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Waynesville rec department earns national distinction

After seven years spent laying the groundwork, the Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded an honor that Director Rhett Langston likens to the “Heisman Trophy” of the parks and recreation world. 

The department has received accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and the National Recreation and Park Association, the only national accreditation available for park and recreation agencies. 

Fewer than 1 percent of all parks and recreation departments in the nation receive this distinction, Langston said. Waynesville has the smallest population of any North Carolina area to receive it and the third-smallest in the country.

“This is a great honor to represent and provide the best possible service to the citizens of Waynesville,” he said.

Accreditation is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. It indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs safety and services. 

To receive accreditation, the Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department had to demonstrate compliance with 151 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures. The process involved a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that resulted in a written report and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s visitations were held virtually. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years.

Often the process helps identify efficiencies and heighten areas of accountability, all of which translate into higher quality service and operations to benefit the community.

For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit www.nrpa.org/capra

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