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Champaign Park District Named Finalist for National Award

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), announced the Champaign Park District as a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program 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, one class for armed forces recreation and one class, awarded on odd numbered years, for state park systems.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials. The Champaign Park District joined three other finalists in Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000).

In announcing the 2022 National Gold Medal Finalists, AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is commended for receiving this prestigious award. We know local communities and military installations worldwide continue to meet the demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic which includes increased visitations at trails, parks, playgrounds, and greenways. Park visitors and program participants rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this continuing pandemic. The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.”

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation both locally and nationally.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honor, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced at the 2022 NRPA Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ, Sept. 20-22, 2022. For information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit AAPRA or NRPA.

“This distinction is a true honor,” said Joe DeLuce, Champaign Park District Executive Director. “We strive to improve the quality of life of every member of our community, to be innovative and forward-thinking, and to make recreation accessible to all. Our staff has a passion and creativity that helps makes us one of the best of the best!”

Champaign Park District has been named a National Recreation and Park Association Gold Medal Award Winning Agency three times in the past: 1979, 1990, and 1998. Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation, a joint effort between Champaign and Urbana Park Districts, also won the NRPA Gold Medal Award in 1996.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal or www.aapra.org.

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