March 2022 Newsletter

“Find Your Happy Place”


Dale Dauten

This past month brought a sad day for those of us who’ve worked with Sue Arneson. It was the day we saw the letter where she wrote this opening sentence:

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

Sue told me that her resignation came “with much thought and prayer,” saying that after 12 years of serving as Silveridge’s Activity Director, she has decided that it’s time to move on to new adventures, adding, “I wanted to leave this heartfelt journey feeling like I’d made a difference for the better in the lives of the people here. I feel that my purpose has been fulfilled.”

So what’s next? Referring to her husband Jeff, she said, “We want to do some traveling. We’re already starting to plan a trip to Italy. And we will be back next year at Silveridge, as residents. I’d like to join some of the groups that I’ve worked with here at the park but never had time to get involved. And we’ll also spend more time at our lake home in Minnesota, enjoying the call of the loons.” So, okay, we have to be happy for her.

(Photos: Sue at the Activities office, alongside Assistant Director, Sharon Beatty, and Sue practicing for retirement at their summer home)

When I visited with Sue in her office, I asked her to reminisce about her time at Silveridge. We started with how she came to the job as Activities Director.


“After 30 years in sales and sales management, I had retired. And over the years we had visited Silveridge many times to see my mother [still at the park at age 94]. We bought a place in 2005. In 2010, I heard my predecessor was retiring, and I’d been feeling restless. I started as Assistant Activities Director that year and then went fulltime the following year.” She added, with a laugh, “I went to Catholic schools and they stressed “Ora et Labora” — that would be pray and work!”


Sue recalls that her goal for her first year was to put emphasis on the entertainment and “bring it up a notch.” Part of doing so meant having dances every week. Those dances eventually turned into her favorite part of the job. “I’ve attended every function I’ve ever booked. Dance night became date night,” she recalled. “That’s because Jeff would take care of the bar – it’s BYOB but he’d take care of the ice – and we’d get to see everyone happy, and be part of everyone having a good time. And I especially love the theme nights, like Hippie Night, when people dress up and the decorators do an amazing job of setting the tone.”

Husband Jeff also figured into another of her favorite things about her job: “Every day Jeff comes in and he asks how he can help. All these years he’d been a shoulder to lean on.”


Sue shared a few of her successful endeavors, emphasizing that each was “with many helping hands”: She helped open the Silver Screen Theater in 2013, published a Silveridge Family Directory, started the “Club Expos,” which a hit and added many new members, and because of the generosity of the residents, she was able to bring top-notch entertainment to the park.

As for the other “bests” about the job, Sue focused on the people she’s been privileged to work with, especially the volunteers. An early mentor of Sue’s was Lou Pickard, decorator leader and “Miss Hospitality.” Sue says, “She taught the meaning of how to make everyone feel special. She would always dress the part at the events and greet everyone with a big hug while exclaiming how happy she was to see them. (Read Sue’s letter as she has more to say about the volunteers.)

While Sue was busy helping others find their “Happy Place” she admitted that there were a few bumps along the way. The Covid pandemic not only changed people’s lives but also the entire way of planning events and activities. Sue and her team found ways to keep events happening. Where possible, they altered “the mechanics of food safety,” moved functions outdoors, and Sue being Sue, even used adversity to create something positive: “We came up with the Doggie Fair and the Dickens Carolers. It was fun to do something different.”

The storm that caused the partial roof collapse of the clubhouse building and damaged many homes in the park, including the Arneson’s place was a trying season. Even here, Sue had positive memories. “We had a lot of damage to our home but we had insurance and we used the money to remodel and update.” As for the park and its events, Sue said, “The Resort made room for us and we moved a lot of our activities over there. We were back at our Silveirdge home by Christmas and so we were back in time for most of our events.”


Knowing her to be a thoughtful and expressive person, we asked Sue about what she’d learned about working with people. “I have a personal philosophy and it applies in every situation, particularly anything that could be confrontational: “Love is the answer, no matter the question.”

A couple of other related thought of hers, “P&L. Most people think of that as profit and loss, but I think of it as People & Love. Don’t let the tyranny of the urgent crowd out the important things.” Sue voluntarily would work in her office on weekends to get her paperwork done so she would have more time during the week to serve the residents.

And one that she found particularly relevant to her work in Activities, “Find your happy place. I found it here at Silveridge and I wanted everyone else to find it, too. Food, fellowship and fun. The people of Silveridge saved for retirement and they’ve earned it. Years ago I started saying, ‘If you’re bored here, it’s your own fault.’ We are a family and together we have all experienced the joys of leading an active and fulfilling lifestyle where we love one another.”


We already discussed Sue’s plan for the future, but we should also touch on what’s to happen with the Activities team and with the level of excellence they’ve created. There’s good news. Sharon Beatty, the current Assistant Director, will be staying on as Assistant and thus ensuring continuity. And we’re pleased to report that Lu Way has accepted the job of Director. Sue says of her, “Activities is in good hands. She’s already bringing new ideas and energy to the team.” (We’ll be profiling Lu in our new edition of this newsletter.)

Volunteers are Angels on Earth

Message from Sue

It is only right and fitting that my last message to you is written about all volunteers! Our theme this year is angels. You are “Earth Angels” who selflessly, generously, and thoughtfully make a difference in the lives of others. You have uplifted, taught, mentored, and encouraged others to find their Happy Place.

Kudos to all of you who kept it going forward; to all the time, energy and passion you put into the task that was before you. Whether it was being a Club Leader, washing dishes in the kitchen, beautifying the ball-room with your decorating talent, or whatever your volunteering skill; you did it with professionalism and with a smile! Thank you to those of you who are new to volunteering and are replacing volunteers who are taking on new goals or moving on to different opportunities. Whether you have been volunteering for years or you are one of the newcomers; thank you! Over 70 Silveridge mugs were delivered to new people in the park and what a joy it was to meet most of you at our Newcomers Class. You are the ones who will carry on the legacy! There is so much talent in this park and I challenge you, even if you are new, to share your gifts. Do not be timid ! There are mentors and helpers there for you who will show you the way.

To all those who volunteer in unseen ways, such as driving residents to doctor appointments or just sit-ting with a resident while the spouse can get away for awhile. Thank you to my personal assistants who helped me with special projects. all learned the meaning of “many hands make light work!” And let’s not forget our corporate leaders, office staff and maintenance workers who make our park beautiful!

My years with you would not have been complete without my special team. To Sharon Beatty, my faithful friend who has a smile for everyone; to Jerry Colling, our kitchen manager who brings us delicious meals cooked with love; to Tracy Gagnier, our head volunteer coordinator, who recruits and trains the 100 plus kitchen volunteers; and to John and Deb Bartlett who makes sure we have a place to sit; thank you for “ hanging in there” with me. Your professional work ethic and friendship has meant the world to me and all the Silveridge family.

It is my honor to introduce you to Lu Way, your new Activity Director!. She comes with great creden-tials and has volunteered in many areas since she and her husband Ed moved to the park 4 years ago. With her teaching degree, she has many creative ideas and serves from the heart! Get ready for a new adventure and lots of fun! Please welcome Lu as you see her in training at the office and at the events.

I am grateful for Jeff for being my sounding board and standing beside me through better or worse. To Mom who loves me unconditionally. The journey this year was made brighter with the prayer support of my “Balcony Friends.” These friends uplifted the entire Silveridge Community. Thank you for all the retirement cards and gifts you have given to me.

It is with a grateful heart that I honor all our volunteer angels with recognition, food and entertainment at our Volunteer Appreciation Party!

A Message From Lu Way

I am very excited to be your new activity director. My husband Ed and I have been coming to Silveridge for four years. We knew we found our winter home once we started meeting people. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly we fell in love with Silveridge. I have a lot to learn from Sue and Sharon before the season ends. We have all been busy planning the dinner shows, dinner dances, concerts and lots of fun for next year’s season. Sharon has been an incredible teammate. I couldn’t do the job without her. We will be distributing a questionnaire seeking your input/feedback to guide us on what entertainment you’d like to see and do. Please complete it and return it the activity office. When you drop off your questionnaire, pop in and introduce yourself.  Our new season will officially kick off on Thursday, October 20th with our 1st Welcome Back Bash. We hope you will join us if you are here. Stay tuned for many more adventures ahead.


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