Getting recognized for the hard work you do is something that goes beyond just getting a plaque or award. Winning an individual or agency award at the Soaring to New Heights Conference is a testament to the tremendous dedication and countless hours contributed to making your community a better place to live… and play! The Awards and Recognition program is a wonderful way to recognize leaders in the field and outstanding projects accomplished throughout the past year. The awards are announced at the All-Conference Awards Luncheon in front of colleagues and legislators from throughout the state. Nominate someone today!
- IAPD Awards and Recognition Program
- IPRA Awards and Recognition Program
- Agency Showcase
For award program details and deadlines, click on the corresponding tabs below.
IAPD Awards – Nomination Deadline: Thursday, November 9 at 5 p.m. The following awards will be presented Friday, January 26, 2024, during the All-Conference Awards Luncheon at the annual IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference: Rising Star, Honored Professional, Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service, Commissioner of the Year. Nomination Process: All nominations must include a typed biography of contributions and accomplishments not to exceed 750 words. Nominations must also include a condensed summary of the nomination, not to exceed 200 words. This condensed summary is how you would present highlights of your nominee’s accomplishments to an audience. Nominations must also include a photo of the nominee attached as a .jpg , .tiff or .eps file (at least 300 dpi). Nominations may also include supportive materials (not to exceed 5 pages or 5 attachments) such as newspaper clippings, additional photos of nominee, etc. All nomination materials must be submitted via e-mail to IAPD Director of Public Relations & Membership Engagement, Bobbie Jo Hill. The typed biography of contributions and accomplishments and the condensed summary must be formatted as follows:
- Times New Roman or Arial font
- 12-point font size
- Single spaced
- Saved as a .pdf
Additionally, the following information should be centered at the top of the page:
- Agency name
- Nominee’s name
- Award nomination title
- Contact name, agency, phone number and e-mail address (of person submitting the nomination)
For general questions regarding the IAPD Awards and Recognition Program, please contact Bobbie Jo Hill at 217/970-7318 or bjhill@ILparks.org. Rising Star Award (More Information) 2022 Rising Star Winner: Laura Reilly, Hanover Park Park District The Rising Star Award recognizes up-and-coming board members who have completed a minimum of one year, but not more than six years of service as a board member (equivalent to one elected term.) The recipient of the Rising Star Award will have demonstrated exemplary performance in duties and responsibilities as a board member. Criteria: The recipient must:
- Have completed a minimum of one year, but not more than six years of service as a board member (equivalent to one elected term).
- Be actively involved in the park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency and community including, but not limited to, service to residents and promotion of the benefits of park districts, forest preserves, conservation, and recreation agencies.
- Have performed additional significant or noteworthy projects demonstrating positive impact and dedication to the field of parks and recreation, which may include involvement in IAPD activities.
IAPD Honored Professional Award (More Information) 2022 Honored Professional Award Winner: Dan Jones, Cary Park District The IAPD Honored Professional Award is presented to a park, recreation, forest preserve or conservation professional who has worked closely with citizens and the Illinois Association of Park Districts to improve the quality of life for all people in Illinois. Criteria: The recipient must:
- Have demonstrated remarkable talents in encouraging local board members to excel as citizen advocates in advancing the field of parks and recreation.
- Have worked above and beyond the call of duty to promote park districts, forest preserves, conservation and/or recreation agencies in their communities and throughout Illinois.
- Believe in the IAPD mission and have a history of supporting its endeavors. Examples include, but are not limited to, having assisted with the legislative process, served on IAPD/IPRA joint committees, acted as a speaker at IAPD programs, authored articles for IAPD publications, volunteered at IAPD events, or encouraged board member involvement in IAPD programs or services (i.e. Board Member Development Program, Friends of Illinois Parks, Park District Youth License Plate, etc.)
Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service Award (More Information) 2022 Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service Award Winner: William Wright, Streamwood Park District When asked how he wanted to be remembered, long-time park commissioner Mike Cassidy once said, “Doing something good for the community, contributing something for the future.” This annual award is presented to a commissioner whose volunteer service to his or her community emulates the vision and voluntary efforts demonstrated by Mike Cassidy to improve the quality of life for those in his community. Recipients of the Commissioner Community Service Award will have demonstrated the highest example of community service, personal integrity, and ingenuity. Criteria: The recipient must:
- Be an elected official and member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
- Have demonstrated tireless assistance and leadership through contribution of time, services or volunteer efforts for the community he or she serves.
- Be known for fostering local partnerships and being involved with the success of community programs and organizations such as, but not limited to, civic, nonprofit, religious and educational.
About Mike Cassidy… Mike Cassidy spent more than 35 years as a commissioner of the Freeport Park District. During his years of involvement with the park and recreation field, he demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in support and promotion of park districts, forest preserves, conservation, and recreation agencies. He devoted much of his time to serving several terms on the board of the Illinois Association of Park Districts, working to advance parks, recreation, and conservation statewide. Cassidy was a hands-on, involved and deeply committed board member who had the outstanding quality of being a good listener. He maintained that his years with the park board were a pleasure and the most rewarding experience of his life. “It’s more than a service to the community,” Cassidy said. “It’s a service to yourself because if you really get into it, you’ll find that the joy of it is absolutely incomparable.” Commissioner of the Year Award (More Information) 2022 Commissioner of the Year Award Winner: Ken Collin, Freeport Park District The recipient of the Commissioner of the Year Award will have shown outstanding qualities to support and promote parks, recreation, and conservation in his or her community, as well as throughout the state. Criteria: The recipient must:
- Be an elected official and member of IAPD.
- Have served a minimum of 6 years as a member of a local board.
- Demonstrate skills in dealing with people (public, media, legislators), a true desire to serve while accepting personal sacrifices, and the ability to stimulate community action while maintaining the highest integrity in ethics.
- Have helped to carry out the IAPD mission: “The IAPD is a non-profit service, research and education organization that serves park districts, forest preserves, conservation, and recreation agencies. The association advances these agencies, their citizen board members, and professional staff in their ability to provide outstanding park and recreation opportunities preserve natural resources and improve the quality of life for all people in Illinois.” This can be promoting IAPD through the legislative process, volunteering at IAPD events, serving as a lecturer or panel member at IAPD programs, or participating on an IAPD committee or its board of trustees.
Youth License Plate Award – Best Promotional Practices (More Information) Any park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency that has shown insightful, creative ways to promote the Park District Youth License Plate through events, programs, etc. may apply for this award. (Example: “Flying 4 Kids” kite fly). The Youth License Plate Award will be presented at the IAPD Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. E-mail application as a .pdf to IAPD Director of Public Relations & Membership Engagement, Bobbie Jo Hill no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 2, 2023. Applications must be submitted as 1–3-page typed summaries of how the Park District Youth License Plate was promoted. Agencies give IAPD permission to reprint descriptions of license plate promotions. IAPD/IPRA Community Service Award (More Information) Community Service Awards can be awarded for recognition of ongoing support, outstanding contributions of time, money, services, volunteer work or the advancement of parks and recreation. Honorees might include a non-member employee, a group, an organization, an individual, an elected official, governing body, local business, church, or school district. These awards can be ordered through IPRA for pick up at the Soaring to New Heights Conference. Orders will be accepted through November 11, 2022. Your agency can present the award to your recipient(s) on the local level. Board Member Development Program (More Information) The IAPD Board Member Development Program gives recognition to local board members who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty through committee involvement, attendance at continuing educational opportunities and achievements at the local, state and national levels. Participation in the Board Member Development Program can garner numerous benefits including recognition from fellow colleagues, legislators, media, and the public. The program tracks accomplishments obtained during terms on your local board, useful during re-election. Any member of IAPD may join the Board Member Development Program for an annual fee of $20. Participants accumulate “Board Development Units” (BDUs) yearly from October 1 to September 30. Units earned after September 30 will go toward the following year. All members of the program will receive a participant lapel pin. Board Member Development Program participants (Distinctive and Master Levels) will be recognized at the IAPD Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. Join Now! Board Member Development Program forms must be completed and sent to IAPD Director of Public Relations & Membership Engagement, Bobbie Jo Hill, no later than 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 2, 2023.
IPRA Awards – Nominations must be submitted by Friday, November 10, 2023
Young Professional of the Year Award The Young Professional of the Year Award is presented to a current IPRA member who has served fewer than eight (8) years as a full-time professional in the field of parks and recreation, has been actively engaged in IPRA and who has made an impact in the field of parks and recreation and/or in the community they serve.
Professional of the Year Award The Professional of the Year Award is presented to a current IPRA member who has served a minimum of eight (8) years as a full-time professional in the field of parks and recreation, holds an industry certification, has been actively engaged in IPRA and who has made an impact within the parks and recreation industry and/or in the community they serve.
Champions for Change Award The Champions for Change Award recognizes an agency with a unique and exemplary practice of increasing access and fostering diversity and inclusion within their community or organization. These are measurable practices that remove barriers, result in positive social change, and inspire others to follow in their path. It improves the working experience and engagement levels of minority employees, and/or the lives of minority populations within the community through the delivery of excellent ethnically and culturally competent services.
Community Impact Award The Community Impact Award is presented to a current IPRA member who has served a minimum of eight years as a full-time professional and has made a major contribution to their local agency/community through their involvement with local community, non-profit, and business organizations.
Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award The IPRA Lifetime Achievement Award was established to honor Robert Artz’s legacy of service to the park and recreation profession. The recipient’s efforts will have had a lasting impact and created awareness of the importance of parks and recreation among his/her peers and in the community he/she serves. The Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a current IPRA member who has served a minimum of twenty-five (25) years as a full-time professional in the field of parks and recreation, of which at least fifteen (15) have been in Illinois. Recipients must hold an industry certification, have been actively engaged in IPRA, and have made a significant achievement for their agency or through involvement within their community.
For additional awards information, and criteria or to submit a nomination click here. Awards will be presented Friday, January 27, 2022, during the All-Conference Awards Luncheon at the annual IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights conference. For general questions regarding the IPRA Awards and Recognition Program, please contact Vince Davis at 708/588-2286 or email@example.com.
CONGRATULATIONS to IPRA’s 2023 AWARD WINNERS!
Young Professional of the Year: Lacy Marinenko
Vernon Hills Park District
Professional of the Year: Molly Hamer
Northbrook Park District
Community Impact: Sandy VanGundy
Bloomingdale Park District
Champions for Change: Glenview Park District
Robert Artz Lifetime Achievement: Tracey Crawford
Submission Deadline: December 18, 2023
Agency Showcase is a spirited competition spotlighting the brightest ideas exhibited by park, recreation, and conservation agencies. This professionally judged competition recognizes Illinois agencies for their marketing and communication efforts ranging from print to multimedia. This year’s competition will include two divisions and 13 categories in which to enter. Come join in the fun and showcase your agency to industry professionals throughout Illinois!
We’re Looking for Judges! If you know a professional outside the parks and recreation field who works in print, web, photography, or other related disciplines, let us know! Volunteering as a judge for Agency Showcase provides professionals with a great opportunity to network, receive free admission to educational sessions, and access to the conference exhibit hall.
To apply to be an Agency Showcase judge, click here. Note: Park and recreation professionals, board members, or others affiliated with your agency are not eligible to be judges.) to go here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8F9XV86