Over 500 delegates from around the state gathered last week at the 64th Annual Conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society held in Tysons Corner, Virginia. 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 in any of several areas during the previous year. 115 applications were received vying for awards in 14 different categories. Judged by a jury of its peers, Roanoke Parks and Recreation received the award for Most Innovative Marketing Strategy (population 50,001-100,000) for “Do you Gnome our Parks”.
This program encourages citizens to visit City parks by hiding a gnome in a particular park, greenway, or plaza and giving clues as to where it can be found. Participants can find the clues online or on social media to determine where the gnome is hidden. The person who finds the gnome wins a prize.
The director of the department, Michael Clark, was at the conference to accept the award. “This is a testament to how we continually look for new and better ways to not only market our programs and services, but also engage our community in fun and healthy pursuits,” Clark said.