WRPA Awards Program

Celebrate Your Hard Work & Submit A Nomination Today!

Applications will be accepted from September 1, 2022–January 31, 2023. Please submit your nominations below. Not sure what award is the best for your nomination? Review the awards highlights with what you can submit, the qualifications, and past recipients.

The Washington Recreation & Park Association celebrates people, parks, and programs with an annual awards program honoring individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of parks and recreation in Washington State. We have three major categories that we recognize: Professional AwardsCitation of Merit Awards, and Spotlight Awards. Each of these categories has subcategories that are detailed below.

Be sure to take a moment to read the Special Message of Inclusion below to see how this year's awards will be a little different from years past.


Professional Awards Citation of Merit Awards Spotlight Awards
Emerging Professional Professional Facilities, Parks, and Trails
Ron C. Davis II Unsung Hero  Community  Program Excellence
Impact and Influence     Champions for Change
Lasting Legacy    

Submissions are Now Closed!

A Special Message of Inclusion from WRPA

In early 2021, a joint retreat was held between members of the Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EIB) Committee and the WRPA Board of DirectorsThe purpose of the retreat was to discuss the culture of our association, while also identifying a work plan designed to improve equity and inclusion at all levels of the association. Our ultimate goal is to create an association where EVERY member feels welcome and enjoys a strong sense of belonging.

We are excited to announce—thanks to the leaders of the Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee—we have begun a phased approach to updating our award categories and the associated criteria. In hopes of creating a more inclusive awards program, we are taking the initial steps of modernization of some of the category names as well as updating evaluation criteria. While this is an important first step in terms of addressing the existing language and award categories, we know there is additional work to be done in the future.

Through our annual awards program, WRPA looks to honor career-long and emerging leaders alike. As we reflect on the many accomplishments of our industry, we would like to encourage each of you to review the revised criteria below and then submit nominations for the incredible co-workers, supervisors, and staff we are all surrounded by. 


Jennifer Papich, WRPA President
Paul Simmons, WRPA Past President
Shanyanika McElroy,Co-Chair of WRPA's Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee 

WRPA Professional Awards

Lasting Legacy Award (Formally Known as Distinguished Service)
The Lasting Legacy Award honors recently retired professionals for outstanding service in the field of parks and recreation. Read More>

Impact and Influence Award (Formally Known as Honor Fellow)
As the highest recognition bestowed by WRPA to an individual, the Impact and Influence Award recognizes an individual’s dedication and achievement in the field of parks and recreation. Read More>

President's Award:
The President's Award allows the current WRPA President to honor an individual or organization of their choosing. 

Ron C. Davis II Unsung Hero Award: 
The Ron C Davis II Award recognizes an individual for their unwavering commitment, leadership, passion, and contributions to the profession.  This award is meant for those individuals who work tirelessly to make a difference in people’s lives, without being in the spotlight, without significant acknowledgment, but with steadfast grace and passion. This award is for an Unsung Hero. Read More>

Emerging Professional Award (Formally Known as Young Professional)
The Emerging Professional Award recognizes up-and-coming leaders in the parks and recreation profession. Those selected for the honor possess the qualities and talents that will result in their assuming top leadership roles in the field and within WRPA in the future. Read More>

*NEW THIS YEAR* Champions for Change Award:

The Champions of Change Award is presented to an agency with unique, innovative, and exemplary practices of increasing access, fostering diversity and inclusion, addressing environmental impact, and overall enhancement of social equity within their community or organization. Read More>

WRPA Citation of Merit Awards

The Citation of Merit Award recognizes individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the field of parks and recreation. The Citation of Merit Award includes two award categories:

Honors an individual, group, or organization that has contributed to the field of parks and recreation.
Read More>

Honors a park and recreation professional whose contributions to the field of parks and recreation and WRPA. Read More>

WRPA Spotlight Awards

Spotlight Awards recognize outstanding achievements by parks and recreation agencies. Award categories include facilities, parks, trails, and program excellence.

Facilities, Parks, and Trails:
Recognizes excellence in parks and recreation facility design and construction. Read More>

Program Excellence:
Honors achievement in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services. Read More>

Mickey Corso Professional Leadership Grant

As a tribute to Mickey Corso and the professional leadership he provided in the field of parks and recreation, his family, friends, and co-workers have established the Mickey Corso Leadership Scholarship. 

This grant is awarded to professionals and students looking to continue their education in the field of recreation and parks. The grant can be used to pursue post-graduate trainings such as NRPA schools, graduate courses, or other courses and opportunities relating to recreation and park leadership.

Learn More & Apply

Kaleen Cottingham Spokane Youth Card School Day Olywahoo! So Bazaar
Congratulations to the 2022 Award Recipients.


Past Award Winners