“Have I got a story for you!” This phrase is not only Susan Mauntel’s signature slogan, but also accurately reflects her life and career. Susan was born and raised in Philadelphia, but later moved to Boulder, Colorado, to attend the University of Colorado. She was an art major, journalism minor, and destined for show business.

After school, Susan continued west to California—modeling in TV commercials and print advertisements, first in San Francisco, then Los Angeles. From there, Susan’s next adventure was broadcasting – she hosted daily live TV shows in San Diego and San Francisco, interviewing prominent figures like Maya Angelou and Gerald Ford. Then, she co-anchored the news in Los Angeles. Later, she made her way to Aspen, where she made her living with a paintbrush, rendering fine art on furniture, and co-founded a resident theater company.

How did Susan make it in Los Angeles? And what did she learn along the way?

View her October Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Susan Mauntel was our final Insights presentation for 2015. The Insights program will pick back up in January 2016, so stay tuned for more!

 

The year 1983 marked the beginning of many renovations for Plymouth Harbor. It began with Pilgrim Hall, which underwent minor renovations for a period of about six weeks. The project was made possible through generous gifts of the residents and included a new stage, carpet, chairs, and a new cooling and heating system.

In the year 1984, the Residents Long-Range Planning Committee was established. That same year, as an important part of corporate due diligence, the committee and the Board of Trustees began working on a longer-term plan for Plymouth Harbor. Out of these meetings arose an ambitious expansion and improvement program that Plymouth Harbor would complete in the coming years. Soon after Plymouth Harbor celebrated paying off the $4 million mortgage it took out in 1965, the building projects — both large and small — began.

 

 

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From a young age, Walt Mattson had a profound interest in the newspaper and printing business. He delivered neighborhood newspapers, and even worked as a printer’s devil (one step below an apprentice) at his uncle’s weekly newspaper business in Pittsburgh during summer vacations. In the 1950s, he landed a job at a commercial printing plant in Portland, Maine, and went on to hold several high-ranking jobs in the newspaper business. Walt quickly climbed the corporate ladder, and in 1979, he was named the president of The New York Times Company.

How did he land this prestigious title, and what got him interested in the business in the first place?

View his September Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Upcoming 2015 Insights Presentations:

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

 

Homer B. Myers was a local Sarasota banker and a member of the First Congregational Church of Sarasota. In 1963, Homer loaned the Reverend Dr. MacNeil the funds needed to purchase Coon Key for $300,000. Prior to that, Dr. MacNeil and his small group of visionaries had only the $50 that each of them had contributed as a starter fund. “He loaned us money as if we had money,” recalled Dr. George Baughman, an early Plymouth Harbor trustee and also a member of the local church.

Homer was a large supporter of Plymouth Harbor. In addition to loaning the group funds, Homer used his ties to members of the community to help the organization succeed. Following the purchase of the land, Homer helped ensure necessary zoning changes were made through a personal connection with Sarasota City Manager, Ken Thompson — an old college friend of Homer’s. Past that, Homer went on to serve as Chairman of the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees, first in 1968-1969, and again from 1977 until 1986. Eventually, Homer himself became a resident of Plymouth Harbor.

 

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Ted Rehl fell in love with music…not once, but twice. His love for music blossomed around piano, Fran’s around cello, and they met at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. With two music degrees, and a thirst for teaching, they began their careers. After retiring, Ted closed his piano and didn’t play again for 18 years. What brought him out of retirement?

View Ted and Fran’s August Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

 

Upcoming Insights Presentations:

September 25             Walt Mattson:  “Community College & the Newspaper Business”

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

Do you ever feel like it takes years to get something accomplished in Washington? So did Senator Marlow Cook, who was featured in our July Insights Program. Throughout his time in the Senate, he co-sponsored several bills that passed Congress during Nixon’s presidency. Senator Cook has always been a “go-getter.” Even before serving in the Senate, he served as a county judge, was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature, and became the youngest county executive in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 36. After his Senate term, he spearheaded the effort of a major Kansas City law firm to create one of the top decision-making firms in D.C.

How did Senator Cook accomplish it all? View the full Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoard, Insights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Upcoming Insights Presentations:

August 28                     Ted and Fran Rehl:  “Inspired by Music”

September 25             Walt Mattson:  “Community College & the Newspaper Business”

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

The years of 1972—1976 were notable because it was around this time that the Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees and the administration began to realize financial difficulty ahead. Existing resident contracts had clauses restricting increases in maintenance fees, which made it difficult to keep pace with rising costs. Jack Smith, the administrator at the time, sought advice from business people on the Board and from a group of residents. In turn, those residents enlisted others to organize a campaign to voluntarily increase their monthly fees. A surprising number of residents did so, and by the mid-1980s, Plymouth Harbor was back in solid financial shape.

According to Jack Smith, “The cooperation was amazing. When we were in financial difficulty, in addition to raising their own monthly payments, residents did everything from paying for carpeting in the public areas, to buying vehicles, to purchasing silverware. The residents saw that the need was there, and they responded to the need to save Plymouth Harbor.” In the years to follow, the Board of Trustees and the Residents’ Long-Range Planning Committee saw an opportunity to begin working on a master plan for Plymouth Harbor—one that would include an ambitious design for an expansion and improvement program.

 

Jack Smith 1The Reverend Dr. Jack A. Smith was approved as the Administrator of Plymouth Harbor in 1971, holding the position from 1972 until his retirement in 1989. At the time, Dr. Smith was a minister in the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ, with administration experience and a degree in business. He was selected to replace Alan Switzer, Plymouth Harbor’s first administrator, who retired at the end of 1971.

Throughout Dr. Smith’s 17 years at Plymouth Harbor, the organization received an excess of $10 million in voluntary gifts from residents, was able to pay off a mortgage of roughly $3.5 million, and made capital improvements to the property in excess of $16 million—including the construction of the North Garden: then a 60-bed licensed skilled nursing home, 32 additional apartments, and a 58-car garage. Today, Dr. Smith remains actively involved in Plymouth Harbor life, serving on The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust scholarship committee.

 

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The Roman poet Virgil once said, “The greatest wealth is health.” At Plymouth Harbor we couldn’t agree more and our Wellness Center promotes that mindset in countless ways—through group fitness, whole-person wellness, social activities, and much more.

From its formal inception in 2011, Plymouth Harbor’s wellness program was designed to evolve. As we approach Plymouth Harbor’s 50th anniversary next year, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and see just how far fitness and wellness have come from those early days.

Back in the Day

While it was state-of-the-art at the time, retirement living back in 1966 (when Plymouth Harbor first opened its doors) looked quite different than it does today. Back then, physically-passive, socially-oriented activities like walking, gardening, and shuffleboard were the norm. Plymouth Harbor’s Activities Department offered a weekly exercise class and, in later years, resident Lois Droege, with her background in physical education, led a popular group fitness class for residents.

july-wellnessTimes changed, and by 2005, later generations were expressing a desire for more comprehensive fitness programming. The opportunities they were enjoying at the local YMCA or other health clubs weren’t available at Plymouth Harbor; Marketing was hearing this from prospects and their families as well.

A 2011 resident survey revealed that one of residents’ top three priorities was a wellness center with professional staff and programming. Residents wanted updated equipment, knowledgeable instructors, and a variety of fitness classes. Next step? Making it happen.

Our philosophy was “develop the program and they will come.” The brick and mortar would come later. The first step was recruiting a wellness professional, with the proper credentials and experience with a senior population, who could build a program from the ground up. Enter Chris Valuck in September 2011.  As planned, by April 2013, Chris had developed the program to the point that a second full-time staff member was needed and Amanda Kirk joined the team.

By May 2013, a capital campaign was underway and the funds needed for the cost for a new, state-of-the-art wellness center had been donated by generous residents and staff. In September 2014, Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful ‘new’ Wellness Center opened its doors. By November 2014, Chris and Amanda, along with seven other staff members,  were helping to develop Plymouth Harbor’s employee wellness program, OnBoard. 

Wellness Today

With experienced and knowledgeable staff onsite, residents receive a multitude of benefits, including personalized fitness assessments, weekly orientations, and enhanced programming—including both group fitness and other physical activities.

Resident fitness assessments are conducted for each new resident, whether in-home or in the Wellness Center. After assessments are completed, resident records are created and maintained, including documents such as consent forms, waivers, guidelines, medical clearances, medical history, and exercise logs. Today, the Wellness department is in a position where they can also offer re-assessments to current residents, upon request.

With the help of contracted instructors, the Wellness Center offers at least 10 separate fitness classes each month, some of which meet two to three times per week. Chris is onsite to teach some; however, contracting with qualified instructors allows the Wellness department to offer specialized classes in areas like Tai Chi and ballroom dancing that might not otherwise be available. Countless hours are spent researching, contacting, and vetting these individuals, to ensure residents are receiving the highest possible quality of exercise.  In addition to monthly classes, Wellness staff researches, organizes, and conducts both off-site and on-site events, including last year’s Wellness Week, field trips, kayaking, and more.

Community outreach and networking with other local fitness centers and CCRCs is conducted on a regular basis to keep programming up-to-date. To promote both Plymouth Harbor and wellness in the greater community, Chris and Amanda also serve as “The Face of Wellness” at receptions and events to assist the Plymouth Harbor marketing team. The two additionally contribute monthly to the Harbor Light, and have prepared, designed, and produced numerous take-home brochures and guidelines for increased in-home fitness for residents.

Wellness in the Future

As time passes, there continues to be a resident desire for added programming. Residents can expect the Wellness Center to adapt and improve to meet these requests—through continued research, and an emphasis on unique classes and events. One resident-requested improvement in particular that will be implemented, is the expansion of outdoor physical activities (like the popular beach walk or kayaking) into regular programming.  You can look forward to seeing these types of activities more often, as well as new, never-been-done-before activities like visits to local state parks. Residents can also expect additional group fitness classes, such as the desired tap dancing class. These unique forms of physical activity promote exercise in an interesting, social environment and we hope they will inspire and encourage more residents to participate in physical activity to enhance their well-being.

With a higher resident demand for in-home fitness, a “Wellness Center Exercise Series” is also in process, which will encompass a series of exercise booklets and DVDs of the most popular wellness classes. As of now, the Line Dancing DVD is complete, and Sit Fit and Better Balance are in the works. Stay tuned for additions to this series. Along those same lines, the long-awaited Preferred Professionals Program is now available. Designed to meet resident requests for personalized services (including personal training, Pilates, yoga, dance, and massage), residents can expect this brochure in their mailbox in just a few short weeks.

Wellness goes beyond the four walls of Plymouth Harbor. For that reason, the Wellness department is collaborating with staff to offer an internship program to qualified students studying Exercise Science. They are also planning to offer a Harbor Club program, where members are allowed special access to participate in popular Wellness activities.

We’ve come a long way since 1966, and we plan to keep evolving to meet your needs. Stay tuned for updates on new programs and activities, and please continue to share ideas and enthusiasm with staff.

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Two hundred and thirty nine years ago today, on July 4, 1776, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, marking the birth date of America’s independence. Today we celebrate with family, friends, parades, backyard barbeques, fireworks, and more, all while sporting our latest red, white, and blue get-up. But no matter how or where we choose to spend this historic holiday, we together celebrate the freedoms that our Founding Fathers set out for us – making the words spoken by Oliver Wendell Holmes ring true today: “One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one Nation evermore.”

Wherever the holiday may take you this year, we wish you a joyful, safe, and festive 4th of July.