Fort Riley earns highest parks and recreation honor

a close up of a sign: WIBW

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FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) – Fort Riley has earned the highest parks and recreation honor.

Fort Riley says the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, along with the National Recreation and Park Asociation, announced it as the recipient of the 2020 National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award, Armed Force Division, for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

Fort Riley said the announcement was made during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 27.

“This is a huge accomplishment,” said Tod Scalf, Director of Fort Riley Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “It is due to the amazing teamwork of the MWR staff and our partners on and off the installation.”

According to the military base the Gold Medal Awards program has recognized municipal parks and recreation organizations since 1965 but has only had the Armed Forces category since 2012. It said before 2020, Fort Knox, Ky., was the only Arm installation to win the award in 2013. It said Fort Riley was previously a Gold Medal Finalist in 2016.

Fort Riley said entrants are required to demonstrate why their Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs are considered outstanding and how they make a positive impact on their installation. It said they must also show efforts toward social equity, health and wellness and conservation. It aid judging is based on long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and community engagement.

Fort Riley said its Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Community Recreation Division is one of only four Army recreation divisions to get a national accreditation, serving as tiebreaking criteria for the Gold Medal award.

Col. Will McKannay, Fort Riley Garrison Commander, added, “This week, Cmd. Sgt. Major Tim Speichert and I had the honor of joining our MWR Team at a Virtual Watch Party and Ceremony as they were announced winner of the National Recreation and Park Association 2020 Gold Medal for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. This is just another, on a long list of reasons, why Fort Riley is the best place to live, train, deploy from, come home to and retire.”

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