PDOP Receives Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency Award
The Park District of Oak Park has been recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited 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.
To earn the Distinguished Accreditation, the Park District of Oak Park underwent a complex process of application and evaluation. A Joint Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Committee (JDPRAC) comprised of members from IAPD and IPRA reviewed an initial self-evaluation and request for admission in March 2013 and determined the Park District’s eligibility for formal evaluation. On evaluation day in late October, the Park District presented a myriad of information covering all aspects of the agency including general management procedures, finance and business operations, facilities and parks, personnel, recreation services, legal documentation and other materials including the mission statement, goals and organization manuals. Members of the committee also toured parks and facilities.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the Park District was notified in writing it had earned 498 points in the review process, an exceptionally high score for a first time applicant. Areas in which the District excelled were budget and volunteer recognition. The Park District will be recognized with a plaque at the IAPD/IPRA Annual Conference Awards Luncheon in January.
“There are tremendous benefits of achieving Distinguished Accredited status for the Park District of Oak Park,” said Jessica Bullock, Park Board President. “Our agency’s application and review process was an excellent self-evaluation tool and the comprehensive review of management practices and procedures will result in increased operational efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, this award acknowledges that the Park District employs qualified professionals and has met professional standards.”
In compliance with the program, the Park District of Oak Park 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 which advocates for the provision of quality park, recreation and conservation education, resources and services to professionals and citizens throughout the state of Illinois.
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