Ira Hutchinson Award Program

The NRPEMS Awards and Citation Committee is pleased to announce the 2024 award Program and detailed herein. You are encouraged to participate in the Society’s efforts to recognize the deserving person, facilities, and programs that advance parks and recreation services.

Ernest T. Atwell Award

Nominee must have been a member or actively engaged with the NRPEMS, NRPA, or local state association for (10) years.

Must have displayed outstanding leadership through committee work (e.g., served on one or more committees for three (3) years or more) or through Board membership (e.g., during two or more consecutive terms have accepted responsibilities and performed services above and beyond accepted standards.)

Must have maintained high professional standards (e.g., through service and deed and has typified the meaning of a park and/or recreation professional.

Nominee initiated and sponsored outstanding recreation and park programs at the local, state or national level for ten (10) or more years.

Programs must be lasting in value and/or be an initial project that has served as the standard for other projects as the local, state, or national level.

Service Award

Nominee must have held a NRPEMS membership for a minimum of three (3) years. Must have performed a service to the Society in an outstanding manner (e.g., committee work for more than three (3) years). Must have served one (1) term as a Board member and during that time have accepted responsibilities and performed services above and beyond accepted standards.

Achievement Award

Nominee must have one of the following: displayed innovative recreation programming, must have developed innovation play equipment and has had a special benefit to mankind, committees, the Society or the parks and recreation field.

Recognition Award

Nominee made an outstanding contribution to parks and recreation in one of the below categories:

    Recognized publication/media regarding parks and/or recreation.
    Partnership that enhanced Parks and Recreation
    Sponsorship that impacted Parks and Recreation

Initiation and sponsorship of an outstanding recreation and park program at the local, state or national level for one (1) or more years.

Young Professional Award

Must have more than (2) years of experience as a leader, instructor, supervisor, administrator, consultant, or a combination of these in the field of parks and recreation.

Must have displayed distinctive leadership in promotion, organization and development of pioneer-type activity in the field of parks and recreation.

Must have outstanding service to the profession through the allied fields of arts, crafts, sports, health and safety education, design, park maintenance, horticulture, education, consultation services, etc.

Must have high recommendations and respect from the staff within the agency for which the nomination now works.

Conference Scholarship Award

The National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society will provide scholarships to a minority in the Parks and Recreation field to attend the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Conference. Funds awarded will help support conference attendee(s) with travel/lodging/food and other expenses. The primary goal of this scholarship is to promote minority involvement throughout NRPEMS and NRPA contributing to the opportunity of engagement in professional development and networking while attending the conference. Applications will be reviewed by the NRPEMS Scholarship Committee based on the responses to the short-essay questions. ALL applications must be submitted no later than 11:59 EST on July 31st, 2024.

*Note: Funding amount may vary from year to year based on budget.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Any current NRPEMS member from an underrepresented group in the park and recreation community

Application Instructions:

  • Provide Responses to short essay questions on application document (250 words or less)
  • Attach Resume
  • Provide any documentation/contributions relevant to this NRPEMS Scholarship

2023 Award Recipients:

    Ernest T. Atwell – Tracey Crawford | Northwest Special Recreation Association
    Service – Edwin Rivera-Guzman | Hispanic Professionals in Parks and Recreation
    Achievement – Keith Wallace | Lincolnway Special Recreation Association
    Recognition – Michael McCarty | American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration
    Young Professional – Sydney Elliot | DeSoto Parks and Recreation

2022 Award Recipients:

    Ernest T. Atwell – Bernita Reese | Columbus Recreation and Parks
    Service – Sonia Wimbish | City of Atlanta Parks and Recreation
    Achievement – Ben Johnson | Louisville Parks and Recreation
    Recognition – Jodie Adams | Brio2 Solutions, LLC
    Young Professional – Shajra Thrasher | City of Douglasville Parks and Recreation