“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”
                                                                    -- Jonas Salk

     Congratulations are in order for Academy members and their agencies who were either finalists in the Gold Medal Awards Program or who received an award bestowed by the National Recreation and Park Association or received their CAPRA accreditation at the 2016 National Conference in St. Louis, MO. 

National Distinguished Professional Award

     A shout out goes to Carolyn McKnight, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, LA, who received NRPA’s highest professional award, the National Distinguished Professional Award. The National Distinguished Professional Award honors an individual’s distinctive service to the field of parks and recreation; effective leadership in research, advocacy or community efforts to advance parks and recreation; contributions as a speaker, moderator or panel member for a state or national conference, school or workshop; or authorship of an article for publication in a state or national magazine.  

     Carolyn McKnight has been a game-changer in the park and recreation profession. Her uncompromising passion for innovative programming and facilities has brought the Baton Rouge community light years into the future. With more than 27 years of leadership acumen, she has led both the cities of Dallas and East Baton Rouge organizations with great skill and finesse. In addition, Carolyn served on the Academy Board of Directors and is immediate past chair of the Gold Medal Committee. She has been a CAPRA Commissioner; Leadership Louisiana 2015 class alumni appointed by Louisiana State Senator Sharon Weston-Broome; NRPA’s Directors School Instructor; and on NRPA Supervisors’ Management School Board of Regents.

Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award

     Congratulations to the Fairfax County Park Authority (Kirk Kincannon, Executive Director) for its receipt of the Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award. The criteria for this award require the agency to establish and communicate goals for key environmental barometers such as  water and energy use, greenhouse gas reduction and use of sustainable resources; or recycling and waste reduction; the adoption of guidelines for purchasing environmentally preferable products; planning and constructing environmentally sustainable buildings, structures or sites; adoption of environmentally sensitive maintenance practices; efforts in environmental education and outreach to the community or the achievement of significant goals in environmental stewardship.

     The Fairfax County Park Authority inspires and sustains community passion for parks and leisure experiences, and greatly enhances the community’s quality of life. “Enhancing Stewardship” is first among the seven values that guide agency actions. In the agency’s 65 years, parkland has grown from 14 acres to more than 23,000 acres despite urban development. Environmental stewardship accomplishments include green purchasing procedures, best practice storm water management, invasive plant management, energy management system wide improvements, LEED and green building and operational practices, use of water smart systems, and extensive application of environmental outreach and community education programs.

Kudos Marketing Award

     San Diego County Department of Parks & Recreation (Brian Albright, Director) received the Kudos Marketing Award. This award recognizes the agency’s significant contributions to the public’s awareness and recognition of public parks and recreation through its marketing campaign and communications.

     The County of San Diego’s award-winning park system includes more than 50,000 acres covering 4,200 square miles. The county’s recreational facilities and programs have branded San Diego as one of America’s top tourism destinations, attracting more than 35 million residents and tourists each year. The network of regional parks, campgrounds, ecological preserves, sports venues and coastal areas support a booming special events program, and connect people with the Upside of Outside, the county’s nationally recognized slogan.

Gold Medal Award

     Academy members were also well-represented as finalists for the prestigious Gold Medal Award:

     Class I (pop. 400,001 & over)
     Minneapolis (MN) Park Board - Jayne Miller, Superintendent
     Recreation & Park Commission, Parish of East Baton Rouge (LA) - Carolyn McKnight, Superintendent

     Class II (pop. 150,001-400,000)
     Grand Prairie (TX) Parks, Art & Recreation Dept - Rick Herold, Director

     Class IV (pop. 30,001-75,000)
     Bismarck (ND) Parks & Recreation Dept - Randy Bina, Director
     Decatur (IL) Park District - Bill Clevenger, Director

Agency Accreditation

     In addition, several Academy-led agencies received their re-accreditation or first time accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Park & Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). CAPRA is the nationally recognized measure of an agency’s operation and service by documented evidence of meeting 151 standards. CAPRA is a jointly-sponsored program with NRPA. 

     Re-accredited agencies:
     Town of Herndon, VA - Art Anselene, Town Manager
     Kettering (OH) Parks & Recreation - Mary Beth Thaman, Director
     County of San Diego (CA) Parks & Recreation - Brian Albright, Director

     Newly-accredited agencies:
     Dallas (TX) Parks & Recreation - Willis C. Winters, Director
     Five Rivers (OH) Metro Parks - Becky Benna, Executive Director

     Now is the time to discuss with your team about applying for a 2017 National or Gold Medal Award. The deadline for both awards is March 12, 2017.