Oak Lawn Park District Receives National Accreditation
The National Park and Recreation Association’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies awarded the Oak Lawn Park District the status of Accredited Agency on Friday, March 14, 2008. The Oak Lawn Park District was conferred this Agency Accreditation for having fully demonstrated commitment to the park and recreation field and by complying with a high standard of services, professional operations, and management practices. Currently, only seventy-three agencies nationwide have earned this prestigious designation, none from Illinois.
The National Committee on Accreditation for Public Park and Recreation Agencies developed the pilot program in 1989. This pilot program set the standards and procedures for the current Commission. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies administers a rigorous program based on self-assessment and peer-review using national standards of best practice to better promote the quality of agency services and delivery systems. Agency accreditation is available to all entities administering park and recreation systems including: municipalities, townships, counties, special districts, regional authorities, councils of government, and schools. Agency accreditation is voluntary, but an essential piece to producing quality environments for communities to play, live, and grow.
Agency benefits for receiving this accreditation include:
- Public and political recognition
- Increased efficiency and evidence of accountability
- Identification of areas for improvement by comparing an agency against national standards of best practice
- Enhancement of staff teamwork and pride by engaging all staff in the process
- Creation of an environment for regular reviews of operations, policies, and procedures
- Promotion of continual improvement
- Forced written documentation of policies and procedures
Benefits for the public include:
- Assurance and validation of well-administered services in accord with approved professional practices
- Potential for external financial support and savings to the public
- External recognition of a quality governmental service
- Holds an agency accountable to the public
- Ensures responsiveness to meet their needs
- Improved customer and quality services
This accreditation has set the groundwork for the Oak Lawn Park District to elevate our level of standards of service, professional operations, and management practices in order to serve the ever-changing needs of the community.
Illinois Distinguished Agency Award Official Accreditation
On October 17, 2003 the Oak Lawn Park District was evaluated by a committee of commissioners, directors from other park districts, and six additional observers from the field of parks and recreation. After a grueling process that the park district had been preparing for over the span of two years, the committee announced that the Oak Lawn Park District had earned the distinction of being a Distinguished Agency. Out of over 357 agencies in the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, less than 10 percent have achieved Distinguished Agency status. Only 30 of the park districts, Special Recreation Associations, and forest preserve districts located in Illinois are Distinguished Agencies. The Oak Lawn Park District is the 31st. The Oak Lawn Park District is up for evaluation every six years in order to retain the status of Distinguished Agency.
Eagle Eye Watch Program
The Oak Lawn Park District needs your help! With the recent increase in park vandalism we need you, our residents, to help keep an Eagle Eye on your neighborhood parks and become part of the Eagle Eye Neighborhood Park Watch Program. The Eagle Eye Neighborhood Park Watch Program is an effort to prevent crime and vandalism to playground and park equipment, to alleviate suspicious activities in parks, and to promote public awareness for parks, recreation and conservation agencies. This program encourages community residents to assume more responsibility for the activities taking place in their own neighborhood. Residents keep watch over neighborhood parks to help make them a safe haven for youth. If you see suspicious activity taking place at your park, please call the Oak Lawn Police Department. If vandalism has occurred at you park, please call the Oak Lawn Park District Maintenance Department at 708-857-2201.