Showcase the good in your community – submit an awards nomination! 

by Emily Schnellbaugh, Communications Manager, PRPS

2019 Community Champion Award Winners

As a park and recreation professional, you provide so many wonderful opportunities for your community members. Now is the time to celebrate what you do by submitting a parks and recreation award nomination. 

The PRPS Recognition & Awards Program was developed over 60 years ago for park and recreation professionals and agencies. The awards are presented annually at the PRPS Conference & Expo and are open to PRPS members and non-member individuals, agencies, companies, organizations, and universities. 

Nominations are being accepted for the following awards this year:

  • Outstanding Achievement Award in Honor of Fred Coombs (highest award)
    • PRPS Distinguished Member Award in Honor of Robert D. Griffith
    • Outstanding New Professional Award
    • Agency of the Year Award
    • Community Champion Award
    • Awards for Excellence in Recreation and Parks (outstanding programs)

The awards program is a competitive process judged by a committee that includes member representatives from each region. Committee members vote anonymously and do not vote on their own agency’s submissions. The Agency of the Year Award is judged by a separate independent panel of experts in the field of parks and recreation. 

Due to the pandemic, we offered a scaled-back awards program in 2021 and  recognized the recipients during our virtual conference. We showcased all the incredible work our members did and how they used every bit of their creativity to develop new programs and adapt existing ones. Over two dozen different agencies submitted information and pictures about their successful pandemic programs. This goes to show park and recreation professionals truly are Park & Rec Heroes!

The 2021 individual award winners were: Outstanding New Professional – Daniel Lawson,  Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Distinguished Member Award in honor of Robert D. Griffith –  Heather Cuyler, Pashek + MTR; and the PRPS Outstanding Achievement Award in honor of Fred Coombs –  Dr. Jeff Witman, York College of Pennsylvania.

Now is the time to think about submitting an award nomination for yourself or a deserving colleague. The deadline is January 21, 2022. You can find  information, award descriptions and criteria, and nomination forms on the website  

Winning program awards from PRPS is much more than receiving plaques.  It is recognition of the creativity, hard work and collaboration which we put into every program – every day –  to positively affect the lives of residents in our community.  Beyond that, staff morale, increased brand recognition and credibility, industry/peer recognition, and expanded financial support are just a few of the long and short-term benefits that result from being recognized for doing great work!

Daphne Klahr, Reading Recreation Commission

Get Involved with PRPS

PRPS is seeking volunteers to serve on our 2021 Board of Directors and other committees. We rely on you, our members, and the dedication you provide to our profession, to make things happen. It’s always nice to see new members join in and serve alongside our long-time, dedicated volunteers.

Volunteering for PRPS is a rewarding and challenging experience for anyone with an interest in the field of park and recreation. It provides a great opportunity to expand your leadership experience, work together with like-minded individuals, and have fun.

We are currently seeking the following elected positions on the PRPS Board of Directors:

President-Elect 2021-2023, then serve as President 2023-2025
Treasurer, 2021-2023
Secretary, 2021-2023
Educators Director, 2021-2023 

Click here for more information on the Board of Directors Job Responsibilities. If you have any questions about these positions, our board members are available to discuss. 

We also have several active committees that might interest you:

Membership Engagement Committee: Contribute to member recruitment and retention
Leadership & Training Corps: Contribute to researching and planning relevant training programs
Partnerships & Sponsorships: Assist in identifying new partnering opportunities
Communications Committee: Assist in determining tactics and contribute to outreaches
Governmental Affairs Committee: Contribute to legislative advocacy plans and activities
Inclusion Committee: Assist in determining ways and means
PA Urban Park and Recreation Alliance: Contribute to urban advocacy and developing capacity
Health and Wellness Committee: Develop statewide initiatives and technical resources to combat addiction and create cultures of health
PRPS Dig It! Blog: Thought leaders to share a few blog posts per year

Serving as a volunteer is not only about making a better community, it’s a way to increase one skill and experience, meet new people, and improve your mental health.  

Your time, dedication, and skills will help strengthen PRPS and you have a chance to explore and try new things. If volunteering is something you have always wanted to try, then there is no better time than now to get involved! 

Did you know that you can earn CEU credit towards your CPRP or CPRE certification renewal by volunteering with PRPS? The National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) awards Professional Service Experience Points (CEU equivalent credits) for serving PRPS in an elected position, volunteering on a committee, writing articles for our publications, or speaking at our conference.  

Below are two testimonials from our exceptional volunteers:

“I knew shortly after joining PRPS that as a young professional, it was essential to network and build relationships with fellow leaders in this industry. While attending my first conference, a couple of seasoned professionals advised me to “get involved with the nuts and bolts of the organization.” I attended my first District 2 meeting at that conference and before I left that meeting I was somehow listed as a “representative” of the D2 Board. Many years later and many board and committee positions later, I can honestly say that serving PRPS has enriched my life, enhanced my leadership skills, and advanced my career. I’ve met countless leaders, experts, and professionals that have taught, advised, mentored, challenged, and guided me every step of the way. I have learned more through volunteering with PRPS than I have in the classroom, and that’s what makes this organization truly special!”

Tammy Agesen, CPRP, AFO
Program Manager, Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation

“I like volunteering with PRPS. Strategically, I think it’s important we all chip in to make parks and rec bigger and better across the state. I think there are a ton of really cool and creative people that volunteer and I like interacting and being a part of that experience.”

Jason Lang, MS, CPRE
Director of Parks and Recreation, East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation and Secretary on the PRPS Board of Directors

Are you ready to become a volunteer? We would love for you to join us as a volunteer to continue making PRPS grow!

Check out our Volunteer Responsibilities and Volunteer Opportunities page for more information and to help you get started.

PRPS Scholarships: A Way to Boost Your Career

The Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society (PRPS) offers a variety of scholarships for students and professionals in the Park and Recreation field. Applying for one of these scholarships can provide you with the opportunity to attend our annual Conference & Expo on March 17-20, 2020 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort for FREE!

At the Conference & Expo, you will have the opportunity to engage and network with professionals, gain new ideas and learn best practices from experts in the field, stay on top of industry trends, and learn about innovative products and services to take your career to the next step.

Recent student scholarship recipient, Abbie Miller, shares her experience as a Conference & Expo attendee: “The Annual PRPS conference and expo is a great way to network and learn new experiences about the field. Being a student means that I am always learning and attending this conference truly has helped provide me with new information on different avenues that I can take my career options with in the future. This was my second year going to this conference and I hope I can make it for a third next year!”

PRPS offers four student scholarships, which cover the cost of registration, meals, and lodging to attend the Conference & Expo.   The Crawford Scholarship also includes a $500 scholarship award.

Andy Memorial Scholarship – Temple University undergraduate in the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Crawford Memorial Scholarship – Full-time student in the Recreation & Parks major

Jones Memorial Scholarship – Full-time student in the Recreation & Parks major

Williamson Memorial Scholarship – Full-time Penn State University undergraduate in the Recreation, Park & Tourism Management major attending the University Park campus

PRPS offers three scholarships for professionals in the field, who are interested in furthering their careers through conference attendance and other professional development opportunities.

The PRPS Professional Scholarships are:

Milliren Professional Scholarship – Recreation & park professional who has worked three years or less in the field.  Scholarship provides $500 toward the cost of attending the PRPS Annual Conference & Expo

Snyder Community Service Award – Recreation & park agency that provides recreation services to persons with disabilities on an ongoing basis.  Scholarship provides registration, meals and lodging for one agency representative to attend the PRPS Annual Conference & Expo

PRPS Career Advancement Scholarship – PRPS member wishing to attend Professional Trainings & Conference or obtain Professional Certification.  Maximum award of $500 toward continuing education registration fees.

In addition to our Conference and Expo scholarships, we also offer two scholarships, which provide registration and lodging to attend the Therapeutic Recreation Institute.

The Therapeutic Recreation Scholarships are:

Moyer Memorial Scholarship – Current PRPS Therapeutic Recreation Branch member holding CPRP, CPRE, or CTRS certification

TRI Scholarship – Current PRPS member

The online form is now available for the Student Scholarships. Apply today! For more details on the scholarships visit

Ways to stay informed with PRPS

PRPS strives to keep our members up to date with the latest parks and recreation news and trends through a variety of communication outlets.  Here are several ways we keep you informed:

  1. The SCOOP – This weekly email newsletter includes the latest news, new members, upcoming education & training announcements, member requests for peer collaboration, Dig It! blog posts, legislative alerts, member news and more. If you want to include something, the deadline is each Monday. You can view past SCOOPs on under Resources/Publications, and then select Archives. It is a members-only page, so you will need to login to gain access.
  2. Pennsylvania Recreation & Parks – Our semiannual magazine provides articles on playgrounds, aquatics, trails, leadership, unique program ideas, professional development, and current trends. Issues are sent each spring and fall. Our magazine archive can be found at under Resources/Publications.
  3. Membership Directory and Buyers Guide – This is our largest publication, and features individual and agency members contact information, the buyer’s guide vendor listing, and other professional references. It is printed each spring, and provides advertisers unique and on-going exposure.
  4. Districts and Branch News – The Resource Branch Newsletter is developed by the Park Resource Branch and includes articles from the Resource Operations Workshop and more.  The Aquatics News offers new resources and alerts of certification changes/requirements. Each District sends out news regarding their regional educational workshops and socials.
  5. Website – is updated frequently to reflect current news, resources, professional development opportunities, partnerships, and job center. Be sure to login when you visit, so you can access all of our members-only content, resources, and online directory.
  6. Social Media – Engage with PRPS on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook is used the most to add events; share related articles, member news and other news. If you are interested in taking over one of our social media accounts for a week, let us know.
  7. Mobile App – Download our popular Conference & Expo app to view the conference schedule or search for exhibitors, speakers, socials, maps, sponsors, and attendees.
  8. Direct Mail – Workshop brochures, publications, postcards, Conference & Expo Guides.
  9. Annual Report – This report highlights the many accomplishments of PRPS, its volunteers and supporters.
  10. Dig It! Blog – Our blog covers a variety of topics including Advocacy, Funding, Leadership, Maintenance, Operations, Personnel, Wellness, Programming, Volunteer, Communication, Internship and Trails. If you would like to be a guest blogger, let me know at
  11. Digital Email – Professional development opportunities, legislative alerts, and other important notices are sent through our email distribution list.
  12. Media Kit – Produced at the beginning of the year, this guide includes all advertising and sponsorship opportunities available to vendors and supporters.

As you can see PRPS offers a variety of ways to keep in touch. You can manage your communication preferences when you login to your account at  If you are interested in something listed that you are not receiving, or need help finding something on the website let us know.

Have an idea to share?  Please consider volunteering as a guest blogger, social media contributor, or to author a magazine article.  You can receive Professional Service Experience Points (CEU equivalent) toward your professional certification renewal by submitting articles for publication in Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks.

What information and resources would you like to see?  We are always looking for new topics for articles, blog entries, and resources to share with our members. If you have ideas to share and would like to be on the Communications & Marketing Committee, email me at

Engage with Social Media

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Many of us connect to some type of social media on a daily basis, either personally or professionally. The top four social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Today, Facebook remains the priority platform for most Americans. I am sure you have a favorite social media outlet that you prefer over the others.

Social media is used in the workplace for many reasons: to build your organization, connect with people, inform your audience, promote events/programs, gather feedback/reactions and much more. It is fast and inexpensive marketing! You can communicate directly, or share other’s posts. I assume your Department has a Social Media Policy in place if you don’t here is an example of the PRPS Employee Social Media Policy.

When posting to your social media, do you ever think about how to get more responses to your post? Or if anyone is seeing them? I know I get excited when I see a share, like, or comment. Track your social media analytics, and this will help show what is working and not working and help you increase engagement and grow your audience. Most social media networks have built-in analytics for you to track. The basic ones to keep track of are Reach, Engagement, and Impressions. The network summaries allow you to track by day, week, or month.

Which social media platform is best for you?

Facebook– Keeps followers up to date on news, events, programs, which they can easily share with others. Facebook is a great platform for posting pictures, videos and now live videos. (Posts with images are shared more often.) In addition, Facebook is a good place to ask questions and keep your followers engaged.

Twitter – Good for distributing alerts, news, and links to blogs/websites. If you want to start a quick conversation, this is the place.

LinkedIn – The best place to connect with other professionals in your field, build a network, share articles, and collaborate.

Instagram – The place to share photos, videos and stories that display in a live newsfeed.

PRPS uses several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+. We use these platforms to promote workshops and conferences, and share member news, articles, blogs, and current trends. Be sure to follow or like us on all these platforms.  We post 3-4 times a week on Facebook and Twitter, and share articles and news on LinkedIn and photos on Instagram.

If you have anything to share on our Facebook page, please feel free to post, or send via email to Emily Schnellbaugh, Communications Manager,

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