The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2021 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Mill Creek Golf Courses’ American Junior Golf Association Junior All Star Tournament placed 1st in the sports category of the competition. The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio. “Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”
In the fall of 2015, Mill Creek MetroParks created a partnership with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) to bring a national event to the state of Ohio. In June of 2016, Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation AJGA Junior All Star Tournament was born. The first Junior All Star Tournament saw participants from 19 different states and 3 countries represented. Fast forward to five years later in 2021, the AJGA hosted the standard Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation Junior All Star event with the addition of an AJGA Preview Event allowing the course to host two, 54-hole tournaments with 100 player qualifiers which brought double the visitors to the local community. In addition to the event, the tournament brought in 40+ top college golf coaches from all around the country to recruit players. Spectators were welcome all week and averaged another 250+ people every day of the event. “It’s a great way to showcase the MetroParks and the Golf Course all while giving back to our local community,” says Brian Tolnar, PGA Golf Director.
Year to date, the event has brought a near $2 million financial impact to the community in the form of hotel stays, dining, rental cars, shopping, and entertainment spending along with participants from all 50 states and 37 different countries to Mill Creek MetroParks. Participants and their families have taken advantage of using the MetroParks while in town as well as taking part in many events and education programs that are held during the event week.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for the work that we are doing to impact the local community and the dedication demonstrated by the Golf & Recreation Department here at Mill Creek MetroParks,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director.
The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on February 8, 2022 in Sandusky, Ohio.