New SACS director wants to see center grow

By Elizabeth Sias

Sue Hughes may be a new member of the community, but she already feels right at home.

As new director of Senior Activity Center Services (SACS) in Cambridge, Hughes has already received a warm welcome by the center’s seniors.

Sue Hughes

She started in August, shadowing former director Fran Strodtman for a month before taking the reins.

Before taking the position, Hughes worked for the Anoka-Hennepin school district and community education as a special education para and instructor for adults with special needs, teaching classes like cooking, crafts and sports.

She said her last position as coordinator makes her a good fit as SACS director because she planned classes and outings.

After taking a year off from work to take classes, Hughes happened to see the opening in Cambridge. The part-time position fits her schedule because she enjoys helping her husband with realty and property management at their home in Ham Lake.

One of Hughes’ goals is to pull in younger seniors from the Baby Boomer generation. She plans on talking with other senior centers around the Twin Cities to find out what’s working for them.

“I‘d like to learn from them and see what would work for us, along with asking these seniors what they want,” she said.

For now, she’s offering the same types of activities — meals, plays, shopping trips to St. Cloud and more — but she would like to survey the seniors to find out what they enjoy and types of activities they’re interested in, whether it’s a rodeo, a Wii bowling tournament or a trip to the casino.

Because Hughes is new to the Cambridge community, she wants to go to events and get her face out there, trying to get more seniors involved through both advertising and word of mouth.

“I really think if I don’t get out there I’m not going to get them,” she said. “I’m up for the challenge.”

So far, she has enjoyed meeting everyone and looks forward to spending more time with the seniors to get to know them better.

“Boy, they’re just characters,” Hughes said. “They’re really great people. There’s a difference when you work with people your own age and then you work with people who are older — they have so much to tell you and it’s just so interesting. They are so full of information.”