NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. Recipients are selected by the Awards & Scholarship Committee and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach.

The NRPA National Awards include 11 awards. The categories and criteria have been designed to be inclusive and significant to park and recreation.


National Award Descriptions


Application information for 2018 will be available on January 22, 2018.

2017 National Award Recipients

Individual Awards

Robert M. Artz Advocacy Award 
Cora Masters Barry, Washington, DC

Robert W. Crawford Young Professional Award
Dr. Joshua T. Medeiros, Canton, CT

RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity 
Patricia Solano, Riverside, CA

National Distinguished Professional Award 
Phillip S. Rea, Raleigh, NC 

Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award for Excellence in Recreation and Park Research Award 
Mark E. Havitz, Waterloo, Ontario

Agency Awards

Excellence in Inclusion Award
Madison School & Community Recreation, Madison, WI  

Excellence in Innovative Programming Award 
Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, LA 

Facility or Park Design Award 
Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, Terre Haute, IN

Barb King Environmental Stewardship Award 
Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, LA 

Kudos Marketing Award 
Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver, CO 

National Partnership Award 
Durham Parks and Recreation, Durham, NC


The National Awards are presented at the annual Best of the Best ceremony during the NRPA Annual Conference. Download the Best of the Best Program for a complete list and descriptions of the individuals and agencies who were recognized.


For additional information contact


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