Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies
Park System Receives National Recognition
The Monmouth County Park System received re-accreditation in October 2014 from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). This distinguished accomplishment was announced in Washington, DC at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) 2014 NRPA Congress and Exposition.
The Park System received its first accreditation in 1994, the same year the CAPRA guidelines were established, and has continuously maintained its status as an accredited agency.
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Nationwide, nearly 200 million people use local park and recreation services annually to enhance their physical and social well-being. They seek the highest quality recreation experiences. Agency self-assessment and peer review is an excellent process for evaluating the quality of the system, which delivers these services.
Who Administers Accreditation?
The Accreditation Program for Park and Recreation Agencies is administered by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, an independent body which is sanctioned by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA).
What are the benefits of becoming an accredited agency?
Benefits for the public:
- Assurance and validation of well-administered services in accord with approved professional practices
- Potential for external financial support and savings to the public
- External recognition of a quality governmental service
- Holds an agency accountable to the public and ensures responsiveness to meet their needs
- Improves customer and quality services
Benefits for the agency:
- Public and political recognition
- Increased efficiency and evidence of accountability Answers the question, "How are we doing?" through extensive self evaluation
- Identifies areas for improvement by comparing an agency against national standards of best practices
- Enhances staff teamwork and pride by engaging all staff in the process
- Creates an environment for regular reviews of operations, policies, and procedures and promotes continual improvement
- Forces written documentation of policies and procedures
Formal Accreditation Application & Self-Assessment
The agency undertakes a self-assessment study. This is the key phase because it engages the entire agency -- employees, volunteers, citizen boards and committees -- in assessing the agency's effectiveness and efficiency. The agency has 24 months from the date of the preliminary application to submit their completed self-assessment workbook. National accreditation requires park and recreation agencies to respond to 144 standards representing elements of effective and efficient park and recreation operations.
Accreditation is based on an agency’s compliance with the 144 standards for national accreditation. To achieve accreditation, an agency must comply with all 36 Fundamental Standards and at least 85% of the remaining 108 standards (92).
Based upon the total review process, the Commission, at either Congress or Midyear, (1) accredits, (2) accredits with conditions, (3) defers decision, or (4) does not accredit. Once accreditation is granted, an agency must repeat a similar process every five years in order to maintain its accreditation.
For more information visit www.nrpa.org.