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Mission and History
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Founded in 1944, the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) is the premier nonprofit education and advocacy organization, dedicated to the advancement of the park, recreation and leisure professions in our state. NCRPA empowers park and recreation professionals and citizen board members through educational opportunities that enhance their ability to change lives and impact communities on a daily basis for the citizens of North Carolina. For an overview of the programs and services offered by the organization, visit ..

We have a 31 person board of directors with 27 voting members that meets quarterly and is responsible for the overall operation of the organization.  Officers, Region and Section chairs are elected on an annual basis.  Committee chairs and agency liaisons are appointed by the president or selected by the agency they represent. The NCRPA By-laws provides more information on the organization structure.

Based in Raleigh, our 3-person staff coordinates the daily functions of operations and services provided. 

NCRPA ~ 883 Washington St ~ Raleigh, NC  27605 ~ 919-832-5868

History of NCRPA

In 1944, a meeting of pioneer recreators of our state formulated initial steps to establish an organization providing for professional fellowship and united planning in the advancement of the recreation movement. This organization, originally named the North Carolina Recreation Association, was incorporated by the state of North Carolina in April, 1948. Professionals may look with pride to progress achieved through two decades of history.  Early accomplishments included:

  •  a growth in total membership to more than 2,700 members;
  • a membership body reaching not only the professional recreator, but also interested lay leaders and students;
  • a statewide recognition and association with the total recreation movement encompassing agencies representing the armed forces, churches, commercial interests, hospitals and institutions, industry, local and state government, youth-serving organizations, colleges and universities and private interests; and
  • a nationwide image as one of the leading state recreation bodies, with its membership well represented in elective and appointive offices of national prominence.

 Throughout those formative years, a strong ally of the Association was the North Carolina Recreation Commission, created by statute in 1945 as the first State recreation advisory agency in the United States. Serving as the central office of our Association, and with all professional staff employee members of our Association, a strong working relationship of cooperation and mutual assistance has provided avenues of joint planning, coordination, and operation offering reciprocal opportunities for coordination and advancement of both the Association and the Commission and of the statewide recreation movement. On July 1, 1969, the North Carolina Recreation Commission was made a Section of the North Carolina Department of Local Affairs. In 1972, the name was changed to the Office of Recreation Resources of the Department of Natural and Economic Resources. Following various changes, this office has become the Section of Parks and Recreation within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Because of its strong and continuing participation in national recreation interests, the North Carolina Recreation Society in November, 1966, amended its By-Laws for the second time (originally amended September, 1959) to meet requirements of association with the new national organization, the National Recreation and Park Association, formed by the merger of national recreation and national park organizations. This opportunity was considered appropriate to change the name of our State organization to the North Carolina Recreation and Park Society, Incorporated. In 2004, NCRPS amended it’s by-laws to remove the term "Society" and add "Association".

As NC continues to change and grow, NCRPA strives to enhance the quality of park and recreation services throughout the state. Whether it is by providing on-going training or helping to coordinate various legislative activities, NCRPA is committed to improving both the quality of life and the diversity of leisure services to our citizens. This Association has been blessed with members who have provided strong leadership throughout our proud history and who have been willing to answer the call to service when needed. As we look ahead, the members of NCRPA will continue to build on of it’s strong foundation to meet the challenges of the future.

Today, recreation is vibrantly alive in North Carolina. It is now accepted as a valuable contributing force to an individual’s well-being. Public recreation is challenged to develop and present programs, which meet basic human needs in both a positive and constructive way. The members of the NCRPA are obligated to meet this challenge and to provide leadership in promoting leisure services and facilities in our state. The responsibility is before us; let us proceed.