Outstanding Achievement Award in Honor of Fred Coombs
This is the highest award presented by PRPS. Candidates are current or retired PRPS professional members, with a minimum of 10 years compensated experience, whose efforts have had lasting value and impact as well as served to increase awareness of the importance of the parks and recreation profession. Service in the following areas is considered: Speeches, Writing, Research, Professional Development; Community Involvement.
Dr. Fred Coombs was a distinguished professor in the Parks and Recreation Department at Penn State University for over 30 years. He was instrumental in establishing community recreation programs throughout the Commonwealth as well as a founding member of PRPS, serving as the Executive Secretary for the Society until a full-time Executive Director was hired in 1977.
PRPS Distinguished Member Award in Honor of Robert D. Griffith
Candidates are current professional members, with a minimum of 10 years compensated experience, who have consistently contributed to the advancement of the Society, affiliated organizations or the profession in a variety of ways.
Robert Griffith was the first full-time Executive Director of PRPS. He served the Society in that position from 1977 until his retirement in 2011. During his tenure as Executive Director, Bob saw PRPS grow to become not only a professional organization for those employed in the various fields of parks and recreation, but also a champion for parks, trails, greenways and open space preservation in the Commonwealth.
Outstanding New Professional Award
This award is given to outstanding individuals with less than 11 years of full-time, compensated experience in the Parks and Recreation profession. Candidates must be current professional members who have contributed to the advancement of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS), affiliated organizations of PRPS, service to the candidate’s employing agency and or community. Past winners of this award demonstrated strong leadership skills, innovative approaches, good strategic planning ability, and a proven record of building and sustaining partnerships that benefited their community.
The PRPS Agency of the Year Award inspires and recognizes exemplary accomplishments in positioning parks and recreation as an essential public service with meaningful community impact. The winning agency provides a fresh perspective on significant parks and recreation issues, shows innovation and collaboration, and has demonstrated a high level of resourcefulness, especially in recent years. The winning agency is required to have at least one member of PRPS in order to qualify for this award and must have demonstrated the achievements, benefits and outcomes in providing public park and recreation for a minimum of five years.
Community Champion Award
This award is to recognize individuals, groups, or partner organizations who have made an outstanding contribution through their commitment to a parks and recreation related program, event, or initiative, and have stimulated local, regional, state or national interest in parks and recreation goals and objectives. PRPS membership is not required.
Green Parks Awards
These awards seek to recognize excellence in both active and passive public parks that demonstrate integration of green and sustainable park practices. Criteria includes location, design, landscaping, maintenance, environmental stewardship, and other contributing factors. PRPS membership (of sponsoring agency or person from agency submitting for the award) is required. A specific form is to be used for this nomination.
Awards for Excellence in Recreation and Parks
Recipients of these awards must demonstrate outstanding quality, innovation, range and value of appeal, community support, efficient use of funding, human and material resources in the development, delivery and use of programs, special events, publications and promotions.
Nominations will be rated independently by each member of the Recognition and Awards Committee. The entries will be rated on a scale of 1-5 for each POWER principle identified in item # 5. The total number of awards will be determined by the Recognition and Awards Committee and may vary from year to year.
PRPS membership (of sponsoring agency or person from agency submitting the award) is required to submit an entry.
The program, event, publication or promotion must have been offered or produced during the current PRPS membership year.
Previous PRPS award-winning programs, special events, publications or promotions may not be resubmitted for consideration unless there have been substantial changes to the content or format. An explanation of these changes is required.
Agencies or organizations may submit an unlimited number of entries under Excellence in Recreation and Parks through programming and/or publication and promotions awards nominations.
Entries will be assessed on how well the project, program, or initiative demonstrates each of the POWER principles.
Positions public parks and recreation as an essential community service. Tell how theentryadvancestheroleandimportanceofpublicparksandrecreation,showsthebenefitsofparksand recreation, and improves the quality of life in the community.
Outcome based. Describe the problem, issue, or opportunity and how the entry provided a solution to it.
Wow Factor. Explain how the entry advances parks and recreation in the community through a major accomplishment, innovation, or a creative approach to managing and/or providing public parks and recreation. Describe how the entry demonstrates creativity and innovation. This can range from start – up efforts made to establish parks and recreation, or a small but mighty effort to make something happen where parks and recreation is struggling, to the initiative of a well-established parks and recreation organization.
Effects change. Address how the entry deals with an important issue in the field of parks and recreation such as environmental stewardship, connecting people to nature, active healthy living, or social equity. Describe how it demonstrates strategies, resources, and outreach methods to increase public awareness, or other means that produce results.
Resourcefulness. Present how the entry used creative resources and outreach methods to generate support from avarietyofsourcesincludingpartnershipsinthepublic,privateandnon-profitsectors,useof private funds, lands, facilities, or expertise, or secured support from policy makers or elected officials.
Award Questions? Contact Barry Bessler, CPRP, Recognition and Awards Committee Chairperson by email at [email protected].
2023 Past Award Recipients: See last year's award winners in the program book.