May 11, 2023

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Announced as Finalist for the 2023 National Gold Medal Awards in Parks and Recreation Management for Third Consecutive Year

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) has been selected as a finalist for the 2023 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). This is the third straight year that VBPR has been named a finalist, competing amongst the best park agencies from around the country. The final phase of judging – a five-minute video – will take place this summer and winners will be announced during the 2023 NRPA Conference, Oct. 10-12 in Dallas, Texas.

VBPR is a finalist in the Class I category for cities with populations of over 400,000. 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. VBPR joins three other finalists in this class:

Class I Finalists

  • Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation, Lawrenceville, GA
  • Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, Tampa, FL
  • The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Greenbelt, MD

"Only four agencies make it through to the final round of the Gold Medal contest in each category, so getting there three years in a row is a major achievement – and that's thanks to the work of every single one of our parks & recreation team members." said VBPR Director Michael Kirschman. "The competition is tough, but as one of the best parks & recreation agencies in the country, we think we've got a great chance at winning the gold this year."

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.

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

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation strives to promote healthy lifestyles and protect the City's coastal environment, as well as to ensure all residents – regardless of their physical, social and economic circumstances – can access Parks & Recreation programs. The department's vision is to be the national leader in providing enriching and memorable lifelong experiences. Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a nonprofit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit

The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not‐for‐profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public spaces. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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