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Deerfield Park District Announced as Finalist for the 2021 National Gold Medal Awards in Parks and Recreation Management

Deerfield Park District to compete for prestigious honor in the park and recreation industry

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce Deerfield Park District as a finalist for the 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue its 20+ years of sponsoring the National Gold Medal Awards program.

Founded in 1965, the National Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States that 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 and one class for armed forces.

AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is congratulated for this prestigious award. We know local communities, state park systems, and military installations worldwide met the challenge of being responsive to the changing demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic. Park visitors and program participants have come to rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this pandemic.  The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.”

Deerfield Park District is a finalist in the Class V for those with a population of 30,000 or less category. Our application described the unique and fulfilling projects, partnerships and pride that make Deerfield an exemplary community. All of the families and friends of the district, while enjoying the Deerfield Golf Club, Deerspring or Mitchell Pool, Sachs Recreation Center, Patty Turner Center, Jewett Park Community Center and our numerous parks, fields and playgrounds, are who make Deerfield a wonderful place to live and recreate.

As a finalist, we look forward to showcasing the Deerfield Park District community in a 5 minute video to highlight our district’s programs and services to give the judges an overview of our agency and a visual depiction of what was articulated in our application.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. Deerfield Park District joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for Grand Plaque which will be awarded in September.

“It is truly an honor be recognized as a national leader in the provision of parks and recreation services to our community.  We share the honor with all of our community partners and especially with our residents that support our efforts in making Deerfield a great place to live, work and play.” Jeff Nehila, Executive Director, Deerfield Park District

A panel of five highly qualified park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year’s finalists will compete for the Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2021 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually and in person September 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming.

For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit