Midlothian Invites Residents to Play Virtual I Spy

I spy
Midlothian Parks & Recreation has residents playing Virtual I Spy. Courtesy of Midlothian Parks & Recreation

Midlothian Parks Challenge Residents To A Game Of Virtual I Spy

Just about everybody loves going to the park.

But what do you do when you can’t, which is the case across America, thanks to the deadly novel coronavirus COVID-19? Beautiful parks everywhere are begging for folks to enjoy them, but instead people are navigating the hallways of their homes. The closest they can come to a park is walking out in their back or front yard.

But not in Midlothian. In this city, the parks are coming to the people – and they’re bringing some fun with them.

Gina Moore, Special Events and Recreation Coordinator for the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Department, created her own version of Virtual I Spy on Facebook. It’s a version of the popular game kids and their families would regularly play when traveling.

But who said one has to be traveling to play? Moore combined that game with another popular activity to give folks in her city a way to pass the time while being shut in because of coronavirus.

“It’s an idea I created from a scavenger hunt article that other municipalities were programming, but I needed a virtual element to avoid crowds at our parks and adhere to current mandates and social distancing,” Moore said.

Residents ‘spy’ three parks each day on Facebook

The game is pretty simple, and it works like this. Each day on the Midlothian Parks and Recreation Facebook page three pictures are posted from three different city parks. They might be a baseball or softball park, a family park where children can play, a park for walking or even a dog park.

How Do You Play

Participants look at the three pictures and reply with their answers on which park is in each photo. The answers must be in the correct order of the photos, and they must be spelled correctly.

Anyone can play. From young to old, if you can navigate Facebook (or know someone who can help you), you can participate. Fun and simple.

“Each day appears to get responses and guesses, but I have noticed more responses at the end of the day,” Moore said.

“I am so excited that Gina is reaching our citizens with I Spy and they are enjoying the interaction and our parks,” Midlothian Parks and Recreation Director Heather Dowell said. “This provides them a virtual way to interact with the parks to keep us all connected. We realize now more than ever how important parks are to their daily lives, providing an outdoor space to gain perspective, peace, fresh air and a sense of normalcy.

“In a time of uncertainty and global concern we still have mother nature to provide serenity with the wonders of nature and we are so thankful to have so many beautiful parks to provide comfort to our citizens.”

Correct answers get a shout-out

There are no prizes awarded for correct answers, but each correct set of answers does get a big Facebook congratulatory shout-out post, Moore said.

“During times of difficulty, the need of outdoors has always been a place of retreat and solace, and the benefits thereof,” Moore said. “However, our current pandemic has given all municipal parks and recreation departments a challenge to still provide services and engage our communities.

Keeping The Community Connected

“Virtual I Spy is one way to connect with our community, in addition to discover our Midlothian parks and places.”

Also, the project can be educational as folks, particularly youngsters, learn to identify the parks in their city. Hopefully, when its okay to return to the parks, this game will increase appreciation.

In the meantime, Moore said people can expect to find Virtual I Spy on Facebook for awhile.

“We plan to continue until we resume normal activities and our wonderful recreational life as we knew it,” she said.

And who knows? There might even be some more fun activities lined up during the shelter-in-place, Moore said.

“There just might be…because in parks and recreation, the possibilities are endless,” she said.

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters