February 2022 Newsletter

Our series on Clubs of the Park…

The Magic of Stained Glass


Dale Dauten

“Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window.”

Maggie Stiefvater

Last month Sue Arneson and I wandered into Silveridge’s Stained Glass workroom by mistake and the folks inside were having so much fun we wanted to come back and learn more. So we arranged to visit with the volunteer leader of that group, Gail Caraca. Here’s what we discovered:

There’s something irresistible about stained glass, right? After all, each piece of glass is something of a wonder in itself, and then you rearrange the pieces into an image that moves with the light. So we weren’t surprised at the response when we asked Gail Caraca how she got started: “I’d been wanting to try it since I saw my first piece of stained glass.” And she got her chance shortly after arriving at Silveridge, back in ’08. She says, “I walked by the room and Dolores Pombert – she was very active in stained glass at the time — was there, and we started talking. And I was hooked.”

And, we wondered, what about current Silveridge residents who might have a similar interest in stained glass?

“Come in and see us,” Gail said. “We’re here Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons and we can talk it through. I have a class for beginners on Wednesdays and Randy Risdahl has a class on making stepping stones on Mondays.”

Randy Risdahl joined us as we talked and he responded to our question about costs. “It’s an annual fee of twenty dollars,” he explained. “And for those just starting, we supply it all to make your first piece. After that, you buy your own glass and if you want to, say, make a table, then you of course need to buy the table.”  (Photos: Sample starter projects in the window of the stained glass room, and Gail and Randy sitting with the table Gail made for her porch.)


Whenever we can, we like to include a brief profile of group leaders, in this case, Gail Caraca. (We previously profiled Randy and his wife Doreen, back in our October ’21 issue. You can read it here.)

(Photo: Gail with her husband, Paul, and another fabulous sunset at the park)

One of SIlveridge’s many Canadians, Gail described her childhood home in Trail, in the West Kootenats, British Columbia as “a beautiful place to grow up, with skiing and with the Columbia River, and it had the largest lead-zinc refinery in the world.” And it was the refinery that brought her family there: Gail’s dad was in management there.

Gail, however, did not follow in her father’s footsteps but instead found a 28 year-long career with B.C.’s Provincial government, including the last ten years as a Government Agent. That last assignment she called “absolutely rewarding.” That’s because she served in the office that looked after complaints from the public, and her job was to try to resolve the problems that came to her: “Someone came in with a problem and there was usually a solution somewhere.”

With that background, it’s easy to see why Gail answered our favorite question, the one about the best advice you’ve ever gotten, by saying, “If you’re going to do a job, do it well.” And that also explained why she has been asked to take a series of leadership positions within Silveridge clubs.

And speaking of activities in the park, Gail has expressed her passion for two of her favorites by turning them into stained glass stepping stones. In the photo below you’ll see she has Kokopelli figures playing golf and pickleball.

While a lot of Canadians have discovered the joys of winters at Silveridge, Gail told us that she and her husband Paul didn’t just come to Arizona immediately after retiring, but via a long detour: “When we retired we spent the first ten winters in the Algarve of Portugal and traveling throughout Europe. We now return to Portugal every three years to keep our connection with Paul’s family.”

After that decade traveling in Europe, they got a motorhome and one of their journeys took them to visit one of Gail’s two daughters (she has a blended family with Paul, each bringing two daughters) who was living in Scottsdale. They ended up searching for a place for an extended stay and found Silveridge and eventually committed to a permanent winter home in the park. Gail says of that choice, “We never doubted that decision. We never looked back.”

Photo below: A winter morning at Silveridge, looking out over the Great Lawn to shuffleboard and beyond to lawn bowling.

Message from Sue

My Dear Silveridge Family,

The time has come for me to retire at the end of the 2022 season.

My resignation comes with much thought and prayer. After 12 years of serving as your activity director, Jeff and I have decided that it is time to spend more time with our family and to move on to some new adventures. This heartfelt journey has been the best “semi retirement job” that I could imagine! Little did I know the joys and challenges that awaited me.

My years with you would not have been possible without my special team. To Sharon Beatty, my faithful assistant, and to Jerry Colling and Tracy Gagnier, my talented kitchen team, thank you for your faithfulness through the years. Your friendship and professional work ethic has meant the world to me and all of our Silveridge family. Thank you also to Jill Belcher my first assistant, and to John and Deb Bartlett, my set up friends.

It is with a grateful heart that I honor all the volunteer leaders and assistants who gave their personal time and talent to make our activities possible. Because of you we grew our Clubs and Activities. You made it happen by giving others the opportunity to learn new skills while making friends and having fun. To all my personal volunteers who helped me with special projects; I appreciate you so much.

You are all winners! Thank you for your generosity in purchasing tickets. It enabled me to book some top notch entertainment. Whether it was dances, shows or any entertainment, my reward was watching you enjoy the events that you deserved.

Sharon has agreed to become your new activity director! She serves with a smile. With 7 years of experience working in Activities and with her leadership skills, I know she will be a good fit for this job. We will be working together to execute the events still to come while planning next year’s activities and entertainment. Please welcome Sharon as we transition into new beginnings.

Through the years, Jeff and I have formed many friendships in the park. Making memories with you whether through work or play has been a joy.

I am happy to say that at the time of this writing our goal is to return to Silveridge from January though March of 2023. We are selling our home on Lot #60 and are looking forward to the “play” part and spending more time relaxing and partaking in some of the activities that I helped plan but did not have the time to join.

Thank you again my dear friends for your prayer support and encouragement. You uplifted me and others who have had personal heartaches and lost loved ones. Through our food, fellowship and fun, I know many of you have found your “Happy Place” during my time with you.

From the beginning my twin goalposts have been to honor God and serve you. To this purpose, I hope I have made a difference for the better in your lives.

With Love and Appreciation,




If you know someone in the park you’d like to learn more about via one of our People of the Park profiles, please let me know.

Or, if you have photos you’ll like to share in upcoming newsletters, please send them.

Dale Dauten, Editor

Email: ddauten@gmail.com

Text: 480-297-6244