(Dublin, OH) The City of Dublin’s Parks and Recreation Department is honored to receive three Awards of Excellence from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA).
The awards included:
- First Place for Historical and Cultural Arts Programs and Events: Flocks of Hope
- Third Place for Historical and Cultural Arts Programs and Events: Get Your Irish On All Weekend Long
- Third Place for Health and Wellness Programs and Events: The Dog Days of Summer
The City of Dublin’s Community Outreach and Engagement team received two of the awards each for their Flocks of Hope and The Dog Days of Summer programs.
OPRA’s highest recognition in the Historical and Cultural Arts Programs and Events category went to the Flocks of Hope community initiative. According to Japanese legend, cranes are mystical creatures that live for a thousand years. It is said that if one were to fold a thousand paper cranes, each to represent every year, a wish will be granted.
The City of Dublin asked its community to make such a wish – together. The goal was to receive 1,000 paper cranes. The City of Dublin surpassed this goal and collected nearly 2,500 paper cranes from the community!
After the cranes completed their flight while on display at the Dublin Community Recreation Center, the cranes landed in Central Ohio homeless shelters to lift spirits and share the messages of hope written on the cranes’ wings. The shelters also received instructions on how to make a paper crane if the residents would want to make their own paper crane.
Third place in the Health and Wellness Programs and Events went to the City’s Dog Days of Summer initiative. The City’s Outreach and Engagement division coordinated tail wagging visits to senior living facilities in a safe, caring way. Dublin volunteers signed up to walk their dogs in small, physically distant parades to bring a smile to residents.
Seeing the dogs connected with the seniors on a deep level, sparking fond memories and bringing joy to their hearts. After the City concluded the program, one facility has “adopted” the program and has continued to welcome visiting dogs for the residents to meet.
The City’s final award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association was third place in the Historical and Cultural Arts Programs and Events category recognizing Dublin’s most popular event, the Dublin Irish Festival. In response to the global pandemic, the City of Dublin pivoted its traditional Dublin Irish Festival to an online, virtual format! Consisting of the same great music, Irish dancing, Celtic cooking recipes and more, the “Get Your Irish On All Weekend Long” virtual event was a hit. More than 65,000 fans around the world tuned in to join the virtual festivities streaming on DublinIrishFestival.org and the Festival’s Facebook page. While the 2020 virtual festival was a success, the City of Dublin is hopeful that it may host the Dublin Irish Festival at Coffman Park in 2021.
Since 1967, these prestigious awards have showcased outstanding achievements among Ohio’s parks and recreation agencies in 13 categories, ranging from park development to leadership. The awards are adjudicated by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from across Ohio.
“I’m proud to work with a great team of professionals who are dedicated to delivering quality programming to our community,” said Parks & Recreation Director Matt Earman. “We are humbled by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association’s decision to award the City of Dublin three honors among all the great work of Ohio’s parks and recreation teams. I want to congratulate my team and thank each and every one of them for all they do to make such a positive difference in our community.”
“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “These efforts are a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present these awards.”
Award winners will be recognized at the OPRA Annual Awards Dinner on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at the Kalahari Resort and Conference Center in Sandusky.
For a complete list of 2020 OPRA Award winners and submissions, visit https://opraonline.org/awardwinners/
Incorporated in 1963, OPRA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing approximately 2,000 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality parks and recreation facilities and opportunities for all Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio’s natural resources, positively impacting local economies and health and wellness of its citizens.
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