Ohio County Schools and Wheeling Parks and Recreation Team Up to Offer Unique Summer Incentive

Ohio County Schools and Wheeling Parks and Recreation have joined forces with over a dozen local Wheeling businesses to encourage students to explore our city during the summer.  

The idea for Wheeling Wednesdays was formulated when OCS Public Relations Director, Karin Butyn, wanted to develop a plan to closely connect students to the city in which they live. “At one time, there was a common narrative amongst students of wanting to leave Wheeling, and I think that narrative is slowly shifting.  Young people are beginning to see everything Wheeling has to offer as our city continues evolving, and we want to encourage our students to tap into all Wheeling is during their summer adventures,” Butyn states.  

The partnership also recognizes that exploring Wheeling will look different to every student and family.  “Our goal with this partnership is to encourage exploration.  That could be heading to the playground, going for a walk, checking out a local restaurant, going swimming at the pool, or going fishing,” Butyn adds. 

With the help of Parks and Recreation, 5,000 students in Ohio County Schools will receive a large “Wheeling” sticker.  Throughout the summer, students or their families will have a window of time on Wednesdays to submit “selfies” through social media, email, or Schoology holding their Wheeling sticker and exploring the city.  At the end of each Wheeling Wednesday, all selfies will be posted via video to Ohio County Schools’ social media. Director of Parks and Recreation, Rochelle Barry, noted “The Parks and Recreation Department is looking forward to this collaboration with Ohio County Schools. Not only does this initiative showcase our beautiful city to a younger generation, but students will also have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of Wheeling, including its history, while they explore. Many thanks to the area businesses that have contributed some great prizes.”

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More excitingly, the Wheeling community has embraced the idea.  “I wanted a takeaway for our students and families for participating in exploration.  I reached out to a number of local businesses to spin the idea, and the response was overwhelming,” Butyn states.  As of now, nearly a dozen businesses are offering gift cards, products, or prizes to be raffled off to one lucky participant every Wednesday.  Family friendly prizes including local restaurant gift cards, tickets to local events, gift cards for local swag, family pool passes, a credit for a class at Oglebay Institute and even a child’s birthday party at the YMCA are up for grabs. 

Current donors include Sport Your Colors, Play it Again Sports, West Liberty University, Crumbl Cookies, Sarah’s on Main, Sweet Abe’s Bake Shop, The Cheese Melt, Washington Wild Things, Wheeling YMCA, Oglebay Institute, Grandpa Joes, Wheeling Park Commission, and Elm Grove McDonalds.  “I hope to see even more businesses want to join in on the fun as word spreads,” Butyn adds. 

There is a large sense of pride between the city of Wheeling and Ohio County Schools. “I believe that public schools are an integral part of a strong community, and this is just another example of our Ohio County community coming together to support our students while encouraging connection to our city through some summer fun,” Butyn states. 

Full explanation and rules will be sent home with all students at the end of the school year, and Wheeling Wednesdays are scheduled to begin May 29th.  “The Parks and Recreation Department is always looking for new ideas for events and activities and I believe this initiative will be a nice addition to our menu of offerings,” Barry adds.