Orange County, VA – As a Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Grantee, the Orange County Office on Youth spearheaded an effort between the Orange County Parks and Recreation Office, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and the Town Councils of both Orange and Gordonsville to approve and install tobacco-free signage at all County and municipally-owned parks in Orange County. As of April 2020, all publicly owned parks in Orange County are posted as “Tobacco-Free Play Zones.”
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by reducing and preventing youth tobacco use, substance use, and childhood obesity. As a ten-year Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Grantee, the Orange County Office on Youth’s goal was to expand its youth tobacco-prevention efforts to include making recreational areas for both youth and adults healthier in Orange County.
On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the Orange County Board of Supervisors authorized the installation of tobacco-free park signage at various County-owned parks. The signage asks that the public refrain from tobacco product use, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, dip, etc. within fifty (50) feet of a recreational area (ball field, playground, pavilion, etc.).
On Monday, August 19, 2019, the Town of Orange Town Council also authorized the installation of tobacco-free park signage at its Town-owned recreational areas. The Town of Gordonsville Town Council followed suit on the same evening authorizing similar signage at Verling Park.
Orange County Office on Youth staff is enthusiastic about this initiative, the unified effort in Orange County, and the healthier spaces the signage aims to create in each of the posted recreational areas. Alisha Vines, Office on Youth Director, stated “it has been amazing to see our local government representatives come together and take a stand to provide a healthier environment for children and the Office on Youth looks forward to what the future holds.” Office on Youth staff plan to begin phase two of its signage initiative over the next few months and will reach out to local homeowners associations in Orange County requesting the posting of similar signage at their community recreational areas.
For additional information about the Orange County Office on Youth’s tobacco prevention efforts, please contact Ashley Jacobs, Program Coordinator, at (540) 672-5484 or visit www.orangecountyva.gov/officeonyouth. For additional information about the important work of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, please visit www.vfhy.org.