Four Tips for a Stellar National Awards Submission

By Brenda Beales;Roxanne Sutton | Posted on February 9, 2015

Chances are your park and recreation agency or a professional you know is already doing something award-worthy, but translating that on to paper can seem daunting. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 


blog_2015_nat_awardsPlus, the effort you put into your submission can reap some pretty big rewards. Because not only is attending an awards ceremony fun and putting a trophy on display super rewarding, but winning a National Award demonstrates the value you provide to your community. Winning an award also gives you the opportunity to put yourself in the spotlight and garner even more support for the work you do. 

To help with your submission, NRPA’s Awards and Accreditation Manager Brenda Beales put together the top four tips for a stellar National Awards submission: 

  1. Read the application twice. Don’t make it easy for the judges to disqualify you by forgetting a required element. Read the eligibility criteria to make sure you meet qualifications and submit all the required material. For individual awards, follow nomination instructions. 

  2. Think like an outsider. Look at your agency through an outsider’s perspective. What would someone outside your community consider to be outstanding and worthy of a national award. Don’t be modest. This is an opportunity to showcase what your agency provides to your community. 

  3. Engage your coworkers. Your agency has many programs, parks and facilities and it takes a team to make everything work. Include your team in choosing what award to apply for. The program you are most heavily involved with may not be the best one to submit. Make it a team decision. 

  4. Concise is better. Provide information on how the program, park, facility or person has made a difference in your community, but cut material that doesn’t tell the essential story. Staying within the word limits makes your job easier and the judges happy. 

Now that you’re figuring out what award to submit for, don’t forget you can also share the love. We all have those professionals (or citizens) we admire – those who have served as mentors, those whose leadership inspires others, those young professionals that have great passion for the field and those that are making a difference. This is your opportunity to nominate that individual and have them recognized for their efforts as well!

Learn more about the National Awards and get your trophy cases ready! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email us. Submissions are due in March.

Have you won an award in the past? What are your application tips? How have you used your award to move your agency forward? Share with us in the comments or on Twitter @NRPA_News


Brenda Beales is NRPA’s Awards and Accreditation Manager.

Roxanne Sutton is NRPA’s Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist