From Parks and Recreation:
Buncombe County Recreation Services Director Josh O’Conner recently joined a national cadre of senior-level park and recreation staff by achieving his Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) credential. This mastery-level credential represents the standard for practical knowledge and real-world skills necessary in today’s changing park and recreation environment. The designation is shared by just 255 other professionals across the United States and gives Buncombe County prominence in the industry. The CPRE designation is the highest professional standard offered by the National Recreation and Parks Association and is a tier above the Certified Parks and Recreation Professional credential Josh earned in 2018.
Josh says of his certification, “Over the last several years, our department has worked to leverage education as a force multiplier for a comparatively small staff. Earning the CPRE certification better enables me to coalesce the tremendous amount of knowledge contained within the department into efforts that maximize our ability to serve the community and achieve our mission statement.”
To become a CPRE, candidates must hold a Certified Park and Recreation Professional certification, hold four years of full-time manager experience, and pass an exam administered by the National Recreation and Park Association and the National Certification Board. The exam covers communication, finance, human resources, operations, and planning and policy. It also focuses heavily on long-term planning efforts as well as the financial transparency standards utilized to enhance accountability within the community.
Josh is also a Certified Outdoor Supervisor, Certified Nonprofit Professional, Certified Youth Sports Administrator, Special Olympics Certified Coach, Certified Zoning Official, and Certified Floodplain Manager. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and holds three master’s degrees. He is a Certified Playground Safety Inspector, a distinction held by seven other members of the Recreation Services staff, and a Certified Outdoor Supervisor, a training standard held by five members of the department.
Buncombe County Recreation Services works to insure quality leisure experiences, preserve the area’s natural beauty, and enhance environmental resources through the management of public parks, development of greenways, and promotion of wellness lifestyles. Facilities include three regional parks, seven riverfront parks, five outdoor pools, a regional greenways and trails system, two disc golf courses, a nature preserve, a mountain bike park, and numerous athletic and multi-use fields.
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