VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) continues to be a leader in parks and recreation and received three prestigious awards from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) at the VRPS Awards Banquet which was held in Harrisonburg, Virginia last month. The 2021 awards highlighted innovative ways the department maintained community engagement during a time when COVID-19 restrictions limited in-person gatherings.
- Best New Program (population over 200,000): Virtual program collaboration between Virginia Beach and New Jersey Therapeutic Recreation (TR)
Trying to stay innovative and keep participants engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic, VBPR’s Therapeutic Recreation and Inclusion Programs Unit began to exchange information and share strategies with other programmers. TR across the country. This awareness led to a partnership with Somerset, the Therapeutic Recreation Programs unit of the New Jersey Parks Commission to offer three virtual collaborative events during the summer of 2020. The programs included a virtual Africa safari tour. , a Zumba fitness experience and an educational drawing session. These virtual gatherings allowed participants to socialize at a time when many were experiencing severe effects on their mental health due to isolation and fear. It also gave them new outlets to share with each other and bond as a group.
- Most Innovative Marketing Piece (Population Over 200,000): Hidden Gems Video Series
When COVID-19 caused all events and programs to be canceled, the VBPR marketing team worked with the park’s Events, Programs and Special Uses (PEPSU) staff to create a way to engage with the online community. . A âHidden Treasureâ nature video series was produced to introduce residents to many features of the city’s âhiddenâ park. The 20-plus video series explored a range of topics from kayaking access points to native wildlife and accessible trails. YouTube and Facebook videos have generated over 40,000 views and continue to provide relevant information to city residents.
- Most innovative marketing strategy (population of over 200,000 people): Virtual Earth Day 2020
VBPR has reinvented the 50th anniversary celebration of Earth Day and moved the outdoor and in-person plans to the virtual world while maintaining the outreach and engagement goals to strengthen the community’s environmental engagement. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) has taken a multimedia marketing approach to promote online activities and interactive programs for the week-long celebration. The promotions were hosted on the website, VBGov.com/EarthDay and distributed through email marketing, social media, print advertising and media outreach using VBPR’s internal marketing team.
The online festivities included interactive, family and inclusive activities, virtual programs, videos, a photo contest and a quiz to engage and educate residents to be conservationists. All marketing channels have been activated to cross-promote the weeklong celebration.
More than 400 delegates, exhibitors, speakers and volunteers from across the state gathered for the annual conference, now in its 67th year. The conference is a learning exchange and offers recreation and park professionals the opportunity to discuss areas of common interest.
About Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the city’s coastal environment, as well as to ensure that all residents, regardless of their physical, social, and economic status, can access parks and recreation programs. The vision of the ministry is to be the national leader in providing rewarding and memorable experiences throughout life. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certification agency for the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information visit VBgov.com/parcs or call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay). Sign up for Parks & Rec e-newsletters on VBgov.com/eNews. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/VBparksrec.
About Virginia Recreation and Park Society
The mission of VRPS is to unite all interested professionals, students and laypersons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other recreation services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity.
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