For the last 10 years, Activity Director Carla Venti has been coming up with new recreational, educational and musical programs, events and activities that help provide a healthy, active lifestyle for Harvest Hill residents.
“I try to come up with activities that exercise the body, stimulate the mind and encourage socialization and camaraderie among the residents,” Carla said. “I really like keeping them busy with a range of different activities. We’re always learning new things and as they say to me, variety is the spice of life.”
Each week, Carla is tasked with introducing new activities and events, creating the weekly activities calendar, and supervising various virtual and in-person activities, including exercise classes, hymn singing, brain fitness challenges, games like Scattergories, Sequence, Bingo and Bridge, movie nights, cornhole contests, knitting and crafts sessions, prayer group, gentle chair yoga and meditation.
“Residents have already figured out how to play many of the games, like Sequence and Bridge, while social distancing,” she said.
Carla likes organizing classes that can be taught by other residents, as well as ones that make residents think and introduce them to new worlds. For example, “You Be the Judge” lets residents hear real-life court cases and decide the sentence, while “The World in 80 Gardens” provides a virtual visit to spectacular gardens in various foreign countries.
Sometimes Carla’s activities lead to a lot of laughter and silliness, as happened the other day: “Just recently one our residents who teaches ‘Ballet Classics’ showed a comical ballet,” said Carla. “The residents in attendance were laughing the whole time and enjoyed it so much. One of them told me they hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time. It was just so exhilarating to witness!”
Originally from New York, Carla attended the State University of New York at Geneseo and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, with a minor in public relations. She started her career as a videographer for TV news and sports, working at NBC affiliates in White River Junction, Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as a local TV station in West Texas.
Her assignments at NBC had her covering stories that featured well-known sports figures, musicians, politicians and more, including the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which she reported from Christa McAuliffe’s school, and the Red Sox at spring training, where she met Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky.
After moving to Sunapee, New Hampshire with her husband Tony and their Newfoundland dog, Carla managed community relations and organized activities at Borders Books & Music. Now, after working at Harvest Hill since 2011, Carla concludes it’s “the wonderful residents and staff” that make her job so rewarding.
“I enjoy my job. It’s something different every day,” she said. “Our residents all have such interesting lives and great stories to share. I feel like we are always learning from one another.”