The National Recreation and Park Association’s awards program consists of the National Gold Medal Award (presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with NRPA), and the NRPA Awards which include the Innovation Awards, Spotlight Awards, Scholarships and Fellowships, and the Robert W. Crawford Hall of Fame.

NRPA Awards recipients are selected by the NRPA Awards and Scholarship Committee, except for the NRPA Best in Innovation Award where the winner is determined by public vote. Each award has specific eligibility criteria. All applicants must be current NRPA members.

2017 National Award Recipients

Individual Awards (Now Spotlight 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 (Now Innovation 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 NRPA 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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