Arlington Parks and Recreation was the recipient of three awards at the 2018 Texas Recreation & Park Society’s (TRAPS) North Region Conference, held on Friday, Oct. 19, in Rockwall, Texas. APRD took home top honors in the Arts & Humanities Programming (Stars of Texas Project), Communications/Marketing (annual social media plan) and Excellence in Senior Programming (Aging Well Expo) categories.
The awards come on the heels of the department winning the 2018 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in September as one of the nation’s top parks and rec agencies. Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials.
2018 TRAPS North Region Awards
Arts & Humanities Programming Award: Stars of Texas Project
The Star of Texas project is a public art initiative that celebrates the City’s brand, “Arlington: The American Dream City”, and public art in our community. It was sponsored by the City of Arlington, Downtown Arlington Management and the Arlington Museum of Art and includes 20 five-foot tall, fiberglass stars, each one representing an artist’s interpretation of the living the American Dream in Arlington. The stars are positioned throughout Arlington including many in our parks system.
In 2016, the City and the Arlington Museum of Art launched the “Star of Texas Challenge” with a simple, fun purpose: challenge visitors and residents to visit all 20 stars and share their photos on social media. Winners received a special edition “Star of Texas” t-shirt. The City also created a separate Facebook page and website for the challenge, http://www.arlington-tx.gov/star-of-texaschallenge/, which provided a detailed Google map for each star’s location.
Communications/Marketing Award: Social Media Content and Strategy
Through a strategic approach to social media communications and marketing that includes content on Snapchat, Nextdoor, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, the parks marketing team has elevated program/event awareness, built brand loyalty, increased its social media following and driven revenue to the department.
The marketing division is now able to track targeted Facebook and Google AdWords campaigns through the sales transaction from its new online registration platform, providing a clear ROI from specific advertising campaigns.
Always seeking innovative ways to reach residents of all ages, Arlington was one of the first in Texas to utilize the NextDoor neighborhood community and Snapchat. The marketing team created a Snapchat geofilter for its Light Up Arlington Independence Day Celebration. Attendees that accessed Snapchat within the pre-determined radius were greeted with a customized photo frame that encouraged users to utilize the #LUA2018 hashtag.
Excellence in Senior Programming Award: Aging Well Expo
The City of Arlington’s 2018 Aging Well Expo served over 1,500 adults throughout the Tarrant County community. This free expo was packed with health professionals, a variety of informative presentations on wellness, health screenings, fitness demonstrations and much more which engaged and empowered adults of all ages.
On top of learning ways to improve their health and lifestyles, participants also received information on various services and resources available such as housing opportunities and volunteerism throughout the city.
By taking ‘Senior’ out of the name of the Health and Wellness Fair last year, Arlington Parks was able to expand offerings and educational opportunities impacting a wider age range of adults. This one small change allowed Arlington Parks to reach beyond the senior population and influence active adults as young as 30 years old through aging seniors in their late 80s and up.