Lynn Pegg, Geoff Noblitt, Karla Furnari, and Chris Bubenik (pictured, left to right) of Buncombe County Recreation Services recently completed requirements to become a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). They earned this credential by demonstrating mastery in the areas of communication, finance, human resources, operations, and programming. They join an elite group of 6,400 colleagues who have committed to advancing the field of public recreation and building accountability within the profession.
“Having a background in Recreation Leadership put me on the path to becoming a CPRP,” says Pegg, Recreation Services Program Manager. “After several years of debating about taking the exam, I finally put in the extra hours of continuing education and took the exam. I’m so pleased to be one of the national Certified Park and Recreation Professionals in North Carolina.”
CPRP requirements include serving a standard number of years in the field and a comprehensive exam that covers all areas of parks and recreation. Continuing Education Credits are required to maintain the certification and must be earned through a combination of educational opportunities, speaking at conferences, writing for publications, and doing research.
"I’m really excited and proud to add my name to the ranks of other certified parks and Rec professionals," says Noblitt, Planner. "The knowledge gained by achieving CPRP will benefit our department greatly."
"Becoming a certified Parks and Recreation Professional is important to me because it shows my dedication to my field and my eagerness to improve my skills every day," adds Furnari, Planner.
All three agree the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that providing safe, equitable access to recreational opportunities is essential for our community’s resiliency and health. Many of the lowest income neighborhoods in Buncombe County lack safe access to parks and green spaces, leaving them more exposed to pollution, flooding, and health disparities. As CPRPs, these three are part of a group of professionals recognizing the need for substantive dialogue, updated community tools, new funding streams, and real solutions in response to this systemic inequality and other challenges.
"As everything shut down, parks, outdoor spaces, greenways, and trails were some of the only avenues for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing," according to Bubenik, Planner. "These are not 'nice-to-have' luxury services. They are core public services with proven environmental, health, economic, and social impacts – sparking investment in neighborhoods and providing open spaces to exercise for no or little cost, places for hurried individuals to reconnect with nature, and community gathering spaces to meet friends and preserve local culture."
"Experiences I had in these spaces as a child and young adult have made a tremendous difference in shaping who I am," he continues. "Everyone should have those same opportunities"
The professional designation is awarded by the National Recreation and Park Association, the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, healthy, and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. The Institute for Credentialing Excellence is involved in setting national standards for certification.
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