Danville Parks and Recreation’s Cardboard Challenge was recently named Best New Program during Virginia Recreation and Park Society’s 60th Annual Conference held at The Homestead.
Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards. This prestigious state-wide program honors individuals, agencies and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence in any of several areas during the previous calendar year. Over 90 applications were received vying for awards in 13 different categories, including Best New Program, Best New Special Event, Best New Facility and promotional awards for traditional and specialty media. Judged by a jury of its peers, the Society paid tribute to Danville’s Cardboard Challenge in the Best New Special Event category for organizations serving populations of 25,000 – 50,000
After discovering the 2013 Global Cardboard Challenge was to be held on October 5, 2013, the same day as the annual Children’s Festival; Danville’s Cardboard Challenge was created. The event goal for the Challenge was to create a community event that focused on creative play, teamwork and giving back.
The Challenge was shaped into a competition where schools, community groups, civic organizations, athletic/booster clubs and creative individuals could win money for their favorite local non-profit. The goals were to get sponsorships for the monetary incentives, and have 5 building groups and 5 non-profits signed up for the Challenge. Staff then came up with a few simple guidelines. Non-profits that wanted to receive any monetary donations were required to be a 501(c)3 and pre-register for the Challenge. This was to ensure the legitimacy of each organization. Building groups were also required to pre-register and submit the name of the non-profit they were building for and the approximate size of the project. This was key in ensuring there enough room for each cardboard project.
The Challenge was able to secure $10,000 in funds from the Danville Regional Foundation in a Make It Happen grant, $3,000 in sponsorship from Danville Regional Medical Center and $1,000 in sponsorship from Walmart. Between the grant and sponsorships, 95% of the event cost was covered.
Projects were judged in the following categories: Best in Show - $2500, Most Creative - $1500, Most Functional - $1500, Best Sign - $250, Tallest - $250, Largest Team - $250, Best River Theme - $1000, Most Colorful -$250, Best Elementary School project - $1000, Best Secondary School project - $1000 and Best Day-of-Project - $500.
Groups could only enter one project however projects could win in more than one category. The marketing and promotion of this event was done through partnerships with the Danville Public Schools and Danville’s large non-profit network. Parks and Recreation staff dispersed information about the Challenge to teachers, attended several non-profit meetings, and sat for interviews with local media. Utilizing social media, the Challenge was promoted to friends of staff by sharing cardboard building tips and project inspiration.