Dr. Naismith was very involved in the early development of community parks with the goal of making parks accessible, affordable and able to accommodate many forms of exercise stations and games, including basketball. He served on several local and national committees promoting the importance of these public places of recreation and fun.

We look for ways to partner with local P&R departments with the goal of continuing his legacy and support of the ideals found in P&R efforts. Many of the P&R Departments are divided by county/city/local areas. For instance there are 100 counties in the state of NC, which means there are over 250 facilities in NC, serving over 250,000 people.

The other face of the Park & Recreation movement is found at private facilities, like Carolina Courts in Indian Trail and Concord, NC. More and more of these type facilities are being built because of the shear growth in the need for indoor space for kids and adults to participate in sports.

National Park & Recreation Association (NRPA) is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities. Founded in 1965 through the merger of five national organizations dedicated to the same cause, NRPA has grown over the years – in total membership, in outreach efforts, in building partnerships, and in serving as the voice and defender of parks and recreation. Today there are over 3,000 park and recreation professional members.

NRPA Mission Statement

To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhances the quality of life for all people.

Our Core Values

  • Quality and continuous progress in all our efforts
  • A culture of enjoyment, fun and celebration
  • Preservation of the heritage of parks and recreation
  • The importance of networking, collaboration and partnership
  • Transparency in our decision-making
  • Commitment to inclusion and diversity
  • Service excellence to members and stakeholders
  • Stewardship of the natural environment and park and recreation infrastructure

Our History

On August 14, 1965, the NRPA was created when five organizations merged to form a single entity. The five merging organizations were all involved in the support of park and recreation service providers in the public sector and included the National Recreation Association (NRA), American Institute of Park Executives (AIPE), American Recreation Society (ARS), the National Conference on State Parks (NCSP), and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (an affiliate of AIPE). Their purposes for merging are stated best in the October 1964 Proposal for Merger:

“It is the expressed belief of the officers of the American Institute of Park Executives, American Recreation Society, National Conference on State Parks and National Recreation Association that each organization reaffirm its strong conviction that the ever-increasing needs and demands for recreation and park facilities and services can best be served through the selective and unified strengths of lay and professional persons. It is further recognized and reiterated that a united and concerted effort on the part of all aforementioned organizations will result in more effective services. To this end it is believed that these organizations should collectively utilize their collective talents and resources by joining into one service and professional association dedicated to the task of unification effort in the recreation and park field.”

NRPA’s heritage and philosophy are an outgrowth of pioneering work by its predecessors. The history of NRPA is a history of parks and scenic open spaces. It is the story of children and people of all ages seeking self-expression and fulfillment in an urbanized and industrial society. It is the story of visionary men and women who believed in the importance of recreation to the growth and development of the individual and the nation. It is the story of providing sustainable programs and environments for generations to come.

Since the merger, the National Recreation and Park Association have been serving the needs of citizens and professionals through a variety of products and services.

The history and heritage of the public park and recreation field is preserved by the Joseph Lee Memorial Library and Archives.

NRPA is funded through membership dues, conference and event sales, and charitable contributions. These funds are used to conduct research, education and policy initiatives on behalf of the movement.

NRPA is a non-profit organization organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia.

To learn more about NRPA, review the site, www.nrpa.org or call 1.800.626.NRPA (6772).