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A peek at Tallgrass Creek’s resident life staff

Fun and then some

Created date

June 23rd, 2014
residents reviewing monthly calendar

If you ask Jan Magee what her new position as Tallgrass Creek’s resident life manager is all about, she is quick to respond.

“All the fun stuff,” laughs Magee. “And there’s a lot of it!”

Magee joined the Creek staff in March to oversee the Overland Park community’s many social and educational activities, resident-driven clubs and committees (there are more than 60), fitness center, exercise classes (there are 19 each week), and active aquatics program. 

Jennifer Gray, who coordinates learning and social opportunities, outings, and other creative undertakings for residents, assists Magee. Gray also compiles the community’s jam-packed monthly activities calendar, always available at the front desk.    

Wellness Coordinator Amy Stewart, also part of the team, designs and leads weekly exercise classes, arranges for personal training, and conducts personal health assessments. Stewart also manages the community’s fitness center; aquatics exercise program; and its indoor, temperature-controlled pool.

No typical day

Magee, Gray, and Stewart don’t exactly sit behind desks all day. Gray normally sports a pair of comfortable, blue-and-green tennis shoes because her job takes her all over Tallgrass Creek’s 65-acre campus.

“I’ve met with residents in their apartments, the clubhouse, hallway, Blue Sky Restaurant, Market Place, even the parking lot—just wherever we need to meet,” notes Gray, who has a master’s degree in counseling and was a school counselor for seven years prior to joining the Tallgrass Creek team. “The residents have such unique ideas for fun trips, get-togethers, learning opportunities, charitable drives, and more, and we want to be available to hear and help out.”

A fit, fun flash mob

Stewart strongly believes that everyone can experience greater quality of life through movement, and she enthusiastically encourages Tallgrass Creek residents to follow her example. 

Community members recently got a close-up at one of Stewart’s energetic regimens when 20 of their neighbors (and Stewart) unexpectedly took to the floor during a late afternoon happy hour at the Sunflower Bistro and began a choreographed dance to a loud, contemporary rap song. 

With arms waving, hands clapping, and feet keeping time to the music, it was Tallgrass Creek’s first flash mob—an unexpected dance. The group practiced the surprise dance during their Monday, Wednesday, and Friday stretch-and-tone class.

“It made quite the impression,” laughs resident Darlyne Sheppeard, who had the idea to do the flash mob. “I think people are wondering when we might pop up again.”

In addition to the stretch-and-tone classes, Stewart oversees 19 different fitness classes weekly that include low-impact aerobics, yoga, Zumba, chair exercises, and men’s-only strength training (MOST). 

Water aerobics and therapeutic water exercise classes are also available in the community’s pool, as is a men’s-only pool exercise (MOPE) class. Stewart also arranges one-on-one personal training needs and can recommend specific exercises based on individual health histories. 

“I tell everyone, whether it’s walking outdoors, indoors, exercising on one of our many pieces of equipment in the fitness center, swimming, or taking fitness classes, it all counts,” says Stewart, who has a master’s degree in exercise science. “There are so many residents interested in fitness. Honestly, it makes my job a blast.”  

Brainstorming bonanza

As part of their “get acquainted” efforts, Magee, Gray, and Stewart held a general brainstorming session with residents in April. 

“We called it ‘A-J squared’ for Amy, Jennifer, and Jan,” says Magee. “The energy in the room was incredible. The ideas for learning activities, trips, and fun things to do were flying around faster than we could keep track of them. It was wonderful.”

Magee says the brainstorming session, along with her overall interaction with the residents, has inspired her.

“I want to be more like them,” says Magee, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work, spent many years in the medical field, and is the community’s social worker. “They make me want to exercise more and try things I’ve wanted to do, like painting.”

The resident life staff is keeping an eye on the future with the addition of Meadowlark Terrace, Tallgrass Creek’s new residence building scheduled to open in late fall.  

“That means more opportunity, more energy, and more great ideas,” says Magee. “We welcome the challenge and the fun.”