Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Deadlines are Coming - Don't Miss Out!

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office


Calendar icon

Friday, July 25
* 10am 2014 AC Meeting

Friday, August 1
* LTI Committee App Deadline
* 2014 AC Online Registration Discount Deadline

Friday, August 15
* 10am 2014 AC Meeting

Wednesday, August 27
* 10am 2015 Management Conference Meeting

Friday, August 29
*10am CSA Meeting
* 5pm 2014 AC Awards Submission Deadline

Monday, September 1
* Central Office Closed

Wednesday, September 10
* 10am 2015 AC Meeting

Tuesday, September 16
* 10am ARG Board@Central Office

Thursday, September 18
* VPG and CAB Meeting
Friday, September 19
* 10am 2014 AC Meeting

Tuesday, September 23
* 1pm ESA Membership Meeting

Wednesday, September 24
* 10am MC 2015 Meeting

Tuesday, September 30
* Online Registration Setup Deadline


August 1:  2014 VRPS Annual Conference
Online Registration Discount Deadline

2014 VRPS Annual Conference Logo


August 1:  Leadership Training Institute
Committee Member Submission


August 29:  2014 VRPS Annual Conference
2013 Awards Submission Deadline


September 5:  Certified Playground Safety Inspector
October 22-24 Course Early Registration Deadline


September 30
:  2014 VRPS Online Registration Submissions
Due to the timing of the 2014 Annual Conference in early December, all online registration requests for workshops and functions for the remainder of 2014 should be submitted to Central Office by COB
Tuesday, 9/30. 
VRPS Logo Blocks Left to Right

Monday, July 21, 2014

2014 VRPS Members in the Community: Lisa Walker

Lisa Walker is a former VRPS member and worked at Hanover County Parks and Recreation as well as Roanoke City Parks and Recreation. She is a 2011 VRPS Outstanding New Professional Winner and recently left the profession to pursue her own business.  Most recently, Lisa has been providing services to Central Office as they transition to a new employment structure.

by Lisa Walker, VRPS Central Office

Interchangeable Magnetic
What is your business and how did it all start?
I own and operate Whimsical Expressions, and specialize in custom wood monograms and signs.  This whole adventure started back in 2008 while I was working with Hanover County Parks and Recreation. There I met Mary Ann Stamey, a fellow VRPS member, and she got me involved with paper crafting.  With her help we made just about everything for my wedding and from then on I was hooked on crafting.  That Christmas I made all my gifts and got so many compliments I decided I’d give selling my creations a shot. I started with just making frames, and that evolved into small signs which then evolved into my most recent venture of making wood monograms and larger custom signs. Although this all started as a side business, over the past couple of years it grew so much I had to make the difficult decision to leave my career with Parks and Recreation to pursue my dream full time.

What was your greatest concern or doubt, and how did it turn out?  
Swirl Initials
Honestly, my greatest fear was, and still is, failure. So far taking the plunge has been a great decision for my family and it’s going very well, but there is always that scary unknown factor when running your own business. Thankfully I have a great support group of family and friends that are always rooting me on.

How do you feel your involvement in the parks and recreation profession and VRPS have benefited you in your business?
If I never would have worked in parks and recreation, I would probably still be scared to death of speaking in front of people.  And let’s face it, when you are trying to sell a product, you really need to be able to speak with confidence.  One of the most beneficial programs I was involved in during my time in VRPS was the Leadership Training Institute (LTI). Here I gained the confidence to speak up, step up and be a better leader. These skills have contributed to me being a better businesswoman, and the friendships I’ve made over the years are an awesome bonus!  

24" Monogram
If you could choose one thing to happen for Whimsical Expressions in the future, what would it be?
Continued growth…and retirement to a tropical island! Ok, that’s two things but seriously, I would love to see my dream take off and to have a nationally recognized brand.

Where can people find/buy your products?
The easiest way is to visit my website www.whimsicalxpressions.com. My products can also be found in several stores in the Richmond area and I do a variety of shows and festivals throughout the year.

Lisa received "Best in Show - Original Hand Craft"
 at the Gloucester Daffodil Festival this past spring.
Display at The Stolen Pig in Carytown.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2014 Annual Conference: Online Awards Submission for 2014

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

Welcome to the Virginia Recreation & Park Society’s Annual Awards and Citations program.  New this year is a completely paperless system for awards nominations.  We hope that this process will be seamless for you and any constructive feedback would be appreciated after you complete the process.  This is the first year, so we are sure that we can continue to make improvements for next year.
Recognize a co-worker or fellow staff member for their outstanding work during the year!

Important things you need to know BEFORE you start the uploading process:
*  You will want to have all of your award nominations ready for uploading before you start the process.
*  All award nominations should be in PDF format, but we will accept other formats such as Word, JPEGs, etc.  When possible, please include all photos and supporting materials in a SINGLE document.
*  Prepare your original narration with double-space text (minimum of 12 pt. font) and then include your photos at the end.  If you have other supporting materials such as buttons, shirts, signs, banners, etc., you will take a photo of those items and include those photos within your original narration as previously noted.
*  Please include high-resolution photos in your narration (300 dpi minimum).
*  Awards to be considered are for the period of January 1-December 31, 2013 only.
*  VRPS Awards & Citations Committee reserves the right to re-direct entries into appropriate categories.  Incorrect submissions for population divisions will not be redirected.
*  If you are submitting a nomination but it is for a joint project, each agency will need to submit separately, upload the supporting document, and pay the nomination fee.  Please remember that joint agency submissions must combine populations from each submitting agency.
*  Nominations for individual awards must include one photo of the nominee.
*  If you are uploading a video as supporting documentation, you will need to provide a complete URL for the video, and the video must remain online and active until October 31, 2014.
*  2010 Census information must be obtained from the US Census Bureau at www.census.gov.  VRPS Awards & Citations Committee suggests that you use the QuickFacts option in the center of teh home page.  Once you generate your census information for your city or county, please save it as a PDF.  You will upload this information only once as part of the Official Nomination Form.
*  All nominations will require payment via credit card
*  Once you complete the process, you should receive an email confirmation.

For a complete explanation of the Awards & Citations categories and the judging criteria, please CLICK HERE for the summary sheet.
For a list of Awards & Citations Committee members, please CLICK HERE.  If you have questions about the upload process or the judging criteria or something in general, please contact a committee member at your convenience.
The most important thing to remember:  this year’s deadline is Friday, August 29 at 5:00pm.  We will utilize your submission’s timestamp to ensure that all submissions meet the 5:00pm cut-off.

Click HERE to submit your online Awards Application

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 VRPS Members in the Community: Daniel Ronquillo

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

For months I've been after Recreational Therapist and VRPS Professional member Daniel Ronquillo for a blog on his work with therapy dogs, but looks like NBC 12 in Richmond, Virginia beat me to it!  Congratulations Daniel (and of course Frasier and Schaffer)!

Click HERE and enjoy this bit by Rachel DePompa.

Photo courtesy of NBC 12

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Everybody Loves Hershey's

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Central Office

I haven't met him in person yet, but my role at VRPS, and in particular in composing the weekly E-update and maintaining the website, have connected me with Paul Berryman, VRPS Professional member and Virginia's Hershey's Track and Field State Coordinator.  Every year around this time, we work out the details of updating the Hershey Track and Field page on the VRPS website as well as the VRPS Hershey contact information.  Paul is in the midst of his 10th year of managing the Hershey games for Virginians; in 2004, he was "passed the baton" by Rudolph Freeman approximately three weeks before the state meet due to medical necessity.
Year after year, Paul sees the great benefit of the Hershey program:

The Hershey's Track and Field Games are a competitive event for kids to have fun and experience the benefits of basic exercise skills.  As a volunteer for Virginia Beach's local meet for the first time in 1996, I enjoyed the excitement of watching the kids compete.  I didn't truly see how important a program it was until the first time Ned Cheely, Jr. asked me to help chaperone the Virginia participants to Hershey for the North American Finals.  The experience of seeing the kids meet as total strangers at the airport on Day One, and then witnessing the excitement, camaraderie, competitiveness, and support for each other throughout the even and leaving Hersey as the best of friends on Day Four encouraged me to become more involved with the program.

I had heard mention of the Hershey games from my past, and I've poked around on their website to see a little of its history, but nothing compares to the experience.  Jim Stutts, VRPS Executive Director, spectated at the recent Virginia State Meet on June 21 in Crozet:

It was amazing to see the effort put forth by the young athletes.  In addition it was very good to see the genuine support from the spectators.  Competitive sports are good in so many ways.  It was especially interesting to me because just 30 days ago I attended the Virginia Senior Games Track and Field event.  The passion, effort, support, and enthusiasm was identical to that of the Hershey's youth Track and Field event!  Some things never change.  The ability to compete and support each other and stay active, happy and healthy are awesome qualities.  Thanks to the volunteers for working so hard on both of these events.
Adam Leiderman (Virginia Assistant State Chair from Virginia Beach, left) and Steve Wood (retired from Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation - returned to duty to announce the Virginia State Hershey meet) showcase the Hershey souvenir T-shirt

This year's Hershey games are especially nostalgic, as they mark the end of an almost 40-year tradition. In April, USA Track & Field (USATF) and The Hershey Company announced the launch of a national youth activity initiative as part of a new, seven-year partnership that features “Run Jump Throw”, designed for kids ages 7-12. Hershey’s Track & Field Games will transition to the national Run Jump Throw program in early 2015.

Using the volunteer-based model that made Hershey’s Track & Field Games successful since 1975, Run Jump Throw events will offer a participation-based model for organizers and participants. USATF will supervise the program. Fundamental skills taught as part of the curriculum will include warm-up, proper running technique for sprinting and distance running, jumping and throwing skills. The clinics will be followed by a “practice meet” for kids to apply their skills.

Children participating in Run Jump Throw will be encouraged to continue to pursue the sport, either through parks and recreation programs, school programs or through USATF clubs and associations.


Paul says this about his Hershey days:
As the State Chair, it has been an honor to represent so many talented and respectful children who have kept me feeling young with all their energy.  It will be sad to see the program end after this year, but it leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment in serving the youth throughout the state.

The North American Final Meet is August 2, 2014  -- where else --- in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Virginia is part of the Hershey Southeast Region, also known as Region 8.
Left to right:  Adam Leiderman,, Lauren Mike (longtime volunteer and chaperone for North American Finals in Hershey), Paul Berryman, and Renee Stocks Madison (first-time volunteer from Virginia Beach)