Beth Ford: A water-balloon playground that changed my life forever

Beth Ford had a job in the real estate industry when, in 1985, a friend who worked for a community development group asked for her help in a project that would affect all of the land in Land O’ Lakes.

Ford was in the process of relocating her family from Minneapolis to Land O’ Lakes, a town of 600 in Georgia. She was also a member of the Fresh Water-Power for Land Project Committee, which sought to preserve the Land O’ Lakes water supply for those living there. One part of the project was to create a water park.

Her job was to build a dry-land playground and to catalog the material for building that play structure. Since Land O’ Lakes was in North Carolina, she had to travel northward to Asheville in order to get supplies. For her troubles, she was expected to show up at the Playground’s site early one morning with a shovel and gloves. She was also expected to be there in that job from 8:00 AM to noon, after her workday as an office manager had ended. She paid for herself, but there was a $15 tip.

Ford recalls her acceptance of her job’s responsibilities in the most tender-hearted manner. “That play structure was built after I got there.” Ford tells i) if it was built by a more experienced staff member who would make their work far more enjoyable. She explains that what was useful was the hours she got from the work she had done for a living. The people she learned to impress at work – other employees – turned out to be her friends in real life.

She herself has gone on to successful civic-minded roles. Over the years, Ford, a woman of extraordinary persistence, has occupied executive positions in schools, corporations, and the nonprofit sector. In addition to her many accomplishments, she also has served as the regional chair of the National Women’s Business Council, has done volunteer work for the Junior League of Greensboro, and led a partnership among church and community groups and the nonprofit organization Freshwater for Land. Ford holds a B.A. in environmental studies from Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in public administration from Southern University.

Ford has made Land O’ Lakes her own, and this week, the town chose her as its new Chief Administrative Officer. We asked her to highlight a few of her most memorable moments from her years as Land O’ Lakes Community Association President.

– Courtesy of Beth Ford

Cross-posted with The Asha Report.

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