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James City County Parks & Recreation took home two top honors bestowed by the Virginia Recreation & Park Society (VRPS) during its annual conference in October. Over 400 people from across the state gathered for the 67th annual event held in Harrisonburg. Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards honoring individuals, departments and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence during the previous year. Judged by a jury of our peers, the Society presented Parks & Recreation with awards in the following categories in our population category of 50,001-100,000:Most Innovative Marketing Strategy – Mr. Laz E Bones: Facebook was used to share the adventures of a fictional new resident looking for ways to keep his mind and body active during the pandemic. The series highlighted a different program or park site each day as Mr. Laz E. Bones and his puppy Boo explored James City County, looking for ways and learning how to stay fit. With over 19,000 engagements, Mr. Bones’ wellness journey took him to 13 parks – he fished, kayaked, watched the sunset at the beach, took part in yoga, played basketball, visited before and after school sites and volunteered his support at a special event.Best New Environmental Sustainability - Paint Out Pollution: As an ongoing initiative by the James River Association (JRA), Paint Out Pollution encourages the community to understand the importance of runoff pollution through “storm drain art” painted on sidewalks and walkways. Through their partnership with JRA, James City County Parks & Recreation brought the “art” to the Williamsburg area. Completed in December, 11 “storm drain mascots” were painted in three County parks. Nearly 307,000 cars visited the sites during the first six months of the project. With effective and consistent messaging to reduce and prevent waterway pollution, there is a higher probability of environmental sustainability for the community.The mission of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks, and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The conference is a learning exchange and provides an opportunity for recreation and park professionals to discuss areas of common interest. For more information on the Society, call the state office at 804-730-9447 or visit the website at www.vrps.com
Caption:Parks & Recreation project leaders Angie Sims (left, Most Innovative Marketing Strategy) and Sarah O’Reilly (Best New Environmental Sustainability) coordinated the award-winning projects.
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