Residents Enjoy Connecting Through Clubs, Groups, and Activities

By Mary Bush
February 19, 2024
Residents Enjoy Connecting Through Clubs, Groups, and Activities

Jim Swearingen, who heads up the golf group at Tallgrass Creek, an Erickson Senior Living community in Overland Park, Kans., is eager to hit the links this spring. 

"There are about 50 of us in the group," says Jim, who schedules weekly tee times--April through October--at a nearby course. "It's a great game with great camaraderie, and it's wonderful to be outside in nature."

Jim and his wife Eileen often practice their swings together, happy that they get to share their hobby with so many neighbors. 

"We've made lots of connections at Tallgrass through our mutual interest in golf," says Jim. "It's even more fun to play with friends here."

The golf group at Tallgrass Creek is just one of the 80-plus resident-driven clubs and activities at the active community. 

The weekly calendar of events is packed with opportunities for woodworking, painting, writing, traveling, singing, knitting, quilting, and gardening--just to name a few. Residents also enjoy a range of fitness classes as well as educational events about nature, medicine, science, current events, and history. 

Gather around!

Social gatherings also abound, including tailgates, holiday parties, outdoor concerts, and happy hours, along with themed dinners at the six restaurants on campus

"When guests visit, they're always impressed with the number of social, fitness, and educational activities happening here every day," says Sales Director Blake Marshall. "It's one of many things that set this community apart." 

Career connections

Tallgrass Creek residents also connect over their shared career experiences. Several times a year, Ann Brazil, who served as a nurse for 43 years, including a 20-year stint in the U.S. Army, organizes a dinner for about 40 neighbors who also had careers in nursing. 

Known as Retired Nurses Reminiscing (RNR), the group enjoys recalling memories and discussing current health care issues. 

"Having worked in sometimes hectic and intense health care situations gives us a special bond," says Ann. "We all realized early on that our professions were more than just jobs."

Several years ago, Jan Sladkey, a vocalist and former music teacher, formed another special group: the Tallgrass Creek Community Chorus. The group started out singing holiday carols, but now they also perform at community gatherings. 

Currently, Jan is director emeritus of the chorus, which is 50 voices strong. The new director, Dr. Daniel Loganbill, teaches music at nearby Johnson County Community College. 

"We always say, 'If you've ever been in a choir or just enjoy music, you'll like this group,'" says chorus member Bob Southard. 

The largest group at Tallgrass Creek is the veterans' club, comprising about 185 residents who served in the armed forces. Members work with Tallgrass Creek's management team to ensure the community has a patriotic presence on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. 

"Our Veterans Day ceremony is one of the most impressive events we do," says Gene Meyer, who cochairs the club along with Gerry Lewis. "It's always very well attended."

The group coordinates frequent presentations hosted by veterans, detailing their military experiences. Presentations are followed by question and answer sessions and are often attended by residents' friends and families.

"We have an active group of veterans here who have much to share about the important times in our country's history," says Gene. 

Artists in residence 

Creative interests often bring Tallgrass Creek neighbors together in the community's sunny art studio. Instructor Alysia Carter, a former art teacher with a bachelor's degree in art, leads the acrylic and watercolor painting classes.

"I like working with artists of all levels of ability. When someone falls in love with painting, they are amazed at how quickly their ability progresses," says Alysia. "I love watching that happen." 

Some artists bring their paintings to the community's annual craft fair, where browsers and buyers stroll among tables of hand-embossed stationery, embroidered tea towels, microwave dish holders, finely crafted wooden bowls, colorful crocheted shawls, and more. 

"There are many residents here who have artistic interests," says Susan Richards, who weaves beautiful pieces created from recycled materials.

"It's called intuitive weaving, and I use discarded yarn, deconstructed sweaters, and even parts of branches I pick up on walks," she adds. "I like to bring life back into things that have been forgotten or discarded."

Like her neighbors, Susan finds plenty to do at Tallgrass Creek. 

"The list of things to do here is endless," says Susan. "It would be hard to be bored!"

To learn more about senior living at Tallgrass Creek, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.