Chris Nelson has been selected by the Kansas Recreation and Parks Association (KRPA) as one of its Distinguished Professionals. Nelson was nominated for the award and selected by a group of peers in the park and recreation industry. He will received his award at the KRPA's annual conference Feb. 3.
"We are extremely pleased for Chris as this award recognizes the level of professionalism he commits to the industry and to the community," Eddie Eastes, Manhattan park and recreation director, says.
Chris was an integral member of the Strategic Facilities Improvement Plan process for Manhattan Parks and Recreation, which was accepted by the City Commission in 2015. This plan charts the course of significant improvement in the delivery of recreation services in the next 25 years in our community.
Chris has worked closely with the newly established community relations office to create a new image and brand for the department and identify potential populations for community engagement. A new logo, new website and overhaul of all public facing materials are the result.
In 2015, Chris launched the Start Smart program in our community. Start Smart was developed by top motor skill development specialists in the field of youth sports. Parent-child groups perform motor skill tasks that gradually build confidence in children while they are having fun at the same time. Start Smart participants develop proper motor skills without the threat of competition or the fear of getting hurt that will allow them to enjoy and succeed in their youth sports future.
Chris has been and continues to be a leader in the sports officials industry. He is a Kansas State High School Activities Association certified baseball, basketball and football official. He was selected as the KSHSAA 2014 Umpire of the Year. He has taken an active lead role in the Northeast Kansas Officials Association serving as the president, webmaster and chair of various committees.
Chris accomplished the NRPA Certified Park and Recreation Professional and is committed to fostering the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in the delivery of park and recreation programs and services.
Chris also accomplished the National Alliance for Youth Sports Certified Youth Sports Administrator (CYSA). CYSAs are an elite group of professionals that have earned certification in the field of youth sports. They have successfully completed the Academy for Youth Sports Administrators; they have demonstrated that professional development is essential to the delivery of quality sports programs; and they are committed to raising the professionalism in youth sports.
The National Alliance for Youth Sports selected Chris as one of the founding members of the CYSA Leadership Committee, a group created to promote the need for education and professional standards of those overseeing youth sports programs.
Chris is also a graduate of the KRPA “Tomorrow’s Leaders” Professional Development Institute.
"Chris has a passion for making a measurable and impactful difference in the lives of those he works on behalf of," Eastes says. "He exceeds expectations and takes pride in the delivery of outstanding parks, programs and facilities."