News & Announcements

Announcements by Category


Filter by Categories


SuperUser Account
/ Categories: National Gold Medal

Go for the Gold in 2021!

Apply for a National Gold Medal Award

Viewed as the pinnacle of agency centered park and recreation awards, the National Gold Medal Program seeks to identify those agencies who display excellence in the management of their parks, open space, facilities, and recreation services. In addition to public agencies, the Gold Medal Award also recognizes armed forces installations (worldwide) and, in 2021, state park systems in the United States.

Why apply for a National Gold Medal Award? One public agency leader recently shared “[the agency received] a huge positive and significant public and political recognition from this award. A great boost to staff and recognition of overall team work for the agency.” Another stated the benefit as “Credibility, as it helps us improve fundraising, our elected leaders are also more inclined to provide additional budget support. Most importantly, it is a great tool for recruiting new employees.”

Public agencies select a class based upon their population: Class 1 (population 400,001 and over); Class II (population 150,001 to 400,000); Class III (population 75,001 to 150,000); Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000) and Class V (population less than 30,000). Armed forces installations and state park systems do not have population categories.

The Gold Medal application asks agencies to identify what they do really well and why is that considered the agency’s most outstanding effort; the activities undertaken both internally and externally to connect with the community it serves; examples of the results it has achieved; examples of innovation and creativity; and how it addresses the issues of access to all; community health and well-being; and climate-ready parks. Finally, it asks agencies to share challenge(s) it has faced in the last three (3) years; how it has addressed the challenge(s); and the results achieved.

Applicants must complete an online Gold Medal application by March 26, 2021 at which time a panel of five (5) independent Gold Medal judges carefully review each application and select 4 agencies per category as a Gold Medal Finalist. Finalist applicants then submit a five (5) minute video highlighting the activities and results noted in their application. The Gold Medal judges then select one (1) agency per category to receive the Grand Plaque. Finalist and Grand Plaques will be awarded either virtually or in person in 2021.

In 2021 the following agencies received the coveted Grand Plaque Award: Metroparks Toledo, Ohio;
Greensboro Parks & Recreation, North Carolina; Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation, Indiana; Decatur Park District, Illinois; Green River Parks and Recreation, Wyoming and Fort Riley Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Community Recreation Division, Kansas.

The National Gold Medal Award Program is administered by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and is sponsored by Musco Lighting, LLC.


Next Article AAPRA Member Renewal Notice