In early May, JCPRD officials 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 annual prestigious 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 by the citizens of Johnson County, Board of County Commissioners, and the JCPRD Board of Commissioners has allowed for JCPRD to provide the quality of 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 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, 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 is for each of the agencies to submit a five-minute video before 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.