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Provo Parks and Recreation named best in the nation

By Genelle Pugmire - | Oct 1, 2021
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Caysen Nichols, 10, of Provo, uses his foot to press the final buzzer after completing a NinjaCross aquatic obstacle course at the Provo Recreation Center on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo)
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Carley Morgan, of Orem, completes a rep as she works out at the Provo Recreation Center on Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo)
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Kids play and have fun on the recreational splash pad built by the city at Pioneer Park on Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Provo.  (Dominic Valente, Daily Herald file photo)
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Kids play on July 14, 2016, at the recreational splash pad built by the city at Pioneer Park in Provo.
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Skating students warmup during a college skating class at Peaks Ice Arena on Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2017, in Provo. Both BYU and UVU have skating classes in their course offerings.
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Daniel Softley, left, Provo City’s human resources director, fist bumps David Torgersen, Provo City’s principal resources engineer, to celebrate a goal during a game between the Mighty Gooses and team Shinners as part of the adult hockey league held at Peaks Ice Arena in Provo on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. (Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo)
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The Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, shown in 2009. (Mario Ruiz, Daily Herald file photo)
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The Utah Metropolitan Ballet presented "Nutcracker" at the Covey Center for the Arts in 2014. (Courtesy Jedediah Photography)
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Scott Henderson has been promoted by the Provo Municipal Council and is now the director of parks and recreation for the city. (Courtesy Provo City)

Thousands of men, women and children — not all from Provo — have taken advantage of the parks, trails and high-tech recreation center the city has to offer. Now the nation is giving back to Provo in the form of a gold medal.

Provo City Parks and Recreation was recently named the best in the country and was honored with the prestigious Grand Plaque in the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

“With being nationally accredited and now earning the National Gold Medal Award, Provo City Parks and Recreation has achieved the highest honors our industry has to offer” said Dirk Richwine, the Gold Medal Committee Chair.

“The Gold Medal award has always been recognized by Parks and Recreation as the pinnacle achievement in our industry,” said Scott Henderson, the Provo City Parks and Recreation Director. “Having our strong, active, healthy community recognized as the industry standard is a true honor we share with Provo City leadership and our citizens.”

It is the residents that make the Parks and Recreation department look good as it develops new and better programs and locations. So, in order to share the praise, Provo is inviting residents to celebrate.

All Provo citizens are invited to “Share the Gold” with a community celebration this Wednesday, at 10 a.m. at the Provo Strong sign at the Provo Recreation Center, 320 West 500 North. The first 100 kids in attendance will receive a gold medal of their own.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors local park and recreation agencies, military recreation programs, and state park systems in the United States who demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

Applications are separated into six classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces and another for state park systems.

To receive the Grand Plaque, the agency first had to be designated as a finalist in their class. There are four finalists in each class. Provo City Parks and Recreation received the Grand Plaque in the Class III category for cities with populations between 75,001 and 150,000.

“The judges were impressed with our well-balanced and diverse physical resources, including recreation center, performing arts facility, parks, golf course, ice rink and programs,” said Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “Not surprisingly though, it was Provo’s community engagement and support that was and will always be a key factor in our success.”

Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year’s Grand Plaque recipients were announced at the 2021 National Recreation and Park Association Conference, held in person and virtually in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sept. 21.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, people can visit http://nrpa.org/goldmedal.

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