Extern Program

About the Extern Program

The Young Professional Externship Program enables outstanding young professionals 35 years of age and younger (extended to age 36 in 2021 only) in the parks and recreation field to interact with and learn from members of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, and other individuals who attend the NRPA Conference and its associated meetings. Up to four Externs are selected each year, of which two are Ernest T. Atwell diversity externships.

Externs are paired with Academy members who serve as mentors during the NRPA Conference. Externs may attend selected NRPA Conference meetings, socials and educational sessions with their mentors or on their own. Mentors help introduce Externs to their contacts and widen the young professionals’ networks. After Conference, Externs must write a brief evaluation report including 1) an overview of activities they were involved in during Conference; 2) what they gained from the program; and 3) strengths and weaknesses of the program, along with suggestions for future improvement. To fully participate in the Extern Program, applicants should be prepared to make the externship experience a priority while attending the NRPA Conference.

Extern Benefits
Selected externs each receive (1) reimbursement for the 2021 NRPA Conference registration; (2) up to $1,000 in reimbursement for conference expenses and travel; and (3) a ticket to attend the Academy’s Annual Banquet.

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be a current member of NRPA.
  • Must be 35 years or younger, with a degree in parks and recreation or a related field. Age is determined as of the closing day of the NRPA Conference.
  • At least three (3) years of full-time experience in the parks and recreation field, or parks and recreation academia. Must be FT not FTE.
  • Current position of at least the “specialist” or “coordinator” level with responsibility for program planning, administration, or supervision; or doctoral student.
  • Involvement with state, regional and/or national park and recreation associations/societies, and related field organizations.
  • Professional certification is preferred e.g. Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) or CTRS or be a certified/registered professional under an approved certification/credentialing program
  • Previous Academy Externs are not eligible.