Drawing the Aspen Lake Community Closer, One Interview at a Time

Resident journalist featuring personal profiles of team members

By Kristian Partington

“Dynamic” is a word Bruce Jackson uses to describe Renee Ganley, a resident at The Village of Aspen Lake he has grown to know quite well during his time there as the village pastor.

She’s active in many aspects of village life, from fundraising to volunteering upon several committees, and she’s a knowledgeable and articulate ambassador promoting a philosophy of support in long-term care that makes room for her fellow residents to thrive.

Turns out, she also has quite a gift for interviewing people and writing profiles of their lives, as Bruce recently discovered. At the beginning of the year, Renee began interviewing team members for a monthly feature in the village newsletter, and Bruce was one of her first subjects.   

Resident Renee sitting on her wheelchair
Aspen Lake's resident journalist, Renee Ganley.

“She’s outgoing – an extrovert by nature and she is genuinely interested in people,” Bruce says. “When she’s talking with somebody, she’s truly interested in what’s going on and she’s looking for a story – that’s part of who she is.”

Knowing Renee and these aspects of her personality is one thing, but there is also something a little different when the word interview comes into play. The parties move beyond a simple conversation in many ways as questions delve into personal areas and the interviewer digs in to discover the depth of the person across from them.

Bruce wasn’t sure what to expect but says he was amazed at the final results and what Renee was able to discover and share in her detailed profile. She covered the conviction of his faith and his choice to follow that passion into a life of service as a pastor, and she touched upon the fact that he once swore off any potential work within the long-term care sector based upon an experience he had in a home that was far from ideal.

“It’s funny how she pulled that out of me,” Bruce says. “I absolutely swore that I would never ever do it again.” The aspirations and the philosophy that Schlegel Villages embraces spoke to him, however, and after some persuasion by a family member who also works in the village, he was encouraged to consider joining the team. Now, in all the many residents within the village who are not only living a life of meaning but finding room for personal growth, he sees the way long-term care should be.

Renee is just one more example.

“She’s finding her niche,” he says, once again noting that her article was exceptionally well put together. “She’s finding a calling and something that she’s able to contribute to the community.” In doing so, she’s helping her fellow community members know more about each other, and that only helps tighten the connections within the village.