HE Parks Earns National Accreditation in Parks and Recreation

For the second time, the HE Parks remains one of the elite park and recreation agencies across the country by earning accreditation through the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) accreditation process, CAPRA (Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies).  The accreditation process covers the previous five year period. In 2013, HE Parks achieved a perfect score of 100% in all of the accreditation standards and has once again in 2018 received a perfect score. 

The park district’s CAPRA accreditation is just one of its prestigious awards including recognition as an Illinois Distinguished Park and Recreation Agency by the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and winner of the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks & Recreation Management, the highest national honor in the public recreation category. It is one of few park districts in Illinois to have achieved all three prestigious awards.

CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies, and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. This mark of distinction indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety, and services.

As part of the accreditation process, HE Parks had to demonstrate compliance with 151 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures. Often the process helps identify efficiencies and heighten areas of accountability, all of which translate into higher quality service and operation to benefit the community.

“We are so proud of this achievement as it is a reflection of the standards toward which we have worked for many years to achieve,” said HE Parks Executive Director Craig Talsma. “It represents the dedication and teamwork of hundreds of community volunteers, Board Commissioners and staff, who make an achievement like this possible.”

The process for accreditation involves self-assessments, a formal application, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report, and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards and is reviewed again in five years.

The Commission is comprised of representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation, the Armed Forces Recreation Society and the Council of State Executive Directors.

For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit www.nrpa.org/CAPRA

The NRPA is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org.  For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.