District in the Running for Gold Medal in Parks and Recreation
• The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, is pleased to announce Willamalane Park and Recreation District as a finalist for the 2016 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd-numbered years.
Willamalane is a finalist in the Class IV category, competing against three other agencies that serve communities with populations between 30,001 and 75,000. On its application, Willamalane highlighted faithful fulfillment of bond projects, positive economic impact on the community, leadership in water safety and youth wellness, and citizen involvement in volunteering and decision-making.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Willamalane joins agencies in Bismarck, N.D., Decatur, Ill., and Olympia that will compete in their class for grand honors this year.
“I am so proud of all the ways Willamalane is a positive force in our community,” said Willamalane Superintendent Bob Keefer. “This recognition highlights the work of staff, volunteers and our many community partners in making Springfield such a wonderful place to live and play.”
A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.
Finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the NRPA General Session at the 2016 NRPA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 5-8.