November 14, 2022

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Wins Five Industry Awards

Recognized for Best New Facility, Creative Marketing, Volunteerism, and Health and Wellness Initiative

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) continues to be a leader in the parks and recreation field and was recognized with five prestigious awards from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) at the 2022 VRPS Annual Conference held in Virginia Beach, Nov. 5-8, 2022. More than 450 recreation and park professionals from around the state gathered for the annual conference, now in its 68th year.

The awards highlighted innovative ways the department kept the community engaged when programs and services resumed after being restricted during the pandemic. VBPR was recognized in the following categories.

Most Creative Marketing Strategy (Population Above 200,000): Fall Fanatics Challenge

Following the pandemic and re-opening of our facilities in June 2021, it was vital to sustain member engagement and help them return to healthy, active lifestyles. The Fall Fanatics Challenge, a no-cost, low-effort program, incentivized participants to check in at the rec centers 25 times or more within 60 days to meet their health and wellness goals and earn a limited-edition t-shirt featuring their favorite rec center location. For zero investment dollars, the campaign successfully resulted in nearly 2,300 participants, 44,000+ check-ins, 300 membership purchases, and renewals that generated over $27,000 in sales.

Most Creative Marketing Piece (Population Above 200,000): Autism Acceptance

The Marketing & Resource Development team (MRD) worked with Inclusion & Therapeutic Recreation Services to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month in April, which was formerly known as Autism Awareness Month. MRD moved away from the historically used "puzzle-piece" symbol to represent autism awareness and instead pushed the envelope to creatively elevate the diversity of the autism spectrum.

Distinguished Volunteer Service Award: Mr. Walter Camp

Walter T. Camp has served for more than 10 years on multiple volunteer commissions/foundations in the City of Virginia Beach to support, enhance, and further the myriad of the park, recreation, and environmental opportunities. Walter is a catalyst for bringing people together to accomplish goals and putting his words into action. He collaborates with great enthusiasm and energy and is the pinnacle of positive leadership and an influencer. He continues to be a strong advocate of the value of parks and recreation in Virginia Beach.

Best Health and Wellness Initiative (Population Above 200,000): Fit in Motion

Hybrid Fit in Motion is a six-week therapeutic health program offering in-person and virtual meeting options for individuals with disabilities ages 10 and up. The program takes place twice a week for one hour each meeting and focuses on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and knowledge of health concepts.

Facilitators incorporate introductory-level verbal instruction, opportunities to participate hands-on, and visual aids to account for varied learning styles. The in-person participation option takes place at the Kempsville Recreation Center and the virtual participation option is offered through the Zoom platform.

Best New Facility (Parks, Playgrounds, Blueways, Greenways or Trails): (Population Above 200,000): Woodstock Skate Park

The Woodstock Park project is a shining example of how creative solutions can meet the needs of two diverse facility owners. Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) and Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation came together to provide a 5.2-million-gallon wastewater storage facility (WWSF) that is incorporated into a community park resulting in an enhanced park experience.

The innovative solutions yielded a 30,000-square-foot skatepark, a public plaza, a new restroom building with a dedicated family restroom, a playground, three large picnic shelters, two pickleball courts, improved vehicular circulation and parking with ADA access to all elements of the park, including the top of the tanks.

About Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the City's coastal environment, as well as to ensure all residents – regardless of their physical, social and economic circumstances – can access Parks & Recreation programs. The department's vision is to be the national leader in providing enriching and memorable lifelong experiences. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, visit VBgov.com/parks or call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 757-711 Virginia Relay). Sign up for Parks & Rec email newsletters at 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 professionals, students, and interested laypersons engaged in the field of recreation, parks, and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity.

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