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Happy Birthday!

Ashby Ponds celebrates two years of community building

Created date

September 21st, 2010

Two years ago on October 2, 2008 Ashby Ponds officially opened its doors to a fanfare of festivities. rel="same-post-14267" title="DC1010_APL2ndbirthday"> We are here to celebrate the genesis of something truly remarkable: a place where people will come together and share their gifts and talents to literally create a community, said Ashby Ponds Executive Director David Gallagher. Since then, more than 500 people have become not just neighbors but also friends at the Ashburn, Va., campus. There was little doubt that Ashby Ponds would be a place full of interesting, engaging people and convenient services and programs, says Gallagher. We set out to create a community, one where people would truly live better. How many of us are blessed to live in a community where we really know and value our neighbors and the people who work for us? Ashby Ponds is that place, and I love being a part of it.

Life-changing decisions

[caption id="attachment_14358" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Lesley Mackay celebrates life at Ashby Ponds with her fellow neighbors. Mackay is responsible for starting the community Treasure Chest and walking club. She also participates in other activities including the library, bridge, and knitting. (Photo by John Kraft)"][/caption] Moving toAshby Pondson October 14, 2008, John and Dorothy Kraft were ready to start building a community before their first boxes were moved in. We had done some research prior to our move on how to make a new community warm and accepting to all residents, says Mr. Kraft. We realized from this study that it is very important to get people involved immediately in a variety of activities. So we asked to start the library the week before we moved in. As early as our first week atAshby Ponds, we began a social bridge group, a book club, a Wednesday morning coffee hour, and a Friday happy hour. We felt that getting the social networking started was more important than finalizing all of the unpacking we still had left to do in our apartment. Like the Krafts, Lesley Mackay was eager to get new groups started. I wanted to meet new neighbors and make friends, she says. Since moving toAshby Ponds, Mackay has started new activities such as a walking club and the Treasure Chest, a resident-run store where proceeds benefit the community s Benevolent Care Fund. I am thrilled that I moved toAshby Ponds, says Mackay. I seriously don t know where the days go. There is no need to be lonely here. There is so much to do and wonderfully interesting people to do it with. And if you want to do something new, you can start a new group. It s that easy.

Everyone can contribute

Joan Foote made it her mission not to start a new activity but to bring more people into theAshby Pondsfamily after she moved to the campus on October 8, 2008. As a resident ambassador, Foote attends informational lunches and open houses, sharing her experience with prospective residents. I couldn t be more pleased with my decision to move toAshby Ponds, she says. I want others to feel as happy about their decision as I do. That s why I m an ambassador, and I m happy to say I know of at least two people who say they moved here because of their meetings with me. I tell people, living here is better than vacation, she continues. Recently, I spent a wonderful week at Bethany Beach with my family. However, when I returned toAshby Ponds, I felt immediate relief, comfort, safety, and pleasure. This is definitely my home. And, as a very young community,Ashby Pondsis barely on the brink of what it will achieve in the future. From early on, the people ofAshby Pondshave made it a point to look out for each other, says Kraft. I think it s this model of care that makes us a true community.