More than 500 parks and recreation professionals, commercial vendors, and students convened in James City County for the annual conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society. The conference serves as the pinnacle event for professional development and information sharing amongst parks and recreation agencies from across the Commonwealth. Each year, the conference culminates with a formal awards ceremony recognizing the most impactful projects, programs, and moments from the previous calendar year. Hanover County Parks and Recreation was part of an elite group of agencies recognized in three or more award categories. Awards were received as follows:
Best New Special Event – Spooky Paws
This unique event for canines featured fun, fall-inspired activities at the Taylor Dog Park. Attendees enjoyed canine caricature drawings, a “spooky” obstacle course, and, of course, a Halloween costume contest. The event was sponsored by Bark-N-Sniff Gourmet Dog Bakery who provided special treats for all canines.
Best New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative – Leaders and Legacy: Women of Hanover Exhibition (Hanover Museum of History and Culture)
Opened in October of 2022, the expanded Leaders and Legacy: Women of Hanover Exhibition highlighted stories of female leaders from the 17th-century through today who had significant impacts on Hanover County. The exhibition was curated by local volunteer and historian, Anne Geddy Cross, and much of the display materials were constructed in-house by staff and volunteers. The exhibition remains on display at the Hanover Museum of History and Culture.
Snapshot Moment – “Stay Positive” (Steve Anderson, Groundskeeper)
Hanover Parks and Recreation hosts a fun fall festival each year called Taylor’s SpookyFun Fest at both Pole Green and Poor Farm Parks. Steve Anderson, Groundskeeper, was tasked with leading a carnival game area at the events. Steve let his big personality shine and became the star of the show. The department began to receive feedback from customers on how awesome Steve was during the events. A picture of Steve in action was captured by a colleague and submitted as the snapshot moment. In the months leading up to the event, Steve had experienced a number of tragic events in his personal life but he was able to persevere and “stay positive” to give customers the best experience possible.
“We are fortunate to have an incredibly talented team at Parks and Recreation,” said Aaron Reidmiller, director. “It is no surprise that their hard work has been recognized as exemplary by their peers in the parks and recreation field.”
The Virginia Recreation and Park Society is a private, non-profit professional organization, founded in 1953 and incorporated in 1956. Its purpose is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia, into one body. The members work together to promote and improve the profession in all its diversity. VRPS is affiliated with the National Recreation and Park Association.