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Parks and Recreation Accepts 3 Awards at OPRA Conference

Photo of two adults and one teenager who is holding a trophy

Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department accepted three Awards of Excellence from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) at its annual conference on Wednesday.

The awards included the Youth Outstanding Leadership Award and two second-place awards in multiple competitive categories.

The Youth Outstanding Leadership Award recognizes Christopher Kobs, a senior at Hilliard Darby High School who has served the community in many ways, establishing a pattern of service that has left an indelible mark on the community. Beginning in 2018 as a volunteer camp counselor, he also volunteered and worked as a soccer referee, baseball umpire, and as a student coach for hockey players as young as four. In 2020, he applied for and was appointed as the sole high school student in Hilliard to be a member of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC). The RPAC formed in 2021 to help support Issue 22, a ballot initiative for an income increase to fund the construction of a new community center. Christopher was a huge supporter of Issue 22 and helped inform his peers about its benefits through videos and word of mouth. Christopher has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 4.36 grade point average and while planning for a career in public service and civic law.

Next, Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department won second place in the Marketing Innovations category for the “Path to Possibilities” campaign. This marketing campaign strategically educated the pubic on Issue 22, the income tax ballot initiative approved by residents in 2021.
Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department also took home a second place OPRA award in the Historical and Cultural Arts Programs and Events category for the “I have a Heart for Service” event, which honored Martin Luther King Jr. This new event, created by Parks and Recreation staff, emphasized equality and diversity while connecting King’s heart for service and the City’s core values.

In all, 12 Ohio agencies won first place awards and 24 agencies were honored. A panel of parks and recreation professionals from across Ohio judged submissions for the awards.

“These people are setting the bar in terms of improving the quality of life around the state,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “They are the shining stars of parks and recreation in Ohio.”

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