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James City County joins the ranks of elite park and recreation agencies across the country by earning accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). This distinguished accomplishment was awarded during the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference held in late September.
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, Parks & Recreation 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.
John Carnifax, County Parks & Recreation Director, added “Parks & Recreation staff, as well as numerous County staff members, worked diligently over the past year to comply with the more than 150 standards needed to receive accreditation. The Department received very positive feedback from CAPRA with comments focused on well-maintained facilities, passionate and knowledgeable staff, teamwork, pride in what we do, commitment to our community and our ability to work in partnership with community organizations.”
The process for accreditation involves a formal application, self-assessments, 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 by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years.
The benefits of accreditation include an increased potential for external financial support and tax savings through grants, documenting all department operations as a benchmark for continuous improvement, and routinely reviewing our department against national standards to ensure efficient and effective delivery of services to our citizens. There are presently 154 nationally accredited parks and recreation departments in the U.S. James City County Parks & Recreation also won the 2012 Gold Medal Award, recognized as the best managed park system in the U.S. in its population category. Earning accreditation in September makes James City County only the third locality in the state to be accredited and to earn the Gold Medal Award.
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 Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network and the Council of State Executive Directors.
For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit www.nrpa.org/CAPRA.
Veda McMullen, Senior Communications Specialist757-259-5415; veda.mcMullen@jamescitycountyva.gov