Monday, April 25, 2016

Why I Love the Virginia Senior Games

by LaTanya K. Turner
Recreation Manager
Isle of Wight County Parks and Recreation

2016 VRPS Vice President

…And I do, love the Virginia Senior Games

I started volunteering for the Virginia Senior Games back in 2006. Virginia Beach was hosting the games and I helped with the officiating of the horseshoe tournament. While I was there I also had the opportunity to check out some of the basketball games. At the time, I was surprised at the athleticism displayed and delighted by the enthusiasm of the participants. Up to that point most of my recreation experiences involved children or teens, I hadn’t experienced the senior population much.

Fast forward a few years and I was working with seniors, and we had our own local Senior Games! As a Parks and Rec professional and a track coach I was so excited to put two things I love together for the good of the citizens I was serving. Seniors came from all over the area to compete, have lunch and share a laugh. They walked, ran, threw the shot put, discus, and javelin and they had a grand time doing it. Some were there just for our games and some were there to practice for the “big dance”- the Virginia Senior Games. As you know, this is not a shy retiring group of folks, and the “retiring” part only refers to where they may be in this stage of their life! They are fierce competitors and some are more determined than ANY youth I’ve ever seen compete.

When the Games came to Newport News I knew it was my chance to help out again as it was in my area. I met people from all over Virginia - they came from near and far, and I enjoyed hearing of their journey to the Games and what led them to participate. As I was checking in the runners for the 50m dash, I spoke to a lady 94 years young; she said she had been competing for some time and she liked to tell people she was competing so she could see the look on their faces! The competitors range in age from 50 to infinity and are a very diverse population.

Last year, in 2015, I had the opportunity to be the “Voice of the Senior Games” …well ok, of the Track and Field portion… (self-proclaimed) and I had a blast! The spirit of competition, the pushing beyond boundaries, the teaming up with friends, the families that come to cheer them on, and the Athletes Party! (so much fun it could be its own post J), make this one of the highlights of the year, and definitely a highlight for me. If you are in the area, come on out, commit to volunteer or sign up (2020 billiards here I come!). You really don’t know what you are missing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Nuts and Bolts of Webinars

by Nancy Turnage, VRPS Member Services Coordinator

75 minutes.  After countless hours and input from many sources, VRPS webinars typically come down to 75 minutes of "showtime".

As an example, this discussion will spotlight "What You Need to Know About Tobacco" which was conducted and recorded on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Rita Miller, VDH

November, 2015

Rita Miller, VRPS Board Lay Member and Virginia Department of Health Cessation Services Coordinator for the Tobacco Use Control Program, collaborated with Janit Llewellyn Allen, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Project Manager, on conducting a webinar for VRPS membership in which they inform attendees on (1) the dangers of tobacco use, and (b) limiting tobacco use within parks.

Timing is everything, and as they compared notes and planned at 2015 VRPS Annual Conference in Virginia Beach, Rita and Janit were also able to reign-in Annual Conference Keynote Speaker Tom O'Rourke, Executive Director Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, to provide insight into their project.

January, 2016 

Janit met with VRPS Member Services Coordinator Nancy Turnage to schedule the webinar and identify the nuts and bolts.

Rita and Janit worked independently compiling slideshows to showcase content, with Rita focusing on:

  • History of Tobacco
  • Target Marketing to Youth
  • Introduction of New Tobaccco Products
  • The Toll and Perils of Tobacco
  • How to Take Action
  • The Facts About Cigarette Butt Pollution

Janit Llewellyn Allen, DCR

while Janit explored how three Virginia localities are addressing tobacco control and prevention.  Janit solicited the input of VRPS members Sarah Baldwin (Deputy Director, Fairfax County Park Authority), and Jim Perdue (Parks District Manager, Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation) to share their experiences of tobacco use restriction in parks within their localities.

On a separate but related effort, Rita and Janit are also collaborating on an article for the June edition of VRPS' Parks and Recreation magazine.

February, 2016

Courtesy Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation

When Rita and Janit felt they had final drafts, they solicited the assistance from peers at their respective Virginia agencies for feedback.

VRPS Central Office began marketing the webinar via the weekly E-update member newsletter, E-blasts, and Social Media posts.  Webinar registration and information was made available on the VRPS website.  Typically, VRPS webinars are free to VRPS members only.  Due to the nature of the critical content of "What You Need to Know About Tobacco", and in keeping with its goals, VRPS made the decision to make the webinar free to the general public.

VRPS goals include:

  • Provide and encourage continuous training opportunities for members;
  • Improve recreation, parks, and leisure services to the public;
  • Update members on current trends and opportunities in the profession;
  • Disseminate information to the public through use of publications and media;
  • Maintain current academic curriculum;
  • Involve interested citizens in advisory, participatory, and volunteer efforts supportive of parks, recreation, and leisure services programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • Maintain a professional register of qualified recreation and park personnel.

March, 2016

While the slides were being created, edited, re-edited, and shared, the VRPS Certification Education Board was reviewing the webinar application to be eligible for .1 CEU by attendees who request to purchase and earn the CEU.

The CEU Board is comprised of:

  • Chair, Shannon Moore, CPRP, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation
  • Ed Matthews, CPRP, City of Norfolk Recreation, Parks, & Open Space
  • Vic Garber, CPRP, Charlottesville Parks & Recreation Department
  • Ashley Greene, CPRP, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
  • Arlana Fauntleroy, CPRP, James City County Parks & Recreation

The board reviews CEU applications to assure that the educational opportunity meets all criteria as defined by VRPS and NRPA:

  1. Activity is planned in response to educational needs that have been identified for a target audience.
  2. Activity has clear, concise, and measurable written statements of intended learning outcomes.
  3. Qualified instructional personnel are involved in planning and conducting each activity.
  4. Content and instructional methods are appropriate for the intended learning outcomes of each activity.
  5. Participants must demonstrate their attainment of the learning outcomes.
  6. The participants evaluate each learning activity.

April, 2016

Jim Perdue, Janit Llewellyn Allen, Rita Miller finalize details prior to the webinar.  Sara Baldwin was able to contribute remotely.

  • VRPS scheduled a connectivity webinar test for all persons to be speaking during the course of the 75-minute webinar.
  • The webinar was held and recorded.
  • CEU certificates were distributed to those attendees who purchased and earned the .1 CEU.
  • The webinar recording was made available via emails to registrants, the VRPS website, social media, and E-update.

Courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority

Many thanks to all the professionals who made this webinar, and all VRPS webinars, possible!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Special Events in the Fast Lane

The Central Service Area is pleased to announce their upcoming spring educational workshop. “Special Events in the Fast Lane” will spotlight special event planning and  management at Richmond International Raceway. Registration is limited to 50 attendees, so please don’t wait to sign up. CSA looks forward to seeing you at RIR on May 25!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Everybody's Irish on March 17th

The VRPS Executive Committee is comprised of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Lay Member, and Executive Director.  This subset of the VRPS Board of Directors meets three times each year (March, June, October), in between the four full Board meetings (January, April, July, November) in order to:

  1. set the agenda for Board meetings,
  2. make operational and management recommendations to the Board,
  3. provide general supervision of Society affairs between Board meetings, and
  4. serve as the Personnel Committee.

VRPS Members can view previous VRPS Board meeting minutes and packets on the VRPS website after logging-in.

Your VRPS Executive Committee held their first meeting of the year on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2016.  Without pre-planning, the entire crew showed up in green!

The 2016 Executive Committee members, from left-to-right in the photo, are:

  • Treasurer Kirk Kincannon, CPRP (Fairfax County Park Authority)
  • Guest and 2015 VRPS President Marcy Durrer, CPRP (Hanover County)
  • President, Margaret Thorne (City of Portsmouth)
  • Lay Member Rita Miller (Virginia Department of Health, Richmond)
  • Executive Director Jim Stutts, CPRP, CAE (VRPS Central Office)
  • Vice President, LaTanya Turner, CPRP (Isle of Wight County)

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you!