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Johnson County Park and Recreation District named among finalists for 2022 Gold Medal Awards
In early May, officials with the Johnson County Park and Recreation District were notified by The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration that the local agency is one of four finalists in the population class of 400,001 and above, for the prestigious annual Gold Medal Award.
“Being a National Gold Medal Award Finalist is an incredible honor and achievement that celebrates the many park and recreation services and successes made possible because of the amazing JCPRD employees, volunteers, and partners,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jeff Stewart. “The leadership, support, and trust provided the citizens of Johnson County, Board of County Commissioners, and the JCPRD Board of Commissioners has allowed for JCPRD to provide the quality in life that we have all grown to love in Johnson County.”
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards are presented in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association. This national award honors communities in the United States 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, plus one class for armed forces recreation and one class, awarded on odd numbered years, for state park systems.
JCPRD previously won the award in 1995 and 2017. Because winning agencies must wait five years before being eligible for the award again, 2022 was the first year the district was able to reapply. This year's winners will be announced at the 2022 NRPA Annual Conference in September.
Other finalists competing in the same population class as JCPRD this year are: Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, Tampa, Fla.; Recreation & Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, La.; and Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, Virginia Beach, Va.
The next step was for each of the finalist agencies to prepare a five-minute video and submit it by the end of May. Agencies will be judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff, and elected officials.
It is notable that finalists in other population classes for this year’s Gold Medal Awards include Wichita Park and Recreation (population class of 150,001 to 400,000), and the Roseville Parks, Recreation & Libraries Department of Roseville Calif. (population class 75,001 to 150,000), which is headed by former JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller.
JCPRD Wins Prestigious National Gold Medal Award
Posted: September 26, 2017
It’s official: the Johnson County Park and Recreation District is one of the top park and recreation agencies in the nation!
This was confirmed on September 26 when the agency was selected for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for agencies serving a population over 400,000. The honor was announced during the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Annual Conference in New Orleans.
“We’re absolutely thrilled about this terrific accomplishment,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller. “This award is not about a single park or a single program. It’s about teamwork, collaboration, and an outstanding commitment to public service. It’s clear that - collectively, as an organization - we can do anything! It truly took all of us working together for JCPRD to achieve this monumental goal. What a proud and historic day for our agency!”
“Today is a very proud day for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and our community,” added JCPRD Deputy Director Jeff Stewart. “We’re very proud of all of our staff, volunteers, board, board of county commissioners, and patrons. We hope that they all can celebrate being recognized as the best in the country.”
About the Award
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Award honors communities in the U.S. which 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.
The National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management are presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the NRPA. The award’s Class I, which is for agencies serving a population over 400,000, is the largest of the five population-based categories. JCPRD was previously a finalist in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2016. The agency won the Gold Medal Award in 1995.
For the Gold Medal Awards, agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials. Other 2017 finalists for Class I were: BREC, Baton Rouge, La., Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, Minn., and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, Lake Worth, Fla.
A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviewed and judged the application materials, including five-minute videos from each of the finalist organizations. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.
JCPRD offers more than 4,000 programs and activities each year, and it manages over 9,900 acres of parkland, more than 90 miles of trails, and multiple recreational facilities. A recent study by The Trust for Public Land, found that JCPRD parks, trails, and programs are key economic drivers which contribute more than $97 million annually in economic benefits to the community. Last year alone there were over 2.7 million participations in the programs presented by JCPRD, and nearly 8 million visitations to the district’s parks.
For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit NRPA's gold medal webpage or AAPRA's website.