Last Tuesday parks and recreation professionals from across Oklahoma met in Norman for the 2018 Oklahoma Recreation and Parks Society Conference. The evening celebrated the best work being done by departments in communities across the state. Numerous awards were handed out and Ardmore came home with some of the most prestigious ones presented. Among numerous other honors, the team from Ardmore came home with an Award of Excellence for a Program or Special Event for Santa’s Workshop, an Award of Excellence for Marketing and Communications, and Director Teresa Ervin received the Distinguished Service Award.
Ervin said that Ardmore competes against some of the largest cities in the state in these areas since there are no separate categories for larger and smaller communities.
Assistant Director Alicia Henry outlined some of the requirements that went into receiving the marketing award.
“It’s not just judged on one specific event but how you market your entire department,” Henry said. “They consider your brochures, flyers and web pages. For example, we run five Facebook pages, and a lot of the bigger cities just have one.”
Henry then described the prestige surrounding Ervin’s Distinguished Service Awards.
“This is the highest award that our state organization gives, and it was awarded to Teresa,” Henry said. “It reflects the passion for parks and recreation and the quality of life that we give back to our communities.”
Only one person can receive the award any given year, and that person must have been working as a leader for a decade or longer.
She then told the story of how she managed to get the information needed to nominate Ervin without her suspecting a thing.
“I knew if I just went in and asked her it was going to be weird,” Henry said. “So we cooked up a plan.”
Henry had a friend who was in college call Ervin and tell her that she was working on an assignment. The assignment involved interviewing a parks and recreation professional.
“So I wrote up the questions and she goes in and asks them all,” Henry said. “I got every answer that I wanted out of that interview and she had no clue!”
Ervin said she was completely surprised and honored when she received the award. Assistant City Manager Kevin Boatright was at the ceremony to witness Ervin being honored. Ervin’s husband was also at the scene to surprise her on her special evening.
“It was all very nice,” Ervin said.