The Academy's Standing Committees
Academy on the Move Task Force
For years we have advocated and developed research and actions that agencies can take to make the argument that parks and recreation is essential to the health, wellness and economic and environmental vitality of our communities. This task force seeks ways to advance the message that parks and recreation is essential to constituents, the public, and especially the decision makers. The initiative is to identify what the Academy can do that others aren’t.
Additionally, the goal is to have at least 80% of AAPRA members write a blog or article (for their state affiliate, NRPA, or other organizations); present educational sessions, workshops; mentor a young professional; or volunteer on a committee or task force. Members are asked to acknowledge their involvement with the Academy, whether in their bio, presentation or in some other way.
Advocacy Task Force
Reviews legislative issues and recommends to the Board of Directors the Academy’s position; develops white papers as appropriate; works with NRPA and other organizations to ensure synchronicity.
Banquet Committee (Staff)
Academy staff plan the annual banquet during the NRPA Congress. This event, with financial support from Landscape Structures, Inc., serves as the venue for presenting the Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal in Parks & Conservation and the Hall of Fame inductees.
Best Paper Award Committee
The Academy presents a Best Paper Award each year, either for a doctoral dissertation in even numbered years or master's thesis/undergraduate paper in odd numbered years.
This committee responds to board requests for proposed additions or amendments to the bylaws.
Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) [In partnership with NRPA]
Six member appointees represent the Academy on the CAPRA Commission. Agencies apply for accreditation based upon standards and must show compliance. Commission terms are three years, and members may not serve more than two consecutive, three-year terms.
This committee selects four young professionals for externships during the NRPA Congress. The Extern Program enables outstanding young professionals in parks and recreation to interact with and learn from AAPRA members and other professionals who attend the conference. Two of the positions, the Ernest T. Atwell Externships, are diversity candidates. This committee also plans a networking reception held during the NRPA Conference for all current and past externs and Academy members.
Gold Medal Committee
The National Gold Medal Awards program is governed and managed by the Academy, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and is sponsored by Musco Lighting. The National Gold Medal Award honors public agencies, state park systems and military installations (worldwide) that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency achievements. This committee provides oversight to the program and recommends to the Academy Board ways in which the program can be improved. The Gold Medal Finalist and Grand Plaque Awards are presented at the NRPA Annual Conference.
Hall of Fame Committee (In partnership with NRPA)
Selects individuals who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the advancement of recreation and parks (nominee must be deceased for at least five years prior to nomination). The Hall of Fame is a memorial to those leaders who have enriched our philosophy and enhanced our environment. Induction takes place during the NRPA Conference at the Academy’s Annual Banquet. The Hall of Fame is housed at NRPA Headquarters. The Academy appoints four representatives who assist this joint committee; terms are five years.
Legends in Parks & Recreation Committee
The Legends Program, sponsored by Landscape Structures, Inc., consists of videotaped interviews of distinguished administrators, educators, local, state or federal elected officials, or citizens who have made outstanding contributions to parks, recreation, and conservation.
Membership Committee (established by Bylaws)
This committee reviews membership applications and forwards its recommendations of individuals to induct into the Academy to the Board. The committee consists of, in addition to the president, six appointed members, each having been a member of the Academy for not less than three years. Committee members serve for one three-year term.
Operates in conjunction with NRPA’s Young Professional Network (YPN) and Leadership Development Network (LDN) to plan and promote mentoring opportunities with Academy members serving as mentors. The mentoring relationship is at least six (6) months and uses virtual meetings, emails, in person, and phone calls to connect mentor with mentee.
Nominating Committee (established by Bylaws)
This committee determines the annual slate for officer and director election. It is chaired by the immediate past president and includes five members, with the majority serving as Academy presidents. One of the five members will be the president elect.
Pugsley Medal Committee (established by Bylaws)
This committee oversees the Pugsley Medal program, which is sponsored by The Davey Tree Expert Company and the National Park Foundation. The Pugsley Medal is bestowed upon individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions to the advancement of parks and conservation at the local, regional, state, or national level. The committee is composed of five voting members, all of whom are Pugsley Medal recipients, and at least three must be members of the Academy. Terms are three years, and a member may serve not more than three consecutive complete terms. In conference with the committee chair, the president may appoint up to two additional Pugsley recipients as honorary nonvoting members, who serve in an advisory capacity. Honorary members may, but need not be, Academy Members.
Race, Equity, and Inclusion (REI) Task Force
2020 has challenged Academy members with the pandemic, but it has also highlighted the inequities in communities of color, racial injustice, and systemic racism. It is a call to each and every Academy member to move from a place of being an ally to movements like Black Lives Matter or aligning with the NRPA Pillar on “Equity at the Center” to being an advocate of positive change on the issues of racism and equity. How can the Academy have an impact on these issues in a way that it inspires, influences and advances the parks and recreation profession?
Research for the Profession Committee
Continue efforts to foster greater connectivity between research and evidence-based practice (e.g., programming, planning, administration), as well as among those who engage in such activities. This committee surveyed Academy members to identify their primary research needs and interests. The effort now is to establish an accessible and practitioner friendly distribution platform to share research and to connect researchers with practitioners to partner on research into practice projects that immediately address agency problems and issues.
Social Media Work Group
Create Academy’s first social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn for members to connect within the Academy, ask questions, seek advice, share resources and knowledge, and connect with other professionals.
Urban Directors Committee
This committee solicits qualified candidates for Academy membership from park and recreation entities serving populations of 500,000 or more and submits recommendations of membership to the Board.