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 agency will have 2 years from this application date to schedule your site or virtual visit and your hearing will take place that same year.

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

2. Attend Training

All agencies seeking accreditation must have a member of their staff attend a training session to prepare for the accreditation process. There are several options available:

3. Prepare a Self-Assessment Report

Your agency will be required to provide NRPA with descriptions of how your agency is meeting each standard along with evidence of compliance documentation in the form of a self-assessment report. NRPA will provide you with a mentor to assist your agency through this process. 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. Host an Onsite or Virtual Visit

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 on-site visit typically takes three days (virtual takes five days) and will be scheduled from March to June of the year of your hearing.

5. 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 reaccredit 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

NRPA CAPRA Accreditation Handbook: This handbook provides an overview of CAPRA’s policies, procedures and writing guidelines, which must be strictly followed.

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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