County Programs Win Best in State Recreation Honors
Date: October 10, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Veda McMullen, James City County Parks & Recreation, Communications Coordinator
Three James City County Parks and Recreation projects won top honors from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS). The James City County Stadium, the Peer Mediation Program and division’s Summer Camp Brochure were all winners in the 50, 001 – 100,000 population categories. The Stadium won the Society’s award for Best New Facility, Peer Mediation for Best New Program and the 2007 Summer Camp Brochure for Best Promotional Effort/Basic Promotional Piece.
The James City County Stadium opened in August 2007 bringing a new level of energy to the Warhill Sports Complex. In the spirit of cooperation, James City County and Williamsburg/James City County School staff met to identify critical athletic needs and to address design and operation issues. The result is a major community asset – a 21 acre, 3,000 seat facility that accommodates varsity football, soccer and field hockey games for the three local high schools as well as championships, tournaments and a variety of community needs. Owned and operated by the County, the Stadium features synthetic turf which allows users more play time in all types of weather and requires less field maintenance. The Stadium continues to play host to the home teams, with record attendance. Its success is not only as an innovative facility, but also as a new opportunity for our youth to come out, to play and to aspire to be the best in their athletic endeavors.
The Peer Mediation Program is a partnership between Parks and Recreation and the Virginia Cooperative Extension– 4-H Youth Development. The program is designed for youth in grades 6-12, teaching them how to peacefully resolve disputes by building self-respect and respect for others, improving verbal communications through listening to conflicting viewpoints and by developing effective problem-solving and decision-making skills. In 2007, more than 147 participants took advantage of the training, becoming certified youth mediators. In addition, 40 elementary school children in grades K-5 have completed the similar Peace Corner training since its inception in 2006.
The Summer Camp Brochure is an informational publication that has successfully responded to the needs of parents enrolling their children in the County’s summer camp programs. The County offers a wide variety of summer camps for community youth. Initially, each program coordinator was responsible for promotion of their respective programs. In an effort to maximize promotion and combine advertising funds and to avoid duplication of job tasks, staff combined all the programs into one publication. For nominal cost, staff was able to provide families with a very valuable, easy to read, one-stop shopping guide on summer camp opportunities. Distribution of the brochure was set to coincide with the annual and very popular Summer Camp Expo. On the first day of its release at the Expo, more than $7,000 in camp registration fees were collected in the first three hours of the event. Parents continue to comment on the brochure’s fun look, readability and the convenience of having one publication. More than $1,000 was saved in advertising cost and countless hours of staff time redirected to other division projects.
“While the primary purpose of our programs is to meet the needs of our citizens, it’s always nice to be recognized for innovation and excellence,” noted Parks and Recreation Director Ned Cheely.
VRPS awards are presented annually to recognize exemplary members and agencies in the Recreation community. The awards were presented to James City County at the VRPS Annual Conference held recently in Richmond.