CAPRA Accreditation Process

The following steps outline NRPA’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation process.

1. Complete Application

To demonstrate your intention to become accredited, submit the preliminary application with fee. Your organization will have 2 years from this application date to schedule your review and your hearing will take place that same year. Upon completion of your application, NRPA will provide you with a CAPRA Mentor as a resource to assist with your accreditation process.

Park and Recreation Agency: Submit Your Application  Military: Submit Your Application

2. Attend Training

All agencies seeking accreditation must have one or more members of their staff participate in the online training series - Prepare for CAPRA Accreditation

3. Develop a Self-Assessment Report

Your agency will be required to provide NRPA/CAPRA with narrative descriptions of how your agency is meeting each standard along with evidence of compliance documentation in the form of an online self-assessment report. If your agency is a military agency, your agency’s self-assessment will be guided by the Military Self-Assessment Report Template. The self-assessment is due 10 weeks prior to your on-site or virtual visit.

4. Present Self-Assessment Report to assigned CAPRA Review Team (CRT) for Initial Review

Upon completion of your Self-Assessment Report, your CRT will conduct a comprehensive review of it to determine if there are appropriately constructed narratives and satisfactory EOC for the visit to take place.

5. Host CRT members for Onsite or Virtual Visitation

If your self-assessment is approved you will be granted an on-site or virtual visit. During this visit a group of NRPA/CAPRA assigned volunteers will inspect your agency's facilities (if they visit you onsite) and evaluate all documentation you provided in depth to determine whether or not you have met the required standards. This onsite visit typically takes two days (virtual takes five days) and will be scheduled from March to June of the year of your hearing.

6. Attend In-Person or Virtual Hearing

Successful completion of the previous steps may qualify your agency to participate in the annual CAPRA in-person or virtual hearing during the NRPA Annual Conference taking place each fall. During this hearing a decision will be made regarding your accreditation status.

Reaccreditation Will Be Required Every Five Years

If accreditation is granted, your agency will need to participate in reaccreditation within five years of that date. It is important for you to maintain all documentation and compliance to standards after your initial accreditation to better prepare you for the reaccreditation process.

Accreditation Process Resources

CAPRA Policies and Procedures Manual: This document provides an overview of CAPRA’s policies, procedures and writing guidelines, which must be strictly followed.

CAPRA Policies and Procedures Manual

Consider joining the NRPA Connect CAPRA Accreditation group to connect with agencies and volunteers who have participated in accreditation OR are considering accreditation for their agencies. This is a great resource for personal experiences from other agencies and volunteers about the CAPRA accreditation process.

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