• 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
  • Funding Opportunities for Local Governments

    The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is offering grant programs that may be of interest to local governments.

    Net Zero Energy Building Program

    The Foundation’s Net Zero Energy Building Program awards grants to new construction or retrofit projects that achieve site net zero energy performance or better. Buildings must offset all their energy consumption with on-site generation from renewable resources. Grants of up to $2,000,000 are available. The next deadline is July 18, 2019.

    See for details.

    Net Zero Energy Wastewater Treatment Program

    The Foundation’s Net Zero Energy Wastewater Treatment Program awards grants to wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) committed to achieving and maintaining energy neutral performance. Plants must maximize energy efficiency and offset all of their energy consumption with on-site generation from renewable resources. The goal of the program is to encourage WWTPs to take a holistic approach integrating energy efficiency, renewable self-generation, and best practices. Grants of up to $2,000,000 are available. The next deadline is July 18, 2019.

    See for details.

    First Responder Resilience Pilot Program

    The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has launched a pilot program to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure through the installation of solar photovoltaic/energy storage systems. Grants are available to first responders and public agencies supplying water.

    Photovoltaic (PV) panels with battery energy storage (BES) can provide electricity during power outages and emergencies. Facilities providing critical services can dramatically increase their resilience and ability to continue operating during emergencies if they have a PV/BES system in place. During non-emergency periods, the PV/BES system can reduce electricity purchases from the grid and utility demand charges; in some cases, PV/BES systems can also participate in the demand response and frequency regulation markets.

    Eligible applicants can receive up to $0.50/Watt for the PV system (or 60% of PV system cost, whichever is less) and up to $400/kWh for the battery energy storage system. The next deadline is August 27, 2019.

    See for details.



  • It's Here - The CPRE Exam Prep Series!

    Are you CPRP-certified and looking for additional advancement opportunities? Look no further than IPRA's fall CPRE preparation course. Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) is a national certification program through the National Park and Recreation Association, and it establishes a national standard for managerial, administrative, and executive park and recreation professionals. CPRE certification places you in the company of an elite group of park and recreation managers and executives and connects you to the latest trends and information. 

    CLICK HERE for further details about the program and to register for this wonderful career advancement opportunity! The first class in this two-part series is Monday, September 17th, so don't wait too long or you'll miss out. We hope to see you there!
  • 2019 Park & Recreation Compensation Survey

    Now in its second year, this survey was specifically created for the park district and special recreation industry and will report compensation data for 69 positions in Administrative Services, Facilities, Parks, Recreation, Food & Beverage/Concessions, Education, Rentals, HR/Finance, IT, and Membership/Marketing.

    With the help of a special committee coordinated by the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA), numerous park district and special recreation association contacts volunteered their time to identify and define additional jobs that should be included in the publication. New this year, you’ll find Food & Beverage Manager, Food & Beverage Server, Inclusion Aide, Before & After School Supervisor, Athletic Officials/Referee, Personal Trainer, Swim Instructor, Cashier, and many more. The survey is also adding a new compensation breakout category by geographic region. This will allow park and recreation agencies to compare compensation rates within a distinct geographic area.

    Participation Window:  August 28 – October 12

    Individual participation links allowing each organization to submit compensation data online or via a downloadable spreadsheet will be sent out soon, and participation will be open until October 12, 2018.

    To ensure that your organization receives a participation link, please visit our survey participation page or send us a quick note (including your contact information) to

    As a reminder, all survey participants will receive a complimentary copy of the final report, regardless of membership status with HR Source. The final report is scheduled to be released in 2019. It will also be available for purchase to non-participants. More details on participation dates and purchase prices can be found on our survey calendar. 

    Thanks in advance for your support and participation in this growing survey. If you have questions, please contact us at 800-448-4584 or email
  • IPRA Board of Directors & Section Board Applications Due Monday, August 27

    Board of Directors
    Currently the IPRA Board is seeking potential candidates for the positions of Chicago Metro Representative and Southern Region Representative. In accordance with the bylaws, the Governance Committee will review and interview the candidates identified to determine eligibility, then make a recommendation to the Board for the slate, for election by the members. Opportunities to participate on the IPRA Board of Directors come annually in conjunction with the end of terms or as vacancies occur which may be filled in the interim per the bylaws.

    Board Candidate Applications are due Monday, August 27, 2018, at 5:00 PM to

    Section Boards
    The Section Boards of Administration and Finance, Communications and Marketing, Diversity, Facility Management, Parks and Natural Resource, Recreation, and Therapeutic Recreation all have current openings within their five-person boards. Please review each section’s application for specific positions currently available as well as candidate requirements, term limits and the election timeline.

    Section Board Candidate Applications are Monday, August 27, 2018 at 5:00 PM to
  • Com Ed Energy Efficiency Webinar

    Com Ed is offering an Energy Efficiency Webinar for park districts on August 14th, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. CST. CLICK HERE to learn more information and be directed to the registration page. There is no cost to participate in the webinar. Park district managers, buildings and grounds directors, facilities managers, maintenance professionals, sustainability officers, planning professionals, finance managers, and business managers are encouraged to participate.

    For additional questions, contact Brian Tomkins (Metro Region) at 312-201-4508 or
  • IPRA Board Seeks Candidates for Positions

    The Illinois Park & Recreation Association Board of Directors is seeking leaders from the field who are dedicated to IPRA’s mission.

    Currently, the IPRA Board is seeking potential candidates for the positions of Chicago Metro Representative and Southern Region Representative.

    In accordance with the bylaws, the Governance Committee will review and interview the candidates identified to determine eligibility, then make a recommendation to the Board for the slate, for election by the members. Board Candidate Applications are due Monday, August 27, 2018 at 5:00 PM to