Central Oregon Alumni Get-Together Another Success

When Ford Alumni get together, things happen!

Things like litter patrol, painting, barbecues, swimming, Bananagrams and networking.

“As always, Ford weekends are full of inspiring people and igniting conversation,” said Ford Scholar Alumni Association Events Committee member Emilie Jensen, who helped put on the Fourth Annual Ford Alumni Summer Get-Together in Central Oregon.

Eighteen alumni and a few FSAASOs (FSAA Significant Others) gathered in Redmond Saturday, July 29. A few had arrived the night before and pitched tents on the lawn at Mark and Dixie Ramp’s property.

When FSAA Treasurer Kailee Ramp heard the next get together was going to be in Central Oregon and that the Events Committee was searching for a community service project and a place to stay, she called up her aunt and uncle. They are responsible for a 2-mile stretch of road near their home as part of the Adopt a Road program and have ample room for campers.

“A huge shout out to Ramp Ranch for hosting us this year,” Jensen said. “The property was stunning, and we couldn’t have asked for a better place to hold our event.”

On Saturday morning, the crew donned orange vests and gloves and became the litter patrol for the Ramp family.

“We collected an entire truck bed of trash in under an hour,” Jensen said.

After picking up roadside litter, alumni made more than 200 hand-painted Thanksgiving greeting cards as yet another community service project. The cards will be delivered to Meals on Wheels recipients through the Marion Polk Food Share in Salem.

Next was a burger and hot dog barbecue at the Ramp Ranch, and then a few visitors played Frisbee, others swam, and several tested their wordsmithing skills in a fierce game of Bananagrams.

Then, everyone spiffied up and carpooled for the half-hour drive south of Bend to Sunriver, where they met up with current Ford Scholars for a Meet and Greet during their Leadership Conference.

Alumni were separated by career type and visited with the Scholars who were interested in their careers.

“It is important for Scholars to network with alumni because it’s not only an opportunity to practice networking and learn about careers, but since so many of our Scholars are first-generation, it’s a great opportunity to talk with a first-generation professional who made it through college and into their career field and can both share the challenges and serve as an example of the possibilities,” said Manager of Scholar and Alumni Engagement Bonnie Williams.

Ford Alumni make Thanksgiving cards for the Salem Food Pantry baskets (top photo) and engage in a fierce game of Bananagrams (bottom photo).

She said the event went great, with more than 100 Scholars networking with the 20 or so alumni at the peak of the Meet and Greet.

“Each year it continues to be refined, and the experience is improved for both the alumni and the Scholars,” Williams said. “The big change this year from last is that only juniors and seniors were invited, which made the Scholar to alumni ratio better.”

Following the Meet and Greet, many alumni headed back to the Ramp Ranch for a barbecue, chatting and games.

“Although not all who RSVP’d were able to attend, we still managed to gather a passionate group of individuals,” Jensen said. “It is exciting to see more and more alumni participation in these events over the years, and we cannot wait to see what is in store for the future of FSAA!”