Achieving gold no easy task for Carmel parks

Park officials unveil new banner. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

Park officials unveil new banner. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

By Mark Ambrogi

Jim Engledow made sure to emphasize how big a deal it is to earn a national gold media for excellence in Park and Recreation management by American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration.

“This is a difficult award to earn,” said, Engledow, the president of the board of the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. “It requires excellence in all areas from accounting to maintenance to everything in between. It all enters into the equation. To win this award, you can’t just do a few things right but honestly you have to do everything right.”

The gold medal banner was unveiled at Monon Community Center’s gym on Oct. 22. There are five judges for the gold medal. Three of the judges were directors for gold-medal winning agencies.

Mark Westermeier, director of Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, said the staff entered the process thinking they could learn from the process and perhaps win the gold medal the following year.

“To have 7,000 park and recreation professionals applauding that effort is something I don’t think I’ve ever forget,” said Westermeier, who has been director for 12 years. “There’s so many variables that go into (winning). It’s about our master planning process for parks. It’s how we’ve adjusted to that and how we’re perceived going forward. It’s about the challenges that might lie and how we’re solving problems. It’s also about the programming we offer and how expansive it is. It’s about partnerships with other members of the communities like schools and (Indiana Wildlife Federation) and many other companies as well.”

Westermeier said the next goal is to become the first two-time gold medal winner in Indiana. However, Carmel can not apply for gold medal status again for five years. Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation also received accreditation from the National Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies.



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