City Of Tampa Parks And Rec Receives Recognition

The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department recently received accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Announced earlier in November at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) 2011 Congress and Exposition in Atlanta, Ga., the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department became the 100th agency in the United States to hold national accreditation from CAPRA.

“Achieving this [accreditation] is for the community we serve as we are providing it with a quality department that is meeting national standards for best practices. This assures the citizens within our community that we are operating efficiently and effectively in our delivery of services,” says Karen Palus, director of the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department. “In our tough economic times, this is so very important to our citizens.”

The only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies, CAPRA accreditation is an extensive multiyear process requiring significant commitment from department staff. Measuring an agency's overall quality of operation, management and services to the community, CAPRA requires agencies to respond to 144 standards. Once achieved, accreditation is valid for a five-year period.

“This is a huge accomplishment and we're thrilled to be considered the very best of the best in the nation,” says Palus. “I am so very proud of the work we do each day for our community. My team is an incredible group of professionals.”

The Tampa Parks and Recreation Department had more than 600 employees sign its accreditation commitment statement, engaging the entire staff during the accreditation process in order to ensure that everything was up to par: The efficiency of operations, professionalism of employees, community support and partnerships and short-term and long-term planning, among other things. But there's always room for improvement.

“We, as a department, must continue to improve upon our work, seeking out new ways of delivering services and taking opportunities to be leaders in research and program development,” says Palus. “Our community can only benefit from these continuous improvement efforts, ensuring that we will continue to provide outstanding services and facilities for our citizens.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Karen Palus, City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department
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