National Recreation And Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) was created on August 14, 1965, a single entity that merged from five organizations. The NRPA’s purpose is to provide support for public sector park and recreation service providers and the citizens they serve, based on three pillars: social equity, health and wellness, and conservation.

NRPA is a non-profit and receives funds from membership dues, charitable contributions, and grants to provide education, policy initiatives and research opportunities. As part of the parks and recreation profession, the NRPA maintains the global gold standard by conducting four certification programs for over more than 40,000 members: Aquatic Facility Operator, Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI), Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), and Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE). In addition, NRPA has an online Pyxis Learning Center, which offers courses, chats, and webinars.

The NRPA is separated into ten branches: the American Park and Recreation Society, composed of members who work in private and public agencies, and commercial organizations; Society of Park and Recreation Educators, for educators in parks and tourism; Armed Forces Recreation Society, for professionals who work in military settings in the U.S. and internationally; Commercial Recreation and Tourism Section, provides support for individuals and professionals in the commercial organization and tourism sector; National Aquatic Branch, for professionals who work at pools and aquatic facilities; Citizen Branch, for citizen advocates, friends and special interest groups; National Therapeutic Recreation Society, for students, park professionals and organizations interested in initiatives related to disabilities, fitness, and therapeutic recreation; National Society for Park Resources, for professionals working in natural resources and conservations areas; Student Branch, for students interesting in becoming, parks, recreation and tourism professionals; and Leisure and Aging Section, for individuals and professions interested in leisure services for senior citizens and their adult family members.

NRPA advocates for several legislative initiatives, such as: No Child Left Inside, legislation to amend the No Child Left Behind Act, and expand environmental education in classrooms, providing funds to increase relationships among school districts, community based organizations, school districts, and parks; and Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, legislation to provide state funding to develop initiatives in school systems in the areas of environmental education, and programs for children that get them active in the outdoors. Also, NRPA supports the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and was instrumental in introducing legislation to provide funding for urban parks.