GOSHEN, N.Y. (September 28, 2017) – “Knees up high, crunch your abs… good!”
Sulekha Zaug paces along the edge of the pool.
“Arms straight ahead, legs straight, let’s do the march ofthe wooden soldiers!”
She pantomimes a wooden soldier as she walks along the edge.
“Fabulous! Really good!”
Zaug is director of recreation at the Glen Arden Retirement Community in Goshen.
“I am technically the activities director here, but some people refer to me as the cruise director,” she says flashing a million-dollar smile.
“My job is creating a calendar of events with a blend of health and fitness and some brain games and trips into the community.”
“We do pool exercise, bocce, shuffleboard, outdoor games, trivia tournaments, parties, barbecues, wine and beer tastings,” Zaug says.
“We also have live entertainment and speakers all the time.”
“It’s my job to keep the calendar full, and we have an average of four to five offerings every day,” she says.
“But the nice thing about retirement communities is the residents can do whatever they want.”
Glen Arden is a continuing-care retirement community, one of only 12 in New York state.
“That means that we take care of our residents no matter what they need,” she says.
The facility houses 93 people in independent apartments, 26 in enriched housing and 40 people in a nursing home. Residents can move between the different units as needed.
Zaug seems to know every resident by name.
“I think that is so important because it gives residents the atmosphere of home,” she says.
“It took me about a month and a half to learn everybody’s name and something about them.”
Zaug grew up in Queens, got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY Cortland and spent several years honing her skills at various senior-living facilities in Dutchess and Westchester counties. She was hired at Glen Arden in March of this year.
But she first hit it big – as Sulekha Modi – in the gymnastics world when she became a national champion in the all-around and uneven parallel bars for the Flushing YMCA, her high school club, and then in college for SUNY Cortland.
“I was totally all-in on gymnastics,” she says. “Even today, I have vivid dreams about doing my entire routine in slow motion. Sometimes three times a week – it’s the weirdest thing.”
“So today, I channel my energies into being the recreation director at Glen Arden,” she says. “Anybody who knows me, knows that I go all-in on things.” How many hours does she work?
“As many as it takes,” she says. “I’m all-in.” So it’s no surprise that her face lights up when talking about her newest project.
“Me and my boyfriend are building a house and starting a small farm in Montgomery,” Zaug says. “The barn is built, the house will be done by the end of October and then we will move in.”
“We will start with two horses, two mini-goats and a handful of chickens and go from there,” she says. “And I am really excited to start on an organic garden and produce organic goat milk and eggs.”
She flashes that million-dollar smile again. “City girl turns country girl,” she says. “I am so excited!”