American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), announced the City of Wichita Park and Recreation Department as a finalist for the 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
Founded in 1965, the National Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.
Applications are separated into six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces. Wichita is in Class II; cities with populations over 150,001 to 400,000.
AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is congratulated for this prestigious award. We know local communities, state park systems, and military installations worldwide met the challenge of being responsive to the changing demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic. Park visitors and program participants have come to rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this pandemic. The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.”
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. The City of Wichita joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for the Grand Plaque which will be awarded in September.
“This is the first time in 54 years Wichita has been a finalist for this very prestigious award,” said Wichita Park and Recreation Director Troy Houtman. “Our department strives every day to increase the quality of life for our community and make Wichita an attractive place to live and thrive.”
A panel of five highly qualified park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.
This year’s finalists will compete for the Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2021 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually and in person September 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming.
For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit
Musco Lighting, LLC is sponsoring the National Gold Medal Awards program.
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a nonprofit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit
Partner: The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit
www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit
Sponsor: Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit