The Indiana Park & Recreation Association Awards of Excellence recognize those throughout Indiana that embody vision, dedication and excellence in parks and recreation. These awards highlight the efforts that transcend everyday standards to make a difference and improve the quality of life in our Indiana communities. IPRA award winners include park and recreation professionals, organizations, agencies and volunteers.
Specific eligibility criteria for each award can be seen below.
All applicants must be current IPRA Members.
Award Nominations open in the Fall of each year.
Recipients must be present at the IPRA Conference Awards Banquet to be eligible to receive an award. Each nominee will also be asked to create a poster depicting their nomination that will be on display during the IPRA Conference.
We encourage award winners to submit an article for the Profile publication.
Distinguished Life Member Award
The Distinguished Life Member Award acknowledges a parks and recreation professional who has dedicated their time to improving the quality of their community and supporting the parks and recreation movement through Indiana. This individual has shown strong leadership through community outreach, inspiration to others, and note-worthy contributions to the field of parks and recreation. The nominee must have at least 20 years of IPRA involvement and has served at least 5 years in an IPRA leadership position. Recipients will receive a lifetime membership with IPRA.
Along with the guidelines stated above, please indicate how the nominee devoted his or her 20 or more years to the involvement with IPRA and outstanding service to his or her community.
Outstanding Professional Award
The Outstanding Professional Award is presented to an individual for their exceptional impact on the field of parks and recreation. Nominees should have a record of noteworthy and special contributions to the parks profession, demonstrate leadership and advocacy, display remarkable service to their agency, and be a source of professional guidance and inspiration. Must be an IPRA member.
Young Professional Award
The Young Professional Award is presented to a current parks and recreation professional who exhibits the attributes of an emerging leader, as displayed through their initiative, innovation, and contributions to the park and recreation field. Nominees should possess a record of career advancement, be engaged in professional and/or community organizations, and demonstrate outstanding service to their agency. Must be an IPRA member and 35 years of age or younger.
Outstanding Agency Award
The Outstanding Agency Award identifies an exceptional IPRA agency who shows involvement and significant contributions to the parks and recreation field. This agency strives to improve the quality of life to both their community and to the state of Indiana.
Corporate Partner of the Year Award
The Corporate Partner of the Year Award recognizes a vendor, company, or individual who has significantly contributed to the field of parks and recreation and developed a strong partnership with IPRA. This vendor, company, or individual has shown great leadership and support to the parks and recreation field by providing either equipment, volunteer time, in-kind services, or other contributions to a project or program that benefits the community and demonstrates the importance of parks and recreation.
Distinguished Citizen Award
The Distinguished Citizen Award recognizes a citizen, community park board member, or volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional efforts towards enhancing and supporting parks and recreation in their community and/or Indiana. Nominees may be recognized for a record of cumulative service or for their endeavors related to a single project or activity of significance.
Elected Official of the Year Award
The Elected Official of the Year Award will be presented to an individual who provides exemplary support to parks and recreation. This individual has made significant contributions to parks and recreation field through active participation, advocacy, or through policy and legislation. This individual can be at the local, county, regional, state, or federal level.
The Excellence in Landscape Design Award
The Excellence in Landscape Design Award projects include garden design, landscape art, sculptures and pathways, improvement on landscape projects and maintenance.
The Exceptional Facility Design Award
Exceptional Facility Design Award projects include indoor pools and indoor sports complexes, community centers, information centers, gymnasiums, picnic shelters, restrooms, lighting, water sewer systems and parking lots, or other amenities.
The Exceptional Park Design Award
The Exceptional Park Design Award are projects that contain facility and landscape components. Examples would be sports fields, playgrounds, splash pads, trails and linear parks, skate parks, dog parks, and outdoor aquatic facilities.
Innovative Program Award
The Innovative Program Award honors programs pertaining to senior and active adults, youth and families, cultural arts, health and fitness, community wellness and more.
Creative Event Award
The Creative Event Award honors events pertaining to senior and active adults, youth and families, cultural arts, health and fitness, community wellness and more.
Inclusion Program of Excellence Award
The Inclusion Program of Excellence Award praises an organization or agency for their achievements pertaining to a program or project that increases awareness and benefits of parks and recreation. This award highlights and acknowledges the organization’s effort and determination to provide inclusive opportunities and programming to their community.
Excellence in Resource Improvement Award
The Excellence in Resource Improvement Award recognizes an agency or park team for its exceptional management of an existing park, trail, natural area, recreation, and/or aquatic facility asset over time. Nominees should demonstrate a record of improvement through quality maintenance and operations, efforts to retain and enhance the resource over time, creative problem-solving in the areas of budget, staffing, physical and/or environmental constraints, and/or introduction of new programs or activities that ensure continued use and optimization of the asset.
Clark Ketchum Conservation Award
The Clark Ketchum Conservation Award recognizes a park and recreation agency that has achieved excellence in conservation stewardship.