2020 & 2021 WRPA Awards

Congratulations, 2020 & 2021 Award Recipients!

This spring, we want to honor the amazing people, parks, and programs that received an award at the awards ceremony during the 74th Annual WRPA Conference, our first-ever virtual conference. The WRPA Awards Program honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to the field of recreation and parks in Washington State. A variety of awards were handed out to WRPA members and public citizens. 

There are three categories recognized for WRPA's Awards Program: Professional Awards, Citation of Merit Awards, and Spotlight Awards. In addition to these categories, WRPA also acknowledges Mickey Corso Leadership Grant recipients.

The entire awards Ceremony is also available to view on WRPA's YouTube Channel.

Professional Award Recipients

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award honors recently retired professionals for outstanding service in the field of parks and recreation. 

2020 Recipients

  • Jim Ballew, City of Marysville
  • Greg Brown, City of Maple Valley
  • Patrick Foran, Bellevue Parks & Community Services
  • Glenn Kost, Bellevue Parks & Community Services
  • Scott Armstrong, Bellevue Parks & Community Services
  • Mike Mecham, Bellevue Parks & Community Services
2021 Recipients
  • Michael "Mike" Stone, City of Spokane Valley Parks & Recreation
  • Spencer Grigg, City of Moses Lake
  • Al Frank, City of Maple Valley
  • Kaleen Cottingham, WA State Recreation & Conservation Office (RCO)
  • Don Hoch, WA State Parks & Recreation Commission

Jim Ballew Greg Brown Patrick Foran Glenn Kost

Scott Armstrong Mike Mecham Mike Stone Spencer Grigg

Al Frank Kaleen Cottingham Don Hoch

Watch Award

Honor Fellow Award 

Shelley McVeinAs the highest recognition bestowed by WRPA to an individual, the Honor Fellow Award recognizes an individual’s lifetime achievement in the field of parks and recreation. The individual selected must be equal in mind, character, and professionalism to those who have preceded him or her and must set an example for those who will follow.

2020 Recipient: No Nominations

2021 Recipient: Shelley McVein, Bellevue Parks & Community Services

Watch Award

President's Award

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

2020 RecipientNorthwest Playground, WRPA Annual Platinum Sponsor– Longtime passionate commitment to the industry and to WRPA. 

2021 RecipientDoug Levy, WRPA Lobbyist – For his commitment to the industry and his 15-year commitment to WRPA. 

Northwest Playground Logo Doug Levy WRPA Lobbyist

Watch Award

Ron C. Davis III Unsung Hero Award

Christine Bensen

The Ron C Davis III 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.

2020 Recipient: No Nominations

2021 RecipientChristine Bensen, Snohomish Aquatic Center

Watch Award

Young Professional Award

This 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.

2020 RecipientDavid Green, Everett Parks and Community Services

2021 RecipientJustin Brown, City of Longview

David Green Justin Brown

Watch Award

Citation of Merit Award Recipients

Citation of Merit Awards recognizes individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the field of parks and recreation.

Watch Awards

Professional Award

Sylvana Niehuser

This award honors a parks and recreation professional’s contributions to the field of parks and recreation and WRPA.

  • 2020 Recipient: No Nominations

2021 Recipient: Sylvana Niehuser, City if Olympia Parks & Recreation

Organization Award

City of Bothell

This award honors an organization that has contributed to the field of parks and recreation in Washington State

2020 Recipient: City of Bothell

  • 2021 Recipient: No Nominations

Legislative Champion Award

Honors legislators who champion programs and legislation that benefits the parks and recreation industry. 

2021 Recipients:

  • State Senator T’wina Nobles, D-University Place/28th District for her constitution to Senate Bill 5292.
  • State Representative Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline /32nd District for her history of championing the parks and rec industry and her help in starting and convening the Outdoor Recreation Funding Roundtable

State Senator T’wina Nobles  State Representative Cindy Ryu

Watch Awards

Spotlight Awards in Program Excellence Recipients

Watch Awards

Spotlight Awards Program Excellence: Arts

District DramaThis award recognizes outstanding achievement in the delivery of unique arts-related events or programs.

2020 Recipients: District DramaWhite River Community Activities Program

2021 Recipients: No Nominations 

Health & Wellness

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services that promote healthy lifestyles and community wellness.

2020 Recipient: Summer Meal Program | City of Lynnwood

2021 Recipients: Operation Senior Meal Drop | Tukwila Parks & Recreation

Summer Meal Program Operation Senior Meal Drop


Whole Child InitiativeThis award recognizes an outstanding achievement in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services that caters to the needs of the community.

2020 Recipient: Whole Child Initiative | Metro Parks Tacoma

2021 Recipients: No Nominations

Innovative Programming

This award recognizes an outstanding achievement in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services that are unique and cutting edge. Successfully address a community need.

2020 Recipients:  

2021 Recipients:

The Bridge Music Project Spokane Youth Card Pierce Outdoor LIFE

School Day Olywahoo! Haunted Headlights

Special Events

This award recognizes outstanding achievements in the delivery of parks and recreation programs and services that help cater to the needs of the community.

2020 Recipient: So Bazaar | City of Redmond

2021 Recipient: Old Settlers Variety Show | City of Ferndale

So Bazaar Old Settlers Variety Show

Spotlight Awards in Facilities, Parks & Trails Recipients

Watch Awards

Indoor Spaces

The Pullman Recreation CenterThis award recognizes outstanding achievement in indoor facilities (defined as having a roof and walls) that have a recreational use component.

2020 Recipients: No Nominations

2021 Recipients: The Pullman Recreation Center | City of Pullman Parks, Facilities & Recreation

Outdoor Spaces

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in outdoor areas that have a recreational use component.

2020 Recipients: 

2021 Recipients: 

Yesler Terrace Park Downtown Park Summit Park

U.S. Pavilion & Howard Street Promenade Riverfront Spokane Wenberg Park


Recognize outstanding achievement in outdoor areas that have a recreational use component.

2020 Recipients: No Nominations 

2021 Recipients: No Nominations 

Mickey Corso Leadership Grant

The Mickey Corso Professional Leadership Grant was created as a tribute to Mickey Corso (1942–1990) and to his inspiring leadership skills in the recreation and park field. Each year, this grant is awarded to deserving professionals who are looking to further their education and leadership skills.

2020 Recipients:

  • Bophary "Bo" Du, City of Burien Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services
  • Chad HarvellCity of Tumwater Parks & Recreation
  • Kelly McGinley AsheCity of Cheney Parks & Recreation Department

Chad Harvell 

2021 Recipients:

  • Jeff Betz, Mountlake Terrace Recreation & Parks
  • Austin Horner, Redmond Parks & Recreation

Austin Horner Jeff Betz

Watch the Entire Awards Ceremony On WRPA YouTube

Learn More About the Awards

Learn more about the WRPA Awards Program and be sure to submit nominations for future awards. It is important to celebrate your amazing work and the work of your team and colleagues. 

Learn More
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