Illinois Distinguished Accredited Park and Recreation Agency
For nearly two years, the sign “Yes - We Can Do This” was on display to serve as a goal for all staff as the Worth Park District began the process of trying to become an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Park and Recreation Agency. Now we are happy to announce that the sign has changed to read “Yes - We Did Do This,” as the Park District was recently named an “Illinois Distinguished Accredited Park and Recreation Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). The two statewide associations administer the Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program with the goal of improving the delivery of park and recreation services to Illinois residents.
“Illinois has a reputation for the best park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation and special recreation agencies in the nation,” said Peter Murphy, IAPD President and CEO. “The Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program provides an opportunity for these agencies to undergo a voluntary, comprehensive evaluation process to demonstrate that they have met state guidelines to provide exceptional park and recreation services to their community. The end result is to improve the quality of life for Illinois residents.”
“This program gives recognition to park and recreation agencies that go above and beyond in dedicating themselves to offering quality programs and services designed to fulfill their community’s needs,” said Debbie Trueblood, IPRA Executive Director.
A park district or recreation agency interested in applying for Distinguished Accredited Agency recognition undergoes a detailed, lengthy process of application and evaluation. A Joint Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Committee (JDPRAC) comprised of members from IAPD and IPRA coordinates the process. “Agencies submit a self-evaluation and a formal letter requesting admission into the process,” said Marie Todd, IAPD Co-Chair of the JDPRAC. “If the committee determines the agency is eligible to continue the process, we send them an evaluation date.”
According to Todd, on the day of the evaluation, the agency presents documented information and gives a tour of pertinent facilities and parks for the evaluation team’s review. The team reviews general management procedures, finance and business operations, facilities and parks, personnel, recreation services, legal documentation and other materials including mission statements, goals and safety manuals.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the agency is notified in writing of the official results within ten days. Agencies that have achieved Distinguished Accredited status are recognized with a plaque at the IAPD/IPRA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon in January.
“There are tremendous benefits for an agency that achieves Distinguished Accredited status,” said Ryan Risinger, IPRA Co-Chair of the JDPRAC. “The agency’s application and review process provide an excellent self-evaluation and agencies that apply realize increased operational efficiency and effectiveness. Communities can have confidence that their park district or recreation agency employs qualified professionals and has met professional standards.”
The Worth Park District applied for the Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program in March of 2016. “This was indeed a great exercise for our Park District and staff,” said Robert O’Shaughnessy, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Through the process, we learned a lot about what our capabilities are as a Board and staff, and most importantly, that we are doing things the right way and heading in a good direction for the future,” O’Shaughnessy added.
Paula Marr, President of the Worth Park District Board echoed O’Shaughnessy’s sentiments, but expressed that this was a meaningful milestone that was accomplished. “Achieving the accredited status has been a goal of the Park District’s for many years,” Marr said. “We (Park Board) are extremely proud that our small Park District was able to achieve such a feat.”
The JDPRAC approved the Worth Park District for Distinguished Accredited status on November 19, 2018 and highlighted the Park District’s agency goals, annual report, facilities, maps and affiliate agreements as areas of excellence. In compliance with the program, the Worth Park District will be reevaluated in six years to verify that they have continued to demonstrate sound management practices in providing quality park and recreation services to the community.
IAPD is a non-profit service, research and education organization that serves park districts, forest preserves, conservation and recreation agencies. The association advances these agencies, their citizen board members and professional staff in their ability to provide outstanding park and recreation opportunities, preserve natural resources and improve the quality of life for all people in Illinois. IPRA is a not-for-profit organization and public interest group who is an advocate in providing quality park, recreation and conservation education, resources and services to professionals and citizens throughout the state of Illinois
In Loving Memory of Dana Modrick (Jimenez)
June 20, 1990- March 8, 2016
“I ask all of you to hug your loved ones a little tighter, to say I love you a little louder, and to do that thing you’ve been scared to do. It’s sad it takes a life changing event to make you appreciate life, so do yourself a favor and listen when people tell you to take risks and start living today.”