On Monday, September 11, the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) recognized Roanoke Parks and Recreation at their 2023 Annual Conference. The department received awards for Best Health and Wellness Initiative, Most Creative Marketing Strategy, and Outstanding New Professional.
The 2023 VRPS Annual Conference, held in James City County, brought together industry professionals, students, and businesses engaged in the field of parks, recreation, and leisure services. The conference offered educational sessions, speakers, and networking opportunities for park and recreation professionals across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The awards ceremony, held Monday, September 11 at Busch Gardens, honored individuals, departments, and organizations that demonstrated excellence in 17 different categories. Judged by a jury of its peers, Roanoke Parks and Recreation received three awards:
- Best Health and Wellness Initiative, for the Mini Miler program: The Mini Miler program offered a creative opportunity for students in PLAY Roanoke’s after school program to be involved in the annual 100 Miler program. By encouraging and supporting movement during the winter months, the Mini Miler brought health and wellness to a new group of participants.
Most Creative Marketing Strategy, recognizing the “For the Love of Parks” campaign: Developed to promote the Roanoke Parks Foundation, the “For the Love of Parks” campaign focused on educating the public by using a variety of marketing tactics.
- Outstanding New Professional, awarded to Samantha Matson, Urban Forestry Program Supervisor: Since joining the department in 2020, Sam Matson (ISA Certified Arborist) has proven to be an outstanding professional through her contributions to the Urban Forestry section, as well as her involvement in department-wide and city-wide initiatives.
“We are very proud to have been recognized by our state society with these awards.” said Michael Clark, Director of Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “It’s very gratifying be recognized for our programming and marketing efforts, and to celebrate an incredibly hardworking staff member!”