Each year the Arkansas Recreation & Parks Association recognizes outstanding individuals and programs throughout the state. ARPA award winners are selected by committee and announced at the annual conference.

SCORING  
10% Brief description of activities offered, population served, length and duration of the program

60% Describe the innovative nature of the person/group/program/facility/event to be judged. Include reasons why the person/group/program/facility/event was established, interagency cooperation and community needs it fulfills

20% What has the person/group/program/facility/event done to expand interest in Parks and Recreation?

10% Provide the operating budget of the person/group/program/facility/event, number of participants, number of paid staff, number of volunteers, and sponsorship/partnership information.

Sample Application

New this year.  Join us for a virtual session on How to Prepare a Winning Application.  July 20 at 1pm.

Submit your application

Award categories include (click title for list of past recipients):

Facility of the Year

  • This award recognizes parks facilities and amenities both large and small. Its purpose is to celebrate your cities accomplishments. Categories are broken down into the following;
    • Indoor Facility Under 1 million
    • Indoor Facility 1 million-5million
    • Indoor Facility Over 5 million
    • Outdoor Facility $200,000-$500,000
    • Outdoor Facility over $500,000
    • Outdoor Facility under $200,000

Champion of the Year

  • This award honors an individual whose efforts as a volunteer made a significant contribution to parks and recreation in the state of Arkansas. Nominees may include an individual whose time, expertise, and/or labor is donated and unpaid. Nominations may be made in recognition of the nominee’s cumulative service or for their efforts on a single project or activity that has created benefit for parks and recreation at the local, regional, or statewide level.

Champion Team of the Year

  • This award honors a group or organization whose efforts as a volunteer made a significant contribution to parks and recreation in the state of Arkansas. Nominees may include businesses, nonprofit organizations or others whose time, expertise, and/or labor is donated and unpaid. Nominations may be made in recognition of the nominee’s cumulative service or for their efforts on a single project or activity that has created benefit for parks and recreation at the local, regional, or statewide level.

Program of the Year

  • Sports Management Program – This award recognizes a well-developed and successful sports management program. This award can be geared towards mainstream and non-mainstream sports.
  • Therapeutic Recreation Program – This award recognizes a well-developed and successful therapeutic recreation program. This award can be geared towards athletics, education, or leisure.
  • Natural Resources Program – This award recognizes a well-developed and successful natural resources program. These programs could include, but are not limited to the following nature based programs; fishing, archery and kayaking.
  • Tourism/Recreation Event Administration Program- This Award recognizes an event ran by the Parks Dept to increase Tourism for their region.

Professional of the Year

  • This award recognizes one outstanding professional in the entire state in the field of Parks and Recreation who is committed to advancing the industry through leadership, work accomplishments and volunteerism.   Ages 35 and over.

Outstanding New Professional  **New category for 2022

  • This award recognizes a park and recreation professional with a minimum of 3 years and less than 15 years of experience in the field and who possesses the qualities and skills of an emerging leader. The nominee demonstrates outstanding leadership, initiative, innovation, and contribution to the park and recreation profession in Arkansas. Within his/her career, the nominee has shown steady career advancement, a commitment to ongoing professional development, recognition and respect from coworkers and colleagues as an emerging leader, and engagement with community and/or professional organizations.

Young Professional of the Year

  • This award recognizes one outstanding young professional in the entire state in the field of Parks and Recreation who is committed to advancing the industry through leadership, work accomplishments and volunteerism. Ages under 35.

Lifetime Award Recipients

  • This special award is to recognize a person, professional or citizen, who live(d) or work(ed) in the State of Arkansas and has achieved prominence for his/her excellence in outstanding and lasting contributions to the advancement of recreation and parks on the local and/or state levels. These contributions should be of long term impact upon the recreation and park movement. A minimum of 20 years in the field of Recreation and Parks is required.

Festival/Special Event of the Year

  • This award recognizes a successful festival or special event ran by the Parks Department. This award is geared towards a tourism attraction or a well-received community event. Categories are broken down into the following;
    • Festival/Special Event of the Year 1-4yrs
    • Festival/Special Event of the Year 5-10yrs
    • Festival/Special Event of the Year 11+yrs

Trail of the Year

  • This award recognizes both large and small trails. Its purpose is to help build enthusiasm and support to raise public awareness about the value of Arkansas’s trail network. Categories are broken down into the following;
        • Hard Surface Trail
        • Natural Surface Trail

Presidential Citation

  • This special award recipient is chosen by the ARPA sitting President.  The award recipient can be chosen from any of the above categories.