CLAYTON – The newly established Friends of Johnston County Parks group is hosting their first public event Thanksgiving weekend. The #OptOutsideJoCo event is a part of REI’s #OptOutside movement which started in 2015. The event is designed to encourage people to spend time with family and friends outside during Thanksgiving weekend in Johnston County and to share their experiences and photos on Facebook using the hashtag #OptOutsideJoCo. As of Tuesday, a total of 58 people had responded as either attending or interested in attending the event.
The event begins Thanksgiving Day and runs through Cyber Monday. The group is encouraging participants to walk, run, or ride their local greenway, play on their local playground, or visit their local park in Johnston County. The group also reminds those participating in the event to recreate responsibly, including following guidelines from the CDC. While the primary goal of the event is to encourage people to spend time outside, a secondary goal is to increase brand identity and raise awareness for the Friends of Johnston County Parks group and their work.
The Friends of Johnston County Parks was launched in early October and has grown to a core group of 14 people and over 200 followers on their Facebook page. The Friends of Johnston County Parks is a volunteer coalition advocating in support of parks, open space, the arts, and recreational opportunities on behalf of all Johnston County citizens and visitors. The core group’s interests range from athletics to arts to gardening to playgrounds to outdoor recreation and everything in between. Their core group includes graduate students, business owners, community leaders, youth sports coaches, and parks and recreation professionals. The group’s four strategic priorities are advocacy, education, recreation, and stewardship.
“Parks, open space, and greenways have proven essential during the COVID-19 pandemic for exercise, relaxation, and stress relief. We want everyone in Johnston County to know why parks are essential and to understand the value of parks and recreation as it relates to quality of life,” said Dave Herpy, Founder and Chairman of Friends of Johnston County Parks.
“We have the opportunity to shape what the future of parks and open space looks like in Johnston County. This group can be a voice for what is an important aspect of our county community.” said Derrick Applewhite, Vice Chairman of Friends of Johnston County Parks.
Who: Johnston County Citizens and Visitors
When: Thursday, November 26 through Monday, November 30
Where: Any greenway, park, or playground open to the public in Johnston County.
Why: To encourage families and friends to spend time outside together and to showcase our parks.
How: Share your experiences and photos on social media using the hash tag #OptOutsideJoCo
Facebook Event Page: https://fb.me/e/88IaZwRQ4