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JCPRD Re-accredited Through National Program
POSTED: 10/22/2004
 
Five years after initially joining an elite group of park and recreation agencies which have received accreditation through a national program, the Johnson County Park and Recreation District was recently re-accredited for another half decade.

"Like all achievements, it's one more we can add to our resume, but clearly the benefit is well above that - it's the desire for self improvement that sets us apart from other agencies and we hope will continue to make us a better deliverer of services to the public," said Director Michael Meadors.

Formal announcement of the District's re-accreditation came during the Oct. 13 opening General Session of the National Recreation and Park Association's (NRPA) Annual Congress, which took place Oct. 13-16 in Reno, Nev. The accreditation program is overseen by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and is sponsored by the NRPA and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.

The District was initially accredited in 1999 and was the 23rd agency nationally to do so. Today, there are still only 54 agencies which have received accreditation. Accreditation must be renewed every five years to ensure compliance with the 155 standards that have been established by the Commission. These standards represent all areas of operation for parks and recreation departments. Thirty-six of the 155 standards are designated as fundamental to quality operations and are required of all agencies. An agency must comply with at least 85 percent of the remaining standards to be granted accreditation.

For re-accreditation, the District missed only two nonessential standards, while meeting all other standards. This was an improvement from the District's initial accreditation in 1999, when the agency met all but four nonessential standards.

"I think the District has taken great pride in being a leading agency in the country," Meadors said "We're not satisfied with just being good - we want to be the best - and these standards are identified as the benchmark in our industry. Clearly, as good as we think we are, we didn't get all 155 - there is always opportunity for improvement and staff have already addressed these two. This process helps us stay abreast with what is changing in our industry."

The re-accreditation announcement follows an extensive self-assessment CAPRA guidelines and a visit by a three-member review team which took place July 27-30. While here, the team reviewed files, toured facilities, and interviewed staff. Members of the review team were: Recreation Director Sylvia Allen of Renton, Wash., who served as leader for the team; and Assistant Director Barbra Manzo and Manager Debbie Derums, both of Lee County, Fla., Parks and Recreation.

"The process is maturing more and more and especially large agencies are seeking accreditation because meeting the standards also serves as a benchmark," added Special Projects Manager Bob Beverlin. "It's just not a gimmee (for re-accreditation), you've got to work for it."

Agencies which receive accreditation are required to submit an annual report and statement that they have continued to use the standards and have come into compliance with any standards that they did not previously meet.

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