FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 29, 2022) -- The Fort Drum Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Community Recreation Division was recognized as a 2022 National Gold Medal Award finalist for park and recreation management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
The award presentation was held during the National Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference, Sept. 20-22, in Phoenix.
The National Gold Medal Award annually honors public park and recreation agencies and state park systems throughout the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and innovative approaches to services with attention to fiscally sound business practices.
“This award demonstrates to the Fort Drum community and our customers that we are committed to providing them with top-tier programming, activities and facilities based on a worldwide standard,” said Charlie Rhode, Fort Drum Community Recreation Division coordinator. “It also showcases the accomplishments, hard work and success of our entire team, and the outstanding advances that they have made in providing quality recreational programs for Fort Drum.”
An armed forces category was created in 2012 and this was the first time Fort Drum applied for the award. They joined one other Army installation and two Navy bases as the top four finalists among FMWR programs worldwide.
“We were fortunate to be named a finalist, which is not an easy feat for first-time applicants,” Rhode said. “Many organizations have to apply each year, for multiple years, before becoming a finalist or earning the Grand Plaque award.”
The Fort Drum Community Recreation Division encompasses a wide variety of programs on the installation, to include Outdoor Recreation and the Recreational Shooting Range; the Robert C. McEwen Library; Remington Park and Recreational Lodging; Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers; Automotive Skills Center; Sports, Fitness and Aquatics (SFA) and the three fitness facilities.
The CRD staff also hosts numerous special events throughout the year – everything from community fun runs, Volksmarches, hiking trips and fitness competitions, to life skills classes for single Soldiers and book readings and bike rodeos for children.
According to the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the Gold Medal application asks agencies to identify what they do well in managing their agency and why is that considered the agency’s most outstanding effort. Applicants also have to highlight the activities undertaken both internally and externally to connect with the community it serves, with examples of the results it has achieved and examples of innovation and creativity.
Candidates also need to address the issues of public access, community health and well-being, and climate-ready parks. Finally, it asks agencies to share any challenges it has faced in the last three years, how it has addressed the challenges and the results achieved.