Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) received the Excellence in Inclusion Award by the National Recreation and Park Association today during the 2016 NRPA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. The Excellence in Inclusion Award recognizes and honors an agency or organization that has embraced its mandate to implement inclusive processes and practices and provides well-planned supports for inclusive participation by people with disabilities and diversity in all programs, services, and facilities.\u00a0Further, the agency or organization provides leadership to other agencies, shares information, and advocates for inclusive services and practices. This is an important part of NRPA\u2019s three pillars (conservation, health & wellness, and social equity), all of which fall in line with CCPR\u2019s mission and vision. RELATED POST: A look at Carmel Clay Parks' new West Commons Playground \u201cCCPR has created a culture of inclusion, striving to ensure all park visitors, program participants, and employees feel valued and welcomed regardless of their abilities or differences,\u201d said Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation\u2019s Chief Operating Officer Michael Klitzing. \u201cFrom our formal policies to everyday practices, CCPR is dedicated to serving everyone in the community.\u201d In 2015 alone, CCPR offered 205 programs designed specifically for people with disabilities, serving 2,275 participants. Adaptive offerings range from the innovative and award-winning Roundabout Playback Troupe and Adaptive FlowRider (surfing) programs to fitness and basic skills classes. CCPR offers inclusion services to ensure everyone, regardless of ability, is able to participate in more than 3,200 recreation programs offered annually. Inclusion services and modifications were provided to 73 individuals last year. CCPR was established in 1991 through the grassroots effort of concerned citizens wishing to preserve disappearing woodlands and open space in the rapidly growing community. Environmental stewardship has been a core value of CCPR since its inception. This is demonstrated in its approach to developing and managing its park system and through its efforts to engage staff and educate the public to help create an environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable future. Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts \u2014 both professional and personal \u2014 in the field of parks and recreation. There are 10 award categories in the NRPA\u2019s National Awards program. Recipients are selected and chosen for excellence in a variety of areas, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach. About Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation:\u00a0Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR) holds the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) for parks serving populations of 75,001 to 150,000. As an accredited agency, the department serves the recreation, fitness, and nature needs of the community, manages and develops existing spaces and resources and creates a sustainable future for parks and recreation programs through a financially viable and environmentally conscious parks system. CCPR manages and maintains more than 500 park acres and numerous recreation facilities, including the Monon Community Center and The Waterpark. For more information, visit carmelclayparks.com. The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA\u2019s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit ParksAndRecreation.org.