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This month we are featuring our newest community partner, Fauquier County Parks and Recreation
(FCPR). We are delighted to announce that we’ve teamed up with both Fauquier County Parks and Recreation and Town of Warrenton Parks and Recreation to offer a series of Wellness Walks throughout the month of May in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month. Here is our Q&A email exchange with Janet Pulliam, Superintendent, about exciting new directions on the horizon.
The 2023 Parks and Rec theme is “Planting Seeds of Positivity” – how did you select that theme and what initiatives are you offering to support it?
We celebrated our 50th anniversary last year and a lot of positivity was generated by reflecting on all of the accomplishments over the last 50 years. Gary Rzepecki, FCPR Director, wanted to keep the “feel good” momentum going so the tagline “2023 Planting Seeds of Positivity” was born from that aspiration. The direction fits nicely with our new partners in mental health, the work of the We Need Bees Committee and the Warrenton Garden Club, and for all those who utilize our parks and facilities for health and wellness and to strengthen community bonds.
We’re featuring “Wellness Wednesday” and “Feel Good Friday” on our social media channels and the monthly newsletter has a feature which highlights health and mental wellness topics. In May, Gary will lead several free “Wellness Walks” at various FCPR locations. These walks are in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Fauquier County.
How has Fauquier County Parks and Rec evolved over the last couple decades?
The evolution of the department is very well chronicled in a robust Digital Storybook. The Storybook, which was a large part of the 50th Anniversary commemoration, was released on our website last September. The idea is to update it annually so it is a living document and will continue to tell the FCPR story for years to come. Check it out at recreation.fauquiercounty.gov.
What are some areas of growth in terms of programs or facilities/parks?
We’re planning for growth! In 2021, the Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Master Plan was approved and set a course for the future of FCPR as the guiding document for growth, decision making and priorities. The Master Plan for Marshall Community Center was completed in May of last year, and the Vint Hill Village Green Master Plan is in the final stages of completion. These plans included citizen input will chart the course for future growth and may be viewed on our website. We are updating our Community Connections Plan and seeking ways to expand our trail systems.
With regard to programs, we’ve seen tremendous growth in our summer camp programs for youth. These camps were identified as a need for our community so we started with a small full-day camp program for 30 children 2 years ago. When that filled and had a waiting list, we expanded the camp to 50 participants last summer and moved to a larger location. This summer we’ve expanded to allow for 90 children in 2 camp locations.
Parks and Recreation has established many valued partnerships that enable us to share resources and provide high quality educational programs in our beautiful county. We hope to establish more partnerships and expand into Horticultural therapy, Adaptive Gardening, Sensory and light therapies and Bibliotherapy.
What are some things that your team practices to support mental wellness in the workplace?
Fauquier County is a great place to work and offers so many initiatives and opportunities for mental and physical wellness. In partnership with Marathon Health, the employee Wellness Center offers a full range of health assessment and coaching services at no cost to permanent employees and qualified family members. The Employee Assistance Program, free online yoga, and an additional 40 exercise classes a week are a benefit enjoyed by our team members. Several of our staff have recently completed the Mental Health First Aid course and obtained the initial responder certification. Parks and Recreation’s general work structure, telework policy, and for some, working at beautiful park locations support mental well-being. We all get a sense of satisfaction knowing that the work we do benefits our community in a positive way.
What other information would you like to share?
We are always looking for ways to improve service delivery and meet the needs of our community. Contact us if you wish to discuss a possible partnership. Or contact us to donate towards scholarships to the Fauquier Parks Foundation. Let us know your thoughts by visiting our website and clicking on the Give Feedback link.
Thank you, Janet Pulliam, and the FCPR team for all you do to support wellness in our community!
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