CPRS Awards Program

Honoring the Best of the Best in California

The CPRS annual awards program celebrates outstanding examples of quality facility and park design, programming accomplishments, effective communications, community leadership, and professional successes that take place daily in our profession.

Through our award categories, we highlight the people, places, spaces, programs, and stories that make communities special. 

We look forward to celebrating our Awards of Excellence Class of 2023 during the Best of the Best Showcase in Palm Springs, Thursday, February 29!  

If you are an awardee and you need more information about the Best of the Best Showcase, or would like to RSVP, please use this link.

To schedule a re-presentation of your award at your Council or Board meeting, please connect with Stef at stephanie@cprs.org.  

The Best of the Best... 

Awards of Excellence

Creating Community * Park Planning * Facility Design * Marketing & Communications
Click on the award category below to gain access to the application and learn what is needed to complete your submission.  Deadline to apply is 11:59pm, Monday, December 18, 2023.   

Creating Community Award of Excellence

Creating Community Award of Excellence

This award recognizes outstanding initiatives by agencies, departments, or districts in their effort to deliver the highest level of recreation and leisure programs and services that embody and embrace the values and mission of the profession and move the agency towards a stronger position or role within the community.

Program or service must have been conducted a minimum of 3 years to be eligible.

CPRS may award up to 1 (one) award per sub-category.

Sub-categories:

  • Aging Well - programs, initiatives or innovative practices that promote healthy and active aging within the community
  • Arts & Cultural Services - programs, initiatives or special events that celebrate community character and reinforce the value of visual, performing, or historic resources
  • Community Health & Wellness - programs, initiatives, special events or innovative planning efforts that promote healthy lifestyles and community wellness
  • Economic Vitality - programs, initiatives, special events or innovative planning efforts that positively enhance a community's economic position
  • Environmental Stewardship - programs, initiatives, events, or innovative practices that enhance the physical environment, promote the conservation of natural resources, or connect children with nature
  • Master Planning - long-range system planning for parks, facilities, trails, natural areas, programs and/or services
  • Neighborhood / Community Building - programs, initiatives, or special events in partnership with one or more organizations that seek to strengthen the role of children and families as the cornerstone of a strong community
  • Social Equity - programs, initiatives or services specifically designed to better engage underserved populations, i.e. ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+, those who are unhoused, economically disadvantaged, etc.
  • Youth Development - programs or services that help youth (up to age 18) acquire the attitudes, competencies, values, and social skills they need to become successful adults

What you will be asked to submit on your application:

1.    Telling the Story

Share how your program, park, facility, or marketing effort supports our California Action Plan and Parks Make Life Better! goals.  Tell the Story of your success, using one or more of these goals:

  • Promote physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness 
  • Support economic vitality of our community
  • Create memorable experiences
  • Foster social cohesiveness
  • Support human development and endless learning
  • Strengthen community identity
  • Facilitate community problem and issue resolution
  • Sustain and steward our natural, historical, and/or cultural resources
  • Support a safe, vibrant, attractive, and progressive community

400 word maximum; 20 points

2.     Community Need or Challenge and Desired Outcomes

Outline the community need or significant challenge your program, park, facility, or media project intended to answer/solve.  Describe the desired outcomes you were looking to achieve.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What was the impact if this community need or challenge was not addressed?
  • Did your desired outcomes consider and address equity, accessibility, and diversity in your community?  How? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

3.     Innovative Approach(es)

Detail how your approach was different, new, or innovative in addressing your community need/challenge and reaching your desired outcomes. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What various strategies, tools, technology, and resources were used?
  • Were non-traditional fiscal or community resources (grants, sponsorships, volunteers, etc.) employed?
  • Did you collaborate with other agencies or create a public/private partnership to accomplish your goals? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

4.     Community Collaboration

Describe the role policy makers, staff, community members, partners and/or stakeholders played in reaching your desired outcomes.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • How did you engage policy makers, community members, and partners in obtaining needed resources?
  • How did you ensure diverse community partners and perspectives in your collaborations and problem solving? 
  • What communications channels did you utilize to ensure all community members or stakeholders were included?

400 word maximum; 20 points

5.     Measuring Success

Specify, through measurable results, how you know you reached your desired outcomes as outlined above.  Did the entry create a substantial community benefit, improve operational efficiencies, create new or increased value in the community or significantly enhance the provision of park and recreation services?  How do you know?

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What metrics did you use to know this was a successful program, park, facility, or marketing effort? 
  • How do you know your program, park, facility, or media has reached a diverse cross-section of your community and/or is inclusive of and accessible to all? 
  • How have you celebrated your success and shared the story to advocate for additional support, awareness, or resources?

400 word maximum; 20 points

6.     Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required

  1. 5 to 8 photos; each photo labeled with entry and agency name
  2. Maximum 3 examples of background material that support one or more of the criteria, e.g. partnership agreement, press releases, needs assessments. (PDF)
  3. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Excellence in Design - Park Planning

Excellence in Design – Park Planning

This award recognizes excellence in design of completed park facilities intended for public use. The project may be either new construction or a rehabilitation project that demonstrates high standards of planning, design, community involvement, operation and maintenance, quality of aesthetics, usability, accessibility and versatility. This award further recognizes planning and development or significant rehabilitation of outdoor park and recreation spaces where the majority of the site does not contain buildings, structures or facilities and that result in higher levels of community use.

Project must have been completed between November 1, 2022 – October 31, 2023.

CPRS may award up to 1 (one) award per sub-category/per class.

Sub-Categories:

  • Neighborhood - parks, playgrounds, or open space less than 10 acres in size which typically serve an immediate neighborhood
  • Community - parks, open spaces, or sports complexes less than 50 acres in size which typically serve community wide needs
  • Regional - parks, open spaces, or sports complexes greater than 50 acres in size which typically serve several communities
  • Specialty - unique, single use parks, open spaces or trails that do not fit in any of the above divisions, i.e. skate parks, dog parks, arboretum, etc.

Class Categories:

  • Class 1:  $0 - $2 million project cost
  • Class 2:  $2 - $10 million project cost
  • Class 3:  $10 million and above project cost

 

What you will be asked to submit on your application:

1.    Telling the Story

Share how your program, park, facility, or marketing effort supports our California Action Plan and Parks Make Life Better! goals.  Tell the Story of your success, using one or more of these goals:

  • Promote physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness 
  • Support economic vitality of our community
  • Create memorable experiences
  • Foster social cohesiveness
  • Support human development and endless learning
  • Strengthen community identity
  • Facilitate community problem and issue resolution
  • Sustain and steward our natural, historical, and/or cultural resources
  • Support a safe, vibrant, attractive, and progressive community

400 word maximum; 20 points

2.     Community Need or Challenge and Desired Outcomes

Outline the community need or significant challenge your program, park, facility, or media project intended to answer/solve.  Describe the desired outcomes you were looking to achieve.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What was the impact if this community need or challenge was not addressed?
  • Did your desired outcomes consider and address equity, accessibility, and diversity in your community?  How? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

3.     Innovative Approach(es)

Detail how your approach was different, new, or innovative in addressing your community need/challenge and reaching your desired outcomes. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What various strategies, tools, technology, and resources were used?
  • Were non-traditional fiscal or community resources (grants, sponsorships, volunteers, etc.) employed?
  • Did you collaborate with other agencies or create a public/private partnership to accomplish your goals? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

4.     Community Collaboration

Describe the role policy makers, staff, community members, partners and/or stakeholders played in reaching your desired outcomes.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • How did you engage policy makers, community members, and partners in obtaining needed resources?
  • How did you ensure diverse community partners and perspectives in your collaborations and problem solving? 
  • What communications channels did you utilize to ensure all community members or stakeholders were included?

400 word maximum; 20 points

5.     Measuring Success

Specify, through measurable results, how you know you reached your desired outcomes as outlined above.  Did the entry create a substantial community benefit, improve operational efficiencies, create new or increased value in the community or significantly enhance the provision of park and recreation services?  How do you know?

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What metrics did you use to know this was a successful program, park, facility, or marketing effort? 
  • How do you know your program, park, facility, or media has reached a diverse cross-section of your community and/or is inclusive of and accessible to all? 
  • How have you celebrated your success and shared the story to advocate for additional support, awareness, or resources?

400 word maximum; 20 points

6.     Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required 

  1. Master plan or site plan, including plant palette (PDF) - REQUIRED
  2. Notice of Completion or other documentation that states when the project was completed (PDF) - REQUIRED
  3. Maximum 3 examples of background information that support one or more of the criteria (PDF)
  4. 6 to 8 photos; before and after photos if a rehabilitation project; each photo labeled with entry and agency name.
  5.       If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Excellence in Design - Facility Design

Excellence in Design – Facility Design

This award recognizes excellence in design of completed aquatic, recreation and/or cultural facilities intended for public use. The project may be either new construction or a rehabilitation project that demonstrates high standards of planning, design, community involvement, operation and maintenance, quality of aesthetics, usability, accessibility and versatility. This award further recognizes design and construction or significant rehabilitation of buildings, structures and facilities used primarily to support park and recreation purposes.

Project must have been completed between November 1, 2022 – October 31, 2023.

CPRS may award up to 1 (one) award per sub-category/per class.

Sub-Categories:

  • Aquatic Facility
  • Community Center / Mixed Use Facility - examples are senior centers, gymnasiums, library/community centers, joint use facilities
  • Cultural Facility - examples are performing arts, visual art studios, museums

Class Categories:

  • Class 1:  $0 - $5 million project cost
  • Class 2:  $5 - $15 million project cost
  • Class 3:  $15 million and above project cost

What you will be asked to submit on your application:

1.    Telling the Story

Share how your program, park, facility, or marketing effort supports our California Action Plan and Parks Make Life Better! goals.  Tell the Story of your success, using one or more of these goals:

  • Promote physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness 
  • Support economic vitality of our community
  • Create memorable experiences
  • Foster social cohesiveness
  • Support human development and endless learning
  • Strengthen community identity
  • Facilitate community problem and issue resolution
  • Sustain and steward our natural, historical, and/or cultural resources
  • Support a safe, vibrant, attractive, and progressive community

400 word maximum; 20 points

2.     Community Need or Challenge and Desired Outcomes

Outline the community need or significant challenge your program, park, facility, or media project intended to answer/solve.  Describe the desired outcomes you were looking to achieve.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What was the impact if this community need or challenge was not addressed?
  • Did your desired outcomes consider and address equity, accessibility, and diversity in your community?  How? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

3.     Innovative Approach(es)

Detail how your approach was different, new, or innovative in addressing your community need/challenge and reaching your desired outcomes. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What various strategies, tools, technology, and resources were used?
  • Were non-traditional fiscal or community resources (grants, sponsorships, volunteers, etc.) employed?
  • Did you collaborate with other agencies or create a public/private partnership to accomplish your goals? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

4.     Community Collaboration

Describe the role policy makers, staff, community members, partners and/or stakeholders played in reaching your desired outcomes.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • How did you engage policy makers, community members, and partners in obtaining needed resources?
  • How did you ensure diverse community partners and perspectives in your collaborations and problem solving? 
  • What communications channels did you utilize to ensure all community members or stakeholders were included?

400 word maximum; 20 points

5.     Measuring Success

Specify, through measurable results, how you know you reached your desired outcomes as outlined above.  Did the entry create a substantial community benefit, improve operational efficiencies, create new or increased value in the community or significantly enhance the provision of park and recreation services?  How do you know?

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What metrics did you use to know this was a successful program, park, facility, or marketing effort? 
  • How do you know your program, park, facility, or media has reached a diverse cross-section of your community and/or is inclusive of and accessible to all? 
  • How have you celebrated your success and shared the story to advocate for additional support, awareness, or resources?

400 word maximum; 20 points

6.     Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required

  1. Site plan (PDF) - REQUIRED
  2. Building floor plan (PDF) - REQUIRED
  3. Notice of Completion or other documentation that states when the project was completed (PDF) - REQUIRED
  4. Maximum 3 examples of background information that support one or more of the criteria (PDF)
  5. 6 to 8 photos including at least 2 interior and 2 exterior photos; before and after photos if a rehabilitation project; each photo labeled with entry and agency name.
  6. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Marketing & Communications Award of Excellence

Marketing & Communications Award of Excellence

This award recognizes excellence in print, audio visual or electronic communications that (1) externally promote the agency’s public parks, facilities, recreation, or leisure services programs and have successfully demonstrated an increased level of public awareness or (2) are used to enhance the agency’s internal communications to staff, policy makers, or current program participants.

Project must have been completed between November 1, 2022 – October 31, 2023.

CPRS may award up to 1 (one) award per sub-category/per class.

Sub-Categories

  • Digital Media - Video (TV, public service announcements, informational videos)
  • Digital MediaWeb & Mobile (web sites, podcasts, new platforms, mobile app)
  • Digital Media - Social Media (social media)
  • Print Publication or Materials (agency guides, program or facility brochures, annual reports
  • Marketing Campaign (use of multiple avenues to tell ONE story, i.e. 2 of 4 sub categories)

Class Categories:

  • Class 1:  up to 50,000 population
  • Class 2:  50,001 – 125,000 population
  • Class 3:  125,001 – 250,000 population
  • Class 4:  250,001 plus population

What you will be asked to submit on your application:

1.    Telling the Story

Share how your program, park, facility, or marketing effort supports our California Action Plan and Parks Make Life Better! goals.  Tell the Story of your success, using one or more of these goals:

  • Promote physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness 
  • Support economic vitality of our community
  • Create memorable experiences
  • Foster social cohesiveness
  • Support human development and endless learning
  • Strengthen community identity
  • Facilitate community problem and issue resolution
  • Sustain and steward our natural, historical, and/or cultural resources
  • Support a safe, vibrant, attractive, and progressive community

400 word maximum; 20 points

2.     Community Need or Challenge and Desired Outcomes

Outline the community need or significant challenge your program, park, facility, or media project intended to answer/solve.  Describe the desired outcomes you were looking to achieve.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What was the impact if this community need or challenge was not addressed?
  • Did your desired outcomes consider and address equity, accessibility, and diversity in your community?  How? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

3.     Innovative Approach(es)

Detail how your approach was different, new, or innovative in addressing your community need/challenge and reaching your desired outcomes. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What various strategies, tools, technology, and resources were used?
  • Were non-traditional fiscal or community resources (grants, sponsorships, volunteers, etc.) employed?
  • Did you collaborate with other agencies or create a public/private partnership to accomplish your goals? 

400 word maximum; 20 points

4.     Community Collaboration

Describe the role policy makers, staff, community members, partners and/or stakeholders played in reaching your desired outcomes.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • How did you engage policy makers, community members, and partners in obtaining needed resources?
  • How did you ensure diverse community partners and perspectives in your collaborations and problem solving? 
  • What communications channels did you utilize to ensure all community members or stakeholders were included?

400 word maximum; 20 points

5.     Measuring Success

Specify, through measurable results, how you know you reached your desired outcomes as outlined above.  Did the entry create a substantial community benefit, improve operational efficiencies, create new or increased value in the community or significantly enhance the provision of park and recreation services?  How do you know?

Some thoughts to consider:

  • What metrics did you use to know this was a successful program, park, facility, or marketing effort? 
  • How do you know your program, park, facility, or media has reached a diverse cross-section of your community and/or is inclusive of and accessible to all? 
  • How have you celebrated your success and shared the story to advocate for additional support, awareness, or resources?

400 word maximum; 20 points

6.     Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required

Digital Media-Videos: television, public service announcements or informational videos

  1. Link (URL) to where the entry can be viewed on-line
  2. 3 to 5 screen shots or images of the video in use (jpg image)
  3. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Digital Media-Web/Social Media: Web sites, social media, blogs, new/emerging platforms or mobile device app development

  1. Link (URL) to where the entry can be viewed on line
  2. 3-5 screen shots representative of applicable social media, blogs or websites (jpg image)
  3. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Print Publication or Materials: agency guides, program or facility brochures that promote general programs, specialty programs or special events whether for a single program or event or for a series of related events such as a concert series; facility guides, annual reports, etc.

  1. Sample of print material (PDF)
  2. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Marketing Campaign: use of multiple avenues to tell ONE story, i.e. 2 of 4 sub categories, (ads/print materials/promotional items, or social media) targeted to promote a specific agency event, program or facility. Individual items used in the campaign may not be entered as single items in other categories.

  1. Itemized list of promotional items and a 2-3 sentence description of how item was used (PDF)
  2. 1 digital photo or screen shot of each item (jpg image)
  3. Sample of print materials (if used) (PDF)
  4. If you are not a park and recreation agency and are submitting an application on behalf of a park and recreation agency/program/facility/park, please include a letter from said agency denoting they know you are submitting this award application.  (PDF)

Professional and Service Awards

Champion of the Community * Fellow/Hall of Fame * Rising Professional * Outstanding Research * Citation of Merit / CPRS Champion
Click on the award category below to gain access to the application and learn what is needed to complete your submission.  Deadline to apply is 11:59pm, Monday, December 18, 2023.   

Champion of the Community

Champion of the Community

The Champion of the Community award honors and recognizes individuals or organizations who have contributed significant effort to influence and improve the quality of their community through parks and recreation. This statewide award recognizes the contributions of those who volunteer and provide support and services in their community that furthers the mission and quality delivery of park and recreation services, programs, and facilities in their community.

This award is not awarded to employees or retirees in the parks and recreation profession.

CPRS may award multiple awards in this category.

Award Narrative

Maximum 750 word narrative describing the accomplishments and contributions of the nominee including any or all of the following elements:

  • Record of outstanding volunteer, elected or appointed service to the delivery of park and recreation services or programs in their community.
  • Contributions to the development of or improvements to new equipment, apparatus, facilities or programs that enhance the provision of parks and recreation services.
  • Creation of positive and meaningful impact or change for the community, and those that are served, through park and recreation services and programs.
  • Response to a significant challenge in their community and their innovative, responsive, and proactive approach in developing solutions to those challenges.

Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required

  1. 1 to 2 photos of nominee; labeled with nominee name & nominator name

Rising Professional

Rising Professional

This award honors and recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to CPRS through service on State, Region, Section or District Boards or committees, or through service to CPRS at events, programs, or conferences for no less than 3 and no more than 10 years of service. Up to one (1) Rising Professional may be named per CPRS Region annually. This award is designed to recognize the contributions of those who work on behalf of CPRS to advance the profession and who strengthen and support CPRS as a professional organization.

CPRS may award up to 5 (five) awards annually – max of 1 from each CPRS Region.

Professional must have no less than 3 and no more than 10 years of service to CPRS.

Award Narrative

Nominee should have a record of outstanding service to CPRS or to a CPRS District, Section, or committee in one or more of these means:

  • Development of new initiative(s) for CPRS at the State, District, or Section level that result in new program(s) or service(s) to members.
  • Response to a significant challenge faced by CPRS, a District or Section and their contribution of an innovative or proactive solution to the challenge.
  • Presentation(s) at CPRS State, District, or Section trainings. 
  • Author or contributor to article through CPRS or other professional organization's publication that advance the park and recreation profession.
  • Support of CPRS through fund-raising, sponsorship, talent, action, pro bono support, consultation, or leadership positions.

Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required 

  1. 1 to 2 photos of nominee; labeled with nominee name & nominator name

Fellowship / Hall of Fame

Fellowship / Hall of Fame

The Fellowship / Hall of Fame is CPRS' highest award to honor and recognize individuals who have significantly contributed to and influenced CPRS and the park and recreation profession throughout their career. This award is not necessarily awarded each year but may also be awarded to multiple candidates. The Hall of Fame is proudly displayed at CPRS Headquarters, in Sacramento.

Award Narrative

The nominee must have a proven record and a high level of competency in at least four (4) of these areas:

  • Record of outstanding professional service and a history of engagement to the delivery of park and recreation services or programs throughout their career.
  • Service to CPRS through state, district or section activities and / or other professional and community organizations. 
  • Positive and meaningful impact or change to the community / communities and those who are served.
  • Response to a significant challenge in their community and their innovative, responsive and proactive approach in developing solutions to the challenge.
  • Leadership achievement(s):  communicating a vision to others inside or outside his/her organization; setting direction; executive decision-making aligned with organization's values, vision, and mission; and being viewed as a change agent within the community, region, or area.
  • Achievement in developing and implementing strategic change initiatives to produce desired change in capacity building, strengthening community leadership, or enhancing the planning process.
  • Experience in developing cooperative ventures, partnerships, alliances, collaborations or coalitions based on common goals that maximize resources for the long-term goals of the organization.
  • Demonstration of innovations and forward-thinking solutions that align their organization or CPRS for a successful future.
  • Demonstration of promoting the success of the profession through developing and mentoring young professionals, succession planning or training.

Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required

  1. Up to four (4) one page letter(s) of reference / achievement addressing one or more of the nine (9) award criteria. Examples may be letter(s) from professional peer(s), supervisor(s), subordinate(s), community leader(s), elected or appointed official(s), board / commission member(s), or representative(s) of partner organization(s).
  2. 1 to 2 photos of nominee; labeled with nominee name & nominator name

Citation of Merit / CPRS Champion

Citation of Merit / CPRS Champion

The Citation of Merit honors and recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to CPRS through service on the State, Section or District Boards, committees, or through service to CPRS at events, programs, or conferences for 6 years or more. This statewide award is designed to recognize the contributions of those who work on behalf of CPRS to advance the profession and who strengthen and support CPRS as a professional organization.

CPRS may award multiple awards in this category.

Award Narrative

Nominee should have a record of outstanding service to CPRS or to a CPRS District, Section or committee in one or more of these areas:

  • Development of new initiatives for CPRS that result in new programs and service to members.
  • Response to a significant challenge faced by CPRS and contribution of innovative or proactive response to the challenge at the State, Section, or District level.
  • Presentation of session(s) at the CPRS State, Section or District level.
  • Research projects or author/contributor of articles for CPRS or other professional publications that advance the park and recreation profession.
  • Consistent support of CPRS through fundraising, sponsorships, talent, action, pro bono work, consultation, training, and/or leadership.
  • In addition to service to CPRS, advancing the profession through outstanding record of service and contributions to other professional park and recreation organizations, i.e. National Recreation & Park Association, Women in Leisure Services, etc.

Your narrative should highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the nominee through service to CPRS of six (6) years or more.

Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required 

  1. 1 to 2 photos of nominee; labeled with nominee name & nominator name

Outstanding Research

Outstanding Research

The Outstanding Research Award honors and recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to CPRS and the profession by engaging in all aspects of applied research. The nominee must demonstrate a record of dissemination of research over a period of at least 5 years that reaches professionals in the field via publications, technical reports, and/or presentations at the district, state (CPRS), or national (NRPA Conference) levels. This statewide award is designed to recognize the research contributions of those who advance the profession and who strengthen and support CPRS as a professional organization.

CPRS may award multiple awards in this category.

Award Narrative

Maximum 750 word narrative describing the accomplishments and contributions of the nominee including any or all of the following elements:

  • Engagement in applied research that contributes to the advancement of public parks and recreation.
  • Development and integration or utilization of tools and measurement procedures that can be adopted by park and recreation agencies to determine programmatic and service outcomes.
  • Presentation of research findings in session(s) at the CPRS State, Section, or District level, or national (NPRA Conference) levels to include research symposium sessions and/or educational sessions.
  • A record of publications and technical reports that demonstrate a commitment to reach park and recreation personnel and to maximize the utility of applied research results.
  • Recognition of leadership and participation in professional organizations to include scholarly journal editorial boards, and research review processes such as coordinator, reviewer, and moderator of research conferences and symposia.

Award Application Summary

In 150 words or less, please give us a compelling description of your award nomination, highlighting several points from the questions above.  Note that this 150-word description may be used in future CPRS Award program marketing materials.  Be sure it is representative of what you'd like not only our award judges but also general members, to read about your award nominee!

Additional Supplemental Information Requested/Required 

  1. 1 to 2 photos of nominee; labeled with nominee name & nominator name

Resources for an Award Winning Submission

All the information you need to submit an award winning application!

Award Program FAQs

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Do I need to be a member of CPRS to submit a nomination and/or receive an award?

See the chart below to determine if you must be a member of CPRS to nominate and/or receive an award:

Award Category Nominee Nominator
Creating Community Member/Non Member Member/Non Member
Facility Design Member/Non Member Member/Non Member
Park Planning Member/Non Member Member/Non Member
Marketing & Communications Member/Non Member Member/Non Member
Fellow/Hall of Fame Must be Member Must be Member
Rising Professional Must be Member Member/Non Member
Champion of the Community Member/Non Member Must be Member
Outstanding Research Must be Member Member/Non Member
Citation of Merit/CPRS Champion Must be Member Member/Non Member


What is the deadline to submit a nomination?

Entries must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Monday, December 18, 2023.

Entry fee(s) must be paid online by 11:59 pm Monday, December 18, 2023.

Are there fees associated with submitting a nomination?  How much?

Award Category Fee
Creating Community $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Facility Design $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Park Planning $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Marketing & Communications $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Fellow/Hall of Fame No Fee
Rising Professional No Fee
Champion of the Community $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Outstanding Research $85 Member / $180 Non Member
Citation of Merit/CPRS Champion $85 Member / $180 Non Member


Failure to pay the entry fee (if applicable) will disqualify your entry.

How do I pay my entry fee?

The entry fee must be paid on line at the time of submission.  Purchase orders and agency/personal checks will not be accepted.

May I submit more than one nomination in a specific category?

Agencies may submit more than one entry per category but not within the same class or division.

Tell me more about judging and how to submit a winning nomination...

Entries will be considered complete if all of the required information is submitted. Judges reserve the right to reassign an entry to a more appropriate category. The judges' decisions are final and judging information may be released upon the request of an agency to the Chair of that particular Awards Category. Judges are not required to select a winner in every category. For additional information on how to submit a more effective award nomination, review our "Award Winning Strategies."

Can private firms and/or individuals submit nominations?

Award entries submitted by private firms or individuals, i.e. architects, landscape architects, planners, graphic designers, etc. must submit a letter from their client acknowledging their permission to submit the program or project.

What information do I need to submit to be considered for an award?

Each entry must complete the Award Entry Form.  To see an outline of the submission criteria, use the individual award category links above to see what will be asked on each application. 

Each category requires additional submittal information. Please read each Award Category “Additional Submittals Required” section carefully to ensure your entry is qualified to be judged. Incomplete entries will not be judged.

Use our Award Winning Strategies to ensure your nomination is award worthy!

Please ensure your photos are of the highest resolution possible (i.e. 300 dpi or higher).

Please Note:  All materials will become part of the CPRS library collection to share with other agencies and will not be returned to the entrant. The submission of this application warrants that all materials submitted do not violate any copyright or other proprietary rights of others; that the materials are original works; that any photograph or videos are clear of any ownership or copyright restrictions and those persons in the pictures or videos have agreed to or have no objection to CPRS using the pictures in promoting the agency's program or in any other CPRS material.

Award Winning Strategies

What makes a submission a winner? Here are tips from our judges to ensure a well written entry to the CPRS Awards Program:

Start now!

Don't wait until the last minute to prepare your awards submission! 

  • Review the award program descriptions carefully, noting the evaluation criteria that will be used to judge your entry. Also note each category requires different submittal information!
  • Start identifying the people, reports, photos, or documents you will need to complete your entry.
  • Ask another staff member to proof the narrative and submittals for misspellings and typos.
  • Be sure each submittal is labeled as directed and is in the right format (PDF, jpg, etc).

Need to step away from your application?

No problem!  Once you create an account and begin the process, you will receive an email with a link to update your application.  You will have until 11:59pm, Monday, December 18, 2023 to make edits, add files, and review information. 

Keep it simple and follow all directions

The award categories, entry criteria, and submittal requirements are slightly different for each award, so it is important to read each award category carefully.  Following directions will eliminate the chance your entry will be disqualified. Don't let this happen to your entry!

Focus on the evaluation criteria

The judges will rely solely on your narrative to tell your story. Have the evaluation criteria by your side as you write your narrative. Provide the information requested in a direct, simple style.

Resist the temptation to overwrite!

Review, review and review again

Do not underestimate the value of a well written narrative - this is our only way to judge your nomination! Have someone who has NO knowledge of the entry/program/facility review your narrative and submittals before submitting them online. Be sure to give them the evaluation criteria to follow! They should review your narrative for clarity, grammar, and spelling.

Keep a copy of your award entry narrative and submittals for your records as NO materials will be returned to you.  This is especially important if you want to re-submit the same application or follow the same format for a new entry.

Choose your agency contact well

Your agency contact will receive detailed information regarding the status of your award as well as any recognition for award recipients. They will be required to meet specific deadlines regarding your entry.  Select the most detailed person in your agency or organization to be the 'gatekeeper' of all information regarding your awards applications.

Recognition of Award Recipients

Awards recipients in each category, division, and class will receive:

  • A one of a kind mosaic plaque, hand made by our friends at Piece by Piece
  • Statewide recognition at CONNECTIONS 2024 (CPRS Conference & Expo), February 27 - March 1, 2024 in Palm Springs
  • CPRS representative available to present the Award virtually or in person at a local event
  • Statewide recognition in the Spring issue of California Parks & Recreation and on the CPRS website, www.cprs.org
  • Electronic Award of Excellence logo for agency promotional purposes
  • Sample press release for award recipient to distribute to local or regional media


Have questions or need Technical Assistance?

For general Award Program or criteria questions, please connect with our Award Program Co-Chairs:
Stephanie Molina, 661-763-7011
Leah Martinez, 925-314-3431

For questions regarding our online nominations process, please connect with CPRS HQ:
Stephanie Stephens, 916.665.2777

Sincere thanks to our long time Award Program Sponsors...

Little Tikes Logo
RJM Logo
SVA Logo