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The original item was published from 9/18/2019 9:26:30 AM to 11/1/2019 12:00:06 AM.

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Parks & Recreation

Posted on: September 17, 2019

[ARCHIVED] James City County Parks & Recreation Earns Top Honors at State Conference


James City County Parks & Recreation earned four of the top honors bestowed by the Virginia Recreation & Park Society during its annual Conference in September. Over 500 delegates from around the state gathered Sept. 7-10 for the VRPS 64th Annual Conference held in Tysons Corner. The conference is a learning exchange and provides an opportunity for recreation and park professionals to discuss areas of common interest. Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards. This state-wide program honors individuals, departments and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence during the previous year. 115 applications were received vying for awards in 14 different categories. Judged by a jury of their peers, the Society presented Parks & Recreation with top awards in the following categories:

Joy JohnsonOutstanding New Professional: Joy Johnson, Special Events Program Coordinator, was recognized as an exemplary professional, displaying the utmost creativity, enthusiasm and professionalism. She effortlessly manages over 17 special events and 50 diverse special interest classes, camps and programs annually. She is a proven leader, highly regarded among peers and partners and is routinely commended for her excellent work, organizational skills and responsiveness.

In the population category of 50,000 – 100,000:

Longest Day of PlayBest New Program: Project: FiveFortySeven motivated citizens and visitors to “get out and play” on the longest day of the year! On June 21, the summer solstice, the sun rose at 5:47 a.m. in James City County, marking the official start of summer!  Increasing the awareness of play and participation in programs, facilities and parks, 15 free “drop-in” opportunities for all ages were offered, extending facility and park hours from 5:47 a.m. until sunset. Countless participated in self-directed play all day, while over 268 participated in structured activities such as sunrise yoga, sunset paddles, paddleboard, nature, arts and sports programs, with 76% of those noting they had engaged in a new activity! Creative funding enabled the program to cost a little over $300.

WildflowersBest New Environmental Sustainability: The Wildflower Pilot Project: The Parks & Recreation and General Services departments, as well as representatives from Keep James City County Beautiful and the Historic Rivers Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists came together for a common purpose – to replace mowed grass areas in the County with wildflowers. This pilot planting was created at the entrance to Freedom Park, and resulted in reduced mowing by staff, an increase in habitat for pollinators, and the beautification of a busy traffic corridor in James City County. 

Boo Bash floor decalsMost Innovative Marketing Piece: Boo Bash at the Beach Floor Decals: Knowing that the James City County Recreation Center attracts some 1,100 visitors each day, staff used a space that is not typically used for marketing events – the floor. Looking for inexpensive advertising solutions, removable vinyl floor decals became an additional marketing tool to capture the interest of patrons. For less than $85, the floor decals attracted the attention of an estimated 13,200 people during the two week promotional cycle in which they were displayed.  

The mission of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society is to unite all professionals, students, and interested laypersons engaged in the field of recreation, parks, and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on the Society contact the state office at 804-730-9447 or visit the website at

Cover Photo: Three Parks & Recreation programs and one staff member received top honors during the Virginia Recreation and Park Society annual awards banquet. Accepting the awards are (l-r): Alister Perkinson, Parks Administrator, Wildflower Pilot Project; Sarah O'Reilly, Sports/Outdoor Program Coordinator and Christopher McKnight, Freedom Park Program Coordinator, Project 547; and Joy Johnson, Special Events Coordinator for Boo Bash Decals and also recognized as VRPS's 2018 Outstanding New Professional.

Media Contact:
Veda McMullen, Senior Communications Specialist


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