News & Announcements

Announcements by Category


Filter by Categories


SuperUser Account
/ Categories: National Gold Medal

Go for the Gold in 2022!

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 2022 Gold Medal Award also recognizes armed forces installations (worldwide). 

One public agency leader recently shared that by applying for a National Gold Medal Award, “our agency received a huge positive and significant public and political recognition from this award. A great boost to staff and recognition of the overall teamwork for the agency.” Another agency stated the benefit as “Credibility, as it helps us improve fundraising and our elected leaders are also more inclined to provide additional budget support. Most importantly, it is a great tool for recruiting new employees.” So…why go for the Gold? Benefits include improved public and political recognition; better staff morale; enhance employee recruitment; fundraising; and additional budget.

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 do not have population categories. 

The Gold Medal application asks agencies to identify what they do well in managing their agency 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 25, 2022, 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 Phoenix, Arizona, as part of the 2022 National Recreation and Park Association Conference. 

In 2021 the following agencies received the coveted Grand Plaque Award: Cleveland Metroparks, Ohio;
City of Tampa Parks and Recreation, Tampa, Florida; Provo Parks and Recreation, Provo, Utah; Vernon Hills Park District, Vernon Hills, Illinois, Delaware State Parks, Dover, Delaware; and Naval Base Coronado, San Diego, California. 

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.


Previous Article Mentorship Webinar: It starts with “me”, but it’s all about YOU!
Next Article 2022 National Gold Medal Q & A