Magazine article Parks & Recreation

American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration

Article excerpt



Organizations are often at odds as to what to do with outstanding volunteer leaders when their term of service is up. In many cases, these folks are the foundation on which the organization stands.

"There is a fine line between the importance of encouraging young blood and new leadership, and benefiting from the knowledge and wisdom from our past," said T. Destry Jarvis, NRPA executive director. "Through the Academy we have found a way to not only utilize the knowledge of these great leaders, but also help them mentor and support our current and future leadership."

Although the Academy is totally dependent on dues and donations for its operations, it has enjoyed outstanding success in furthering its mission because it has functioned as a wellspring of ideas and initiatives. The process is simple: once the foundation for a program or service is in place, the Academy turns it over to partners to carry on. For example, agency accreditation was an Academy initiative that NRPA now administers and whose momentum is rapidly building. The Academy also developed NRPA's professional certification program. Some other prominent examples include:


* The Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, now in its 19th year, is the preeminent source and repository of scientific and applied research in our field. The Journal has been financially self-sustaining since 1986 and has recently gone totally to electronic publication.

* The Academy maintains a file of videotaped interviews with outstanding leaders in our field. The "Legends" series currently has about 80 interviews completed, all in a format suited to use in college classes.

* Working jointly with NRPA, the Academy has developed the "Park, Recreation, Open Space and Greenways Guidelines," which are periodically updated and reissued.

* The National Symposium Series is another initiative of the Academy, now administered by its own committee, that provides opportunities for professionals to meet informally for in-depth discussions of timely issues.

* The Academy sponsors numerous seminars in cooperation with NRPA state associations, both nationally and internationally. Examples include: International Symposium on Sports for Everyone (1984), Parks and Recreation '90 (1985), National Curriculum Conference (1997), Youth at Risk colloquiums (1996), Recreation as Prevention Forum (1997), Governor's Forum on Parks and Recreation in Illinois (1997), and National Forum on Resort and Fee Parks (1996).


* The Academy encourages scholarly research by annually recognizing outstanding dissertations, student papers and practitioner articles.

* The Academy selects recipients of the Pugsley Award, named in honor of Cornelius Amory Pugsley, an early park activist and civic leader.

* The "Recreation and Park Hall of Fame" is a joint project of the Academy and NRPA. The Academy assists the Lee Library Board in selecting inductees to the Hall of Fame.


The Academy's Externship Program enables Academy members to establish relationships with and encourage outstanding young professionals.

* A professional services program offers the expertise of Academy members to agencies in need of such services.

* The Academy publishes books and other instructional materials. These include Developing Community Support for Parks and Recreation, The Winning Team: An Analysis of Attitudes, Opinions and Behaviors of Management Personnel in Leisure Service Organizations, Tourism and Recreation: A Growing Partnership, and Voter Support for Municipal Parks and Recreation Bond Issues. …

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