinks about the park. She says, “My philosophy is find out what people want and give it to them. As we get new residents, I can see the tastes and interests are changing and we’re changing with them.”

And then there are all those clubs and activities: “We just had a Club Expo and nearly 300 people showed up to have breakfast and to see what clubs they might want to explore.” And that’s all it takes – if you have an interest, Sue will get you enthused and set a date to get you started.


Given our special feature on Sue Arneson, we don’t have her usual “Message”, but click here for a PDF copy of her monthly printed edition of the Sun.

Our sister park is having a big car show in February… please plan to come…

Silveridge Various Activities



Silveridge Various Activities

From left: Allan LePoudre-Secretary; Gail Caraca-Treasurer; Gary LaValley-president; Julie Erickson and Larry DeMarchi- joint Vice Presidents. Marcy LaValley will be the new communications officer. We are now over 160 members.


Silveridge Various Activities

The Computer room has new desks and monitors. Check online for class schedules or check the computer boards across from the Activity Office. Pictured are Jim Copeland and Vail Williams


Empire Communications has been chosen as our exclusive provider for Direct TV. Instead of simply getting installers sent out from an out-of-town office, we get personal attention from Empire, nearby in Mesa.

The folks from Empire will be joining us for upcoming coffees, and will provide complete details.

Empire Communications
4830 East Main St #5
Mesa, AZ 85205


Silveridge Calendar