Recreation Supervisor Jason Keppler and the Strongsville Rec Department have been honored with a first-place award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association for Keppler’s innovative ‘Play it Safe Virtual Sports Challenges’ in 2020.
Keppler was presented with the award June 8 by Woody Woodward, executive director of OPRA.
He was chosen for first place from more than 200 entries.
With sports leagues sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, Keppler came up with three virtual challenges aimed at keeping kids active in a competitive environment – a Youth Basketball Trick Shot Challenge, Youth Fishing Derby and a Family Sports Scavenger Hunt.
“With everything shut down, the only way I could figure out how to offer sports was virtually,” he said.
Almost 50 kids went fishing, with parents snapping photos of the fish they caught and submitting them via Twitter. Prizes were awarded for longest fish, most fish caught, funniest fish picture and more.
Parents also recorded their kids making the most challenging trick basketball shots, with the ones receiving the most ‘likes’ on Twitter winning prizes.
Families also went on a citywide scavenger hunt to perform specific sports or fitness-oriented tasks, snapping photos as they did. Those who completed the challenge were entered in a drawing to win a free family membership to the Rec Center.
In all, the programs drew about 230 participants.
Woodward said the award recognizes those who made the most significant impact on the lives of Ohioans.
“Kids got to participate in programs where their skills grew, they had fun and they got to compete with other kids,” he said.