October 4, 2016 marked a significant milestone for
Independence Township Parks, Recreation & Seniors (ITPRS) as they received
CAPRA Accreditation at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress
in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Commission for Accreditation of Parks and
Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) was created to recognize park and recreation
agencies for excellence in operation and service. CAPRA acts as an independent auditor tasked
with assessing how well an agency documents, follows, and continually improves
their processes and procedures, and in doing so, also provides assurance to the
public that the agency meets national standards of best practice.
There are 12,000+ publicly funded parks and recreation
agencies in the United States. As of the
October 2016 NRPA Congress, ITPRS became one of 4 parks and recreation agencies
in the State of Michigan, and one of 155 parks
and recreation agencies in the United States to be accredited by CAPRA. CAPRA accreditation is the only national
accreditation for parks and recreation agencies.
Working towards this accreditation was a multi-year
effort for the ITPRS team, who began meeting to review, document and improve
their agency’s practices in June 2013. The
assessment documentation submitted to CAPRA had to provide details regarding
how ITPRS meets certain quality standards and practices among ten major
categories including Planning, Human Resources, Financial Management, Program
and Services Management, Public Safety and Security, and Risk Management. And
now that ITPRS has received the CAPRA accreditation, a renewal cycle has begun
where reports must be submitted to CAPRA annually and a new assessment and
on-site visit must be done every 5 years.
The accreditation process requires much time and
effort from the ITPRS Staff, but it really helps to demonstrate to both our
Township Board and the community that we serve that ITPRS is committed to being
a responsible manager of public resources and funds. It also shows that we work hard to provide
programming that responds to the needs of the community, to maintain safe and
clean facilities, and to employ competent, qualified staff.
"Agency Accreditation is our commitment to our
citizens to strive for continuous improvement," said Derek Smith, Independence
Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors Director. "The Agency Accreditation
process and results will help to ensure a high level of accountability
throughout the department and facilitate efficient and effective delivery of
parks and recreation services to our citizens."