• It's Renewal Time!

    Just a friendly reminder that your IPRA membership expires on December 31, 2019.  Renew today so you don’t experience any lapse in your member benefits. Renewing your IPRA membership is easy – simply visit, click on “sign in” to login to your account (your username is your email address), and click on the “renew now” button. Once you are logged in, please take a moment to review your profile information and update your job title, phone number and mailing address if necessary. Remember - Professional members can save $15 if renewed by December 13, 2019! Discount will automatically apply.

  • Conference Registration is Open!

    2020 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference registration is now open!

    As the premier state conference for parks and recreation, forest preserves and conservation agencies in Illinois, the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights conference brings together more than 4,200 professionals and elected officials for three exciting days of quality educational programming, networking and professional development.  Featuring over 160 educational sessions and workshops, and an exhibit hall where more than 300 exhibitors showcase their latest and greatest products and services, the 2020 conference is THE place to be!
  • Technology story ideas needed!

    We are looking for story ideas related to agencies utilizing technology to improve the work they do for an upcoming magazine issue. If you have a suggestion, please contact

    Wayne Utterback
    Director of Communications & Digital Content
    Illinois Association of Park Districts

  • 2019 Education Roadshow - Waukegan

    The Education Roadshow is a one-day event held multiple times throughout the year, and it is designed to provide consistent educational opportunities to members throughout Illinois. This year's journey finishes with a trip to the Waukegan Park District's Fieldhouse Sports, Fitness, & Aquatic Center, where Jarrod Scheunemann (Campfire Concepts), Dr. Andrew Kerins (Eastern Illinois University), and Greg Petry (Petry Consulting) will present on topics such as Customer Service, Cultural Competency, and the DiSC® Assessment. Come join your colleagues for a fun day of networking and quality education with IPRA. Light breakfast and lunch included.
  • CPRP Exam Prep Series C - Nov/Dec, 2019

    CPRP is a national certification program through the National Recreation and Park Association, and it is designed for park and recreation professionals that wish to put their career on the path to success. Achieving and maintaining this nationally-recognized certification illustrates a commitment to professional growth as well as an intricate understanding of key concepts within the field of parks and recreation. This program consists of four classes that will train and prepare participants to become a CPRP. Each of the four classes covers a different area of the exam, so attendance to all classes is highly recommended but not mandatory.
  • Facility Management Workshop - 10/11/19

    This workshop is a training program unique to current and future facility managers. Whether you oversee a community center, fitness center, athletic center, rental center, or specialty center, this program is designed for you.  Attendees will receive quality presentations from experts that work at leading Illinois agencies and walk away with resources that will help them build their facility portfolio and enhance operational efficiencies.
  • 2020 Park and Recreation Compensation Survey

    This survey is specifically created for the park district and special recreation industry, and will report compensation data for a total of 64 positions covering the areas of Administrative Services, Education, Facilities, Human Resources, Finance, IT, Marketing/Membership, Parks, Recreation, Food & Beverage/Concessions and Rentals.

    This survey is open to members and non-members and requires a unique web link to participate. If you have not received a link and would like to participate, or if you need it resent, please email or call 800-448-4584. All participants receive a free copy of the results, regardless of membership status.

    Click on the link to download the 2020 Park and Recreation Compensation Survey Questionnaire

  • Recognize the brightest stars in Illinois!

    Designed to recognize the best-of-the-best in Illinois parks, recreation, and conservation, the Awards & Recognition Program gives professionals an opportunity to recognize colleagues and community members for their extraordinary work and contribution to the industry. The program consists of four individual conference awards, three agency conference awards, one distinguished-member award (per section), and community service awards, so opportunity for recognition is plentiful!  Conference awards are presented at the annual Soaring to New Heights Conference, section awards are presented at section board meetings, and community awards are mailed to agencies. For information on award criteria and how to submit nominations, click here!
  • Software Symposium

    The IPRA A&F section will be hosting a Software Symposium on October 18, 2019 from 8:45am - 4:00pm at the Carol Stream Park District's Fountain View Recreation Center. Participants will be able to visit with a variety of software vendors exhibiting various park district software needs, including H/R, Time & Attendance/Work Force Management, Finance, and Recreation software.  Lunch will be included.
  • IPRF / Joint Section Golf Outing 2019

    The annual IPRF/Joint Section Golf Outing is a great opportunity to enjoy a day of golf, good food, fun, and networking! The proceeds from this event support the IPRF scholarship programs which assists student and professionals in the field of  park and recreation.   Registration includes golf, cart, lunch, and dinner.   10:00 am Shot Gun Start
  • TR Leadership Summit - 10/4/19

    The TR Leadership Summit, sponsored by IPRA's Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Section, offers a full day of continuing education for professionals that work in and around special recreation. The day will consist of three 1.25-hour concurrent breakout sessions presented by highly-recognizable professionals in the field. Attendees can pick and choose the TR topic that best fits their personal and professional development needs. Lunch is included with registration. Following the education will be a networking social at a local establishment, so come enjoy a fun day of learning and networking in Des Plaines with your fellow colleagues.
  • Find Your Fire at Robert Allerton Park

    The Find Your Fire retreat is a two-day, one night spectacular held at the majestic Allerton Park and Retreat Center, one of Illinois' seven wonders, and it is designed to provide Illinois professionals with the opportunity to break away from busy work schedules and recharge personal health and wellness. Jarrod Scheunemann and Campfire Concepts will lead participants through guided hikes, group activities, and educational sessions designed to make you reflect on your own personal well-being and help you understand that, while taking care of your community, you also need to take care of you. The opening keynote will feature Dan Isaacson, fitness instructor to Hollywood stars, and he will share his secrets on how to journey towards a sound mind and body all while managing a busy career. Come join your colleagues for a fun overnight of wellness education, networking with professionals, and quality campfires and s'mores. Thursday dinner and Friday breakfast included with registration.
  • IPRA Career Toolbox: Resources for your Career Advancement

    The Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) and Western Illinois University (WIU) have partnered to develop the Career Toolbox, providing Illinois park and recreation professionals with the necessary resources to identify and plan their career advancement.

    The benefits of creating career advancement plans can be profound for professionals and agencies alike. Using data from a survey of 108 Illinois professionals and additional research, we have developed nine (9) career paths/trajectories for professionals at Illinois park and recreation agencies.

    The Career Toolbox is available to members on the IPRA website. You will have to login to access. We encourage early and mid-level professionals to begin exploring the variety of career trajectories and identifying professional development opportunities to build the necessary knowledge.
  • Illinois Invasive Species Council Request

    Members of the Illinois Forestry Development Council have been working to reinstate the Illinois Invasive Species Council. A committee was assembled and have been working on a strategy and structure to help educate and communicate about existing and potential invasive species. One of the ways that our Illinois Park, Recreation and Conservation Districts can help support this cause is by writing a letter of support from your agency to the Directors of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Please utilize this link to access the letter of support template. You can then copy and paste onto your agency letterhead, and then sign by an appropriate member of staff or Board. Please forward your letter to Lydia Scott at no later than July 20, 2019.

  • 2019 Section Board Application

    IPRA is accepting applications for 2020 board positions in each of the following special interest groups: Administration & Finance (A&F), Communications & Marketing (C&M), Diversity (DIV), Facility Management (FM), Parks & Natural Resource Management (PNRM), Recreation (REC), and Therapeutic Recreation (TR). Ideal candidates should be motivated for a leadership opportunity that contributes to the realization of the association's strategic plan. Term lengths and job descriptions, both of which are further explained on Page 2 of the application, vary for each position. Eligible candidates must be an active IPRA Professional or Professional Non-Metro Member, and member of the respective section for at least one year. CPRP, CPRE, or equivalent certification is preferred but not required to serve.

    Deadline to submit applications is Monday, August 12, 2019. Applications submitted after the deadline are not eligible for consideration by respective section Nomination and Election Committees.
  • IPRA's Community Calendar

    Share information about your upcoming events on the IPRA Community Calendar! Park and recreation agencies, special recreation agencies, forest preserves and municipal departments can post community events to this calendar – intended for public viewing.   

    The Community Calendar appears on the IPRA website ( as well as the Unplug Illinois website ( 

    • To access the Community Calendar, click here
    • You’ll be prompted to enter your IPRA login and password. Once you do this, you will be brought to an event form template.
    • Complete the event details

    If you have any questions, please contact Heather Weishaar, Outreach Director, at

  • Lifeguard Games 2019

    Sponsored by IPRA's Aquatic Committee located within the Facility Management Section, the 26th Annual Lifeguard Games is an exciting opportunity for lifeguards and junior lifeguards to compete for their park district and showcase their skills to their peers. Teams consist of 4 lifeguards where they compete in a series of events that include fitness challenges, teamwork and lifeguard skills. This is a friendly competition that encourages each guard to rise to the challenge and have fun! The judging criteria reflects a combination of rescue skills from different training programs so regardless of your certification agency, this event is suitable for everyone. Participants must possess an active lifeguard certification with at least 40 hours of work prior to the competition. All participants must bring a copy of their lifeguard license to the day of the event. Registration includes a t-shirt and meal for each member and the chance to compete and win the 26th Annual Lifeguard Games!
  • Joint Section Education: YOU In the Pilot's Seat - 8/28/19

    Former US Army Blackhawk  Pilot, Elizabeth McCormick, will share the professional development secrets for success with her stories of overcoming overwhelming obstacles as a helicopter pilot while inspiring YOU to Soar 2 Success.

    You will leave knowing how to: 
    • Unlock the key to boosting YOUR confidence, elevating your effectiveness with customers and co-workers (even your family)
    • Interactive-out of the seat exercise to prove the power of language on your personal power and your impact on those around you
    • Discover the key success principle while learning to FLY a helicopter (YES REALLY!)
    • Soar to a higher level of advancement through influencing others to lead
  • Webinar: How to Finance Clean Energy Projects with Zero Down - presented by Trane

    Illinois Park Districts are ideal candidates for clean energy leadership at the grassroots level, but the fundamental question remains how to pay for the often necessary infrastructure improvements. In this webinar, you will learn a pathway to adopting clean energy technologies without upfront costs. Learn more about the Illinois Local Government Energy Conservation Act, qualifying technologies, and how to get started without capital dollars.
  • Unplug Illinois Day - July 13, 2019

    We are excited to announce that on July 13th, 2019, we are launching Unplug Illinois Day!

    This is the next step in bringing awareness of the Unplug Illinois campaign to Illinois residents. While this will not be a stand-alone event, we encourage you to include Unplug Illinois Day on any programming you may already have scheduled for that day, or as an overall message to get your community out to enjoy all that your park & recreation agency has to offer!

    A series of posters promoting the event are available - please email if you would like a set. Template media and press releases are available online at: 

    The latest:
    • Over 90 park and recreation agencies state-wide are using the Unplug Illinois campaign
    • The Unplug Illinois PSA aired on Comcast channels during the summer of 2018. Markets included: Aurora, Barrington, Bloomingdale, Chicago, Crystal Lake, DeKalb, Elgin, Frankfort, Gurnee, Joliet, Kankakee, McHenry, Oak Brook, Schaumburg
    • The May 23rd Communications & Marketing Section Meeting will feature 2 panel discussions from Katie Drum (Batavia Park District) and Stephanie FitzSimons (Bartlett Park District) about how each has leveraged the Unplug Illinois public service campaign to communicate the value of "unplugging" to their constituents.
    • Saturday, July 13th Unplug Illinois Day!
    • Conference 2020 – we will do a full scale launch of the 2nd Annual Unplug Illinois Day, which will be on Saturday, July 11, 2020.

    Please contact Heather Weishaar, Outreach Director, if you have any questions!

  • Professional Development School - November 10-13, 2019

    IPRA's longest-standing educational and networking opportunity takes place this November at the majestic Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa in Galena, Illinois. Professional Development School, or "PDS" as it's commonly referred to, provides park and recreation professionals with the opportunity to gain practical application education in a small, student-focused and relaxed atmosphere. Whether you are a new or seasoned professional, this is the place to learn and refine soft skills that are the backbone of the industry, develop the leader within, and equip with tools to lead and inspire at your agency.  Come join the tradition and "Unleash the Force Within You"!
  • 2019-20 Leadership Academy Applications Due June 21, 2019

    Now in it's 8th year, IPRA's award-winning Leadership Academy course curriculum includes topics such as leadership methods, accountability, strategic thinking, panel discussions, hot topics and financial strategies. These topic areas focus on the skills leaders need to be successful at all stages in their career.
  • IPRF Special Assistance/Disaster Relief Fund

    Did you know that IPRF is here when you or your colleague (as a member of IPRA) in the Park and Recreation field might need them the most?

    As the weather continues to challenge all of us this Spring, please remember IPRF has a Special Assistance/Disaster Relief fund to assist an individual member in meeting the immediate needs from the impact of an emergency or disaster. If you would like more information about this service please contact our IPRF Disaster Relief Chair, Mike Kies (St. Charles Park District) at 630-513-4335 or Jarrod Scheunemann (Campfire Concepts).
  • Summer Events Sponsored by IPRF

    Sponsored by the Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation (IPRF), these events are for groups or individuals interested in catching a game and supporting the IPRF.  Organize a group trip for your agency, offer the event in your seasonal brochure for community members to purchase individually, or simply bring your family! 

    The IPRF will receive a financial contribution form each team solely based upon the number of tickets sold.  100% of the funds raised will be used for the Foundation's professional and student scholarship programs.  Please click below for event details.

    • Chicago Dogs: June 30, 2019
    • Joliet Slammers:  July 20, 2019  
    • Kane County Cougars: August 4, 2019
    • Chicago Red Stars: September 28, 2019