The Village Green Board of Directors recently announced the upcoming retirement of Executive Director Ann Self effective in December. Self is the founding executive and has led the organization since 2012.
“It has been such an honor to serve The Village Green and the Cashiers community,” said Self. “I am proud of all that the organization has accomplished, and I will be leaving The Village Green in a greater position to propel forward into the future. I am humbled to know so many generous donors and dedicated volunteers, including board members, who help achieve our mission. I am looking forward to spending more time with family as well as pursuing new creative opportunities. I am also hoping to be more involved as a volunteer in this community.”
Self added that 2020 was a challenging year, but thanks to a supportive community The Village Green will continue to thrive.
“While 2020 presented difficulties and obstacles to overcome, it has been so gratifying to see what a vital place The Village Green is for people to experience rest, recreation, and renewal in numerous and diverse ways,” she said. “Because of the generosity of the community, reimagined fundraising events and several local grants, we have endured and are currently in a stable position for further recovery and growth. I am confident that The Village Green will continue to thrive under new leadership.”
Self’s achievements while leading The Village Green is substantial. Among them are the annual Cashiers Christmas Tree Lighting that started in 2012 and was enhanced with the addition of the holiday Village Lights last year. Thousands of lights were on display for the 2020 season.
Another addition during her tenure began when Jackson County cut funding for July 4th fireworks displays. In 2013, The Village Green stepped up to initiate the annual community Independence Day celebration, Fireworks Extravaganza On the Green.
Many capital improvements were also made during Self’s time as executive director. Four new gardens have been installed in the park, adding beautiful spaces to enjoy when visiting The Village Green. The newest of these, a butterfly garden has been donated and will be dedicated when it is complete.
A StoryWalk was added this spring. This project to display the pages of a children’s book with interactive activities throughout the park has been a community collaboration to foster reading and recreation with families and children.
Self has also been instrumental in the park venue expansion with the opening of The Village Green Commons Hall, the 5,400 square foot cultural events and community activities building.
“The vision has been to provide an indoor gathering space for additional civic, cultural, and educational offerings as well as private event space. The uses and potential are numerous and varied to enhance community life,” said Self.
Board Chairperson Sue Lewis credits Self with tremendous growth The Village Green has experienced in recent years.
“When Ann became executive director, she had a milk crate with files and a general information binder about the park in a makeshift office area in the kitchen of her home,” said Lewis. “She quickly began to build relationships, develop donors and board members, and strengthen organizational operations, including identifying and recruiting an outstanding support team for park management. Ann has been a champion for community-building leveraging the many ways people enjoy The Village Green. Her ability to connect with donors and the community is genuine and we will miss her passion. Nobody loves The Village Green like Ann.”
The Village Green Board has identified and hired Self’s successor who will begin later this fall. An announcement concerning this will be made at that time.
To learn more about The Village Green, the 13 acre privately conserved park for the people of Cashiers, click HERE.
Photos by Brian O’Shea, Plateau Daily News
Article courtesy of The Village Green