Jennifer Jones                                                                                                              
Director, Lynchburg Parks and Recreation
(434) 455 – 5868
Lynchburg Parks and Recreation has been honored with four awards from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS) at its recent Annual Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. Lynchburg Parks and Recreation was presented with awards for Distinguished Service, Best New Environmental Sustainability Program, Best New Renovation Project, and Best Promotional Effort-Specialty.
Lynchburg Parks and Rec VRPS Awards
“We are pleased to see our efforts being recognized on a statewide level,” said Jennifer Jones, Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Director. “Our department has worked extremely hard over the past year to provide the kinds of facilities, events, and personnel that enhance the lives of our Lynchburg residents. Both staff and volunteers of our department perform consistently at the highest levels and I am very proud of these accomplishments.”
Benita Ripley was honored in the category of Distinguished Service. After graduating in 1975 with BA in Recreation Administration and a special emphasis in Special Populations, Benita began her journey with Parks and Recreation. Benita worked as a Recreation Intern with Danville Parks and Recreation 1975; Camp Easter Seal in Craig County, VA; and the Campbell County Recreation Dept.; before being hired in 1975 as the Summer Playground Leader with Lynchburg Parks and Recreation. In Fall of 1975, Benita was slated to become the first Senior Citizen Supervisor for Lynchburg Parks & Recreation. She would remain in this position for approximately 30 years. Eventually, she was promoted to Recreation Service Manager and remained at this post for the last 10 years of her career until her retirement last fall in September 2015. Lynchburg Parks and Recreation is thankful to Benita for her years of service and is honored to announce her as the 2015 Distinguished Service Award recipient.
The Neighborhood Center Teaching Gardens were honored in the category of Best New Environmental Sustainability Program. The gardens were created as a joint effort between the City of Lynchburg’s Neighborhood Centers’ and Park Service Divisions, bringing sustainable fresh food sources to six food deserts in the City of Lynchburg. The gardens were installed with assistance from Liberty University students, local church volunteer groups, our Public Works Department, and local community members, and provide an opportunity for center participants and visitors both young and old to learn all aspects of gardening. Participants also learned about the fresh local produce sold at the local Lynchburg Community Market, SNAP acceptance at LCM as well as how to cook and preserve fresh foods.  Learn more about these gardens and how to participate by visiting
Miller Center was honored in the category of Best New Renovation Project. Miller Center, Lynchburg Parks and Recreation’s newly renovated department headquarters, was renovated between 2012 and 2014, with a grand opening hosted in January 2015. The original school building, built in 1911, now hosts the offices of Lynchburg Parks and Recreation staff, as well as numerous classrooms, studios, and meeting rooms suitable for special events and multi-purpose classes for all ages and abilities. In addition, the building also features a fully-equipped dance / fitness studio on the second floor, the Nature Zone on the first floor, and a 186 seat theater space with comfortable seating, state-of-the-art lighting and audio equipment, and additional backstage space used for public meetings, lectures, and theatrical/musical productions.  Learn more at or visit Miller Center M-F, 8:30am – 5:00pm, at 301 Grove St.
The Lynchburg is For Locavores Campaign was honored in the category of Best Promotional Effort – Specialty. The Lynchburg is for Locavores campaign was a dynamic effort that celebrated locally grown food and aimed to grow the number of people that enjoy it. Through awareness, cultivation, and promotion of what a Lynchburg Locavore is and its importance, the department better served our community by keeping our patrons, our farms, our environment, and our local economy healthy. Learn more about the success of the Lynchburg is for Locavores campaign by visiting
The VRPS’ annual awards are a prestigious statewide program that honors individuals, agencies and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence in any of several areas during the previous year.
“The VRPS awards ceremony recognizes excellence in quality of programs, facilities and events in every region,” said Jason Bookheimer, VRPS Awards Chair and Danville Virginia Community Recreation Division Director. “This year we had a lot of recipients from Lynchburg that we were proud of”.
“There are 120 Parks and Recreation departments in the state and Lynchburg is right up there,” said VRPS Executive Director Jim Stutts.  Jim offered congratulations to each winner for their outstanding contributions to the profession and their community, but also congratulated Benita Ripley personally. “We were particularly proud of Benita Ripley for being recognized in her category. She is a personal friend of mine and has been extremely valuable to her department, so congratulations to her and to Lynchburg Parks and Recreation!”
There were over 101 applications that were received this year, vying for awards in thirty-nine categories. The nominations were evaluated by a panel of parks and recreation professionals.
For more information, please contact (434) 455-5868.
Lynchburg Parks & Recreation contributes to a healthy, active, and educated community, providing stewardship and management of parklands, trails, and civic facilities and creating opportunities for all people to participate in a rich variety of recreational activities. Learn more about our parks, trails, programs and activities at, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For additional information, call (434) 455-5858.