The East Bay Regional Park District received an Award of Excellence from the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) at the 2014 California and Pacific Southwest Recreation and Park Training Conference held March 5-7, 2014 in Ontario, California. The Park District’s Healthy Parks Healthy People Festival received top honors in the category of “Creating Community: Health and Wellness.'
The Park District held the free Healthy Parks Healthy People Festival at Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area in Fremont for three years – in June of 2011, 2012, and 2013. The event was hosted by EBRPD in partnership with the US Forest Service, in conjunction with its “National Outdoors Day.”
EBRPD Board President Ayn Wieskamp enthused, “I can’t think of a more worthy prize for the Park District, as this festival is one of our best endeavors ever! Telling people about the parks and how they can have fun, and at the same time get into good habits, is terrific.”
51 agencies submitted entries in the “Creating Community” category of the 2013 CPRS Awards of Excellence, and nine awards were given. CPRS Executive Director Jane H. Adams stated, “These agencies represent the finest in initiatives addressing community issues, recreation programming, park planning, facility design, and marketing and communications in California.” Entries were assessed on how well they addressed a significant issue, the resourcefulness of the agency, the execution including partnering with community groups, the accomplishments of the entry, and to the extent to which the entry supports the CPRS mission.
The Park District’s Healthy Parks Healthy People Festival was noted for creative approaches and community collaborations including the partnership with the US Forest Service; culturally diverse entertainment and multi-cultural outreach; engagement with community groups; sponsorships by community partners including Kaiser Permanente and Washington Healthcare System; and youth engagement. The festival drew 2,000 – 3,500 visitors per year. To watch a video of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Festival, please go to: /features/hphpfestival_2013.
Board Member Carol Severin was on site in Ontario with fellow EBRPD Director Doug Siden to accept the award on behalf of the Park District. “Parks have an important role to play in community health and wellness,” remarked Ms. Severin, “The festival was a creative way to engage the public and share the message about outdoor recreation and its benefits.”
“We’re all on the same page now – the doctors, the health system, and the parks,” added Ms. Wieskamp. “Getting healthy outdoors isn’t just for athletes – the whole family can come out, and be healthier as a result.”
The California Park and Recreation Society is a membership organization with 3,100 members representing the 535 local parks and recreation agencies throughout the state. The mission of CPRS is to advance the profession and its members through education, networking, resources, and advocacy. www.cprs.org
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 114,000+ acres in 65 parks including over 1,200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning. Find out more at www.ebparks.org.
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