Kane County Forest Preserve District Is First Ever To Win The Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency Award
In January, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will be the first forest preserve or conservation agency in Illinois to be recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association.
A joint IAPD/IPRA committee voted on Nov. 22 to approve the Forest Preserve District of Kane County’s application for accredited status.
For the residents and taxpayers of Kane County, that simply means that they have one of the best forest preserve districts in Illinois.
“Our team worked a long time for this,” said Forest Preserve District Executive Director Monica Meyers. “District staff have always strived to be the very best at what they do, and this project was no exception. It involved every department here, and included various meetings, reviews of policies and procedures, site visits and communications. It led to some changes in the ways we manage tasks. We revised some policies and crafted others. It was all about being more effective, efficient and meeting or exceeding best practices for our agency.
“We really used the exercise as an evaluation tool,” she added. “I’m proud of the application we submitted, the work that was done, and I’m extremely proud that we are the first forest preserve district in the state of Illinois to receive this accredited status.
“It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.”
Forest Preserve District President Christopher W. Kious said the Forest Preserve District staff does an incredible job 365 days a year, and he’s looking forward to the acknowledgement of their accomplishments when they accept the award in January.
“Statewide accreditation definitely gives us bragging rights,” he said. “It’s a well-deserved honor. The fact that we are the first forest preserve in Illinois to receive it makes it all the more special. The residents of Kane County should feel confident about the hard work that goes on at the district — often behind the scenes — to make sure the Kane County forest preserves are the very best they can be.”
The goal of the Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program is to improve the delivery of park and recreation services to Illinois residents.
“Illinois has a reputation for the best park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation and special recreation agencies in the nation,” said Peter Murphy, IAPD president and CEO. “The Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program provides an opportunity for these agencies to undergo a voluntary, comprehensive evaluation process to demonstrate that they have met state guidelines to provide exceptional park and recreation services to their community. The end result is to improve the quality of life for Illinois residents.”
Barry Franks, IPRA interim executive director. said the accreditation program gives recognition to park and recreation agencies that “go above and beyond in dedicating themselves to offering quality programs and services designed to fulfill their community needs.”
Park and recreation agencies that apply for Distinguished Accredited Agency recognition undergo a detailed, lengthy process of application and evaluation. For more than a year, the Forest Preserve District has compiled documentation to qualify for accreditation status.
During an on-site evaluation in October, that material was reviewed, the review committee toured multiple district facilities, met with staff, and scored the district in categories including general management procedures, finance and business operations, facilities and parks, personnel, recreation services, legal documentation and other materials including mission statement, goals and safety manuals. At the end of the day-long, on-site review, district staff were informed that they would be recommended for accredited status.
In compliance with the program, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County will be re-evaluated in six years, to verify that the district has continued to demonstrate sound management practices in providing quality park and recreation services to the community.
SOURCE: Forest Preserve District of Kane County news release
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