Goal to be the First and the Best Certification Helps

By Seve Ghose, CPRE | Posted on January 6, 2013

What do nine CPRPs, one CPRE, two CPSIs, and five CPOs have in common? They all work at the City of Davenport Parks and Recreation!

In this guest blog post, Seve Ghose, CPRE/MOL, Director of the City of Davenport Parks and Recreation shares how certification of staff has given a boost to their agency, benefits their staff and provides his views on the value of certification. 

It began in the Spring of 2009 when we sent in the initial application for CAPRA accreditation. Knowing that we had two years to complete the process we set some goals for the agency.

Our first goal was to be the first agency in Iowa and one of the first 100 in the country to be accredited.  A second goal we set internally was to be the “first and the best” in all that we do and offer. Individual certification was a big part of reaching both those goals.

We currently have nine Certified Park and Recreation Professionals (CPRP), one Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE), two Certified Playground Safety Inspectors (CPSI), and five Certified Pool Operators (CPO). 

In 2009 we had only two CPRP’s – quite an accomplishment over the last three years.

How’d we do it?

Certification-Davenport Iowa

Seve (center) with some of his staff at the NRPA Annual Conference

While the agency agreed to pay for the test as part of professional and personal growth for the staff, we also initiated another incentive of staff mentoring to guide staff prior to taking the individual tests. This process brought many of the staff together and created greater camaraderie and the urgency to succeed.

We further made a serious commitment to send staff to the NRPA Annual Conference and other training sessions continually to keep up with the Continuing Education Credit (CEU) requirement.

The certification process is of great value not only to the agency but to the individual as it sets the bar high in regards to looking and striving for accomplishment and not accepting the status quo. This keeps the staff motivated to come to work, contribute extensively, try new things, and most of all look to be innovative and forward thinking.

Where we are today as an agency--- able to do things and not say “no” anymore, is a true reflection of what the certification process has brought to the table. I highly recommend to all park and recreation professionals to pursue certification and for the agency to commit the resources to help staff achieve such. In the coming months we look forward to when we will have the final three members of our management team certified as CPRP and in the current approved budget cycle we have doubled the training dollars available.

Tell us in the comments below: Does your agency support certification and if so, how?  Certified professionals, what would you tell someone considering certification?  What success have you seen from having a professional certification or from having certified professionals on staff?


Written by: Seve Ghose, CPRE/MOL, Director City of Davenport Parks and Recreation