Tracey Crawford, CTRS, CPRP was appointed as the Executive Director at Northwest Special Recreation Association (NWSRA) in late 2011. NWSRA was formed in 1974 to provide a full spectrum of recreation services to individuals with disabilities. NWSRA is a partnership of 17 park districts in the northwest suburbs of Chicago committed to supporting community access to recreation for people with disabilities.
Crawford’s 25 years of professional experience in parks and recreation includes nine years as the Inclusion Coordinator/Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Assistant Director at Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA) in Aurora, IL; two and a half years as the Manager of Inclusion Services, nine years as the Superintendent of Recreation, one and a half years as the Superintendent of Development and Interim Director at Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) and currently the Executive Director of Northwest Special Recreation Association.
Crawford earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Iowa. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). She is actively involved in professional organizations, having served in leadership roles with the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Section (ITRS) of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). She is the 2008 Past Chairman on the IPRA Board of Directors and is also a Past President of the branch of NRPA that was dedicated to therapeutic recreation. She currently serves on the IPR Foundation (IPRF) Board and the IPRA Leadership Academy Board of Regents.
She received the Meritorious Service Award from NTRS for her work in the field of Therapeutic Recreation, particularly in the area of inclusion. She is also the 2006 recipient of the National Institute on Recreation Inclusion (NIRI) Excellence in Inclusion Award. Crawford was also awarded the IPRA Chairman’s Award twice for her outstanding effort to make the Ethnic Minority Society a full-fledged section of IPRA and her dedication to the field through her continuous involvement on boards, committees and task forces, which has raised the visibility of diversity issues in the state professional association. In 2013, Crawford was awarded the Daily Herald Business Ledger’s Influential Woman in Business Award.
Crawford is dedicated to promoting recreation for everyone and frequently speaks at state and national conferences about inclusion of individuals with disabilities into park and recreation programs. She has authored or co-authored inclusion articles published in the Illinois Park and Recreation magazine, the Recreation Access in the 90’s publication, and the first chapter for inclusion through Human Kinetics which was published in 2011.
Tracey believes growth comes to those who seek it and through her career she has done just that. Every job has prepared her for the next one, and every committee has prepared her for additional leadership. [current as of Sept 2016]