iLearn is a multifaceted professional development program under the auspices of the Joint Section Education Committee in which selected applicants work as a team to complete a research project on a topic relating to best practices within the field of parks and recreation. Teams will complete research on a chosen topic and prepare a presentation at the annual IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. Additionally, team research will be formatted and presented to the IAPD/IPRA Joint Editorial Committee for consideration in the May/June edition of the 2021 Illinois P&R publication. 

Program Objectives

  • Increase the opportunity for professional development through research and presentation of findings
  • Learn trend analysis on current issues and ongoing challenges in the field of parks and recreation
  • Create a team experience and various leadership roles through networking, data collection, and public speaking process
  • Work collaboratively with professionals of all levels and positions in the parks and recreation field, increasing professional connections
Program Expectations

  • Participants will be engaged in all aspects of the project. There will be an opportunity to evaluate this program to enhance is overall initiative and direction.
  • As this program earns CEUs, all team members are expected to participate in a minimum of 75% of all team meetings and conference calls. There will be ten large group meetings (in-person and virtual) to update findings and network with the JSEC. All team members are expected to participate in the presentation at the 2021 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. 
  • The ideas, materials, resources, products, and/or services developed in the completion of these assignments are the shared intellectual property of the entire team.

To be eligible for consideration, you must be an IPRA member and have the full support of your direct supervisor to attend virtual and in-person meetings between August 2020 and January 2021. CLICK HERE to download and complete the application. Submit with a one-page résumé and professional letter of reference to JSEC Chair Colleen Cline at by August 28, 2020. 

IPRF Scholarships
All iLearn applicants, regardless of financial capabilities, are encouraged to apply for a Professional Scholarship  via Illinois Park and Recreation Foundation. Applications should be completed by July 31, 2020 to be eligible for review August 1-15, 2020. 

Testimonials from 2019-2020 (Sponsorships and Grants)

Sarah S.
“I would do it again!  iLearn was well worth the effort. Through the processes of research and presenting at the IPRA conference, I’ve developed career-long connections with professionals from many other Illinois park districts.  It also gave me the confidence to know I could present at conference solo in the future. Thank you for this opportunity!”

Deanna J.
“iLearn was a tremendous opportunity to not only grow and expand my professional skillset, but also be able to network with others in the industry.  I would highly recommend!”

Rachel E.
“iLearn allowed me to grow my network in the field of Parks and Recreation all while working towards professional goals. Teamwork, research, and public speaking are all valuable skills that I was able to enhance while working with people with similar interests and goals. I would highly recommend the iLearn program for anyone looking to grow their skills and knowledge and connect with others in the Parks and Rec field.”

Emma E.
“iLearn was a great experience that helped me gain knowledge of a new subject area - one that I probably wouldn’t have further looked into on my own. I made new relationships with a group of people that I will continue to keep in touch with on a personal and professional level.”

Ali G.
"iLearn was such a great experience! It provided an opportunity to work with colleagues from different IPRA sections and from different agencies. We worked together to research and develop a presentation for conference and supported each other each step of the way. Thanks to iLearn, I have found colleagues I will keep in touch with throughout my career."

Cameron C.
“iLearn was a great opportunity for me to meet and interact with people in other organizations in ways that I wouldn't have been able to without it. It gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons by learning about a topic that I wouldn't have interacted with organically and allowed us to provide important information to others in the industry. If I had the opportunity to redo iLearn, I would in a heartbeat.”

Jamie T.
"Participating in the iLearn experience, during Leadership Academy, was a challenging but rewarding experience. Not only did I have an opportunity to expand my knowledge on Grants and Sponsorship's, but I expanded my parks and recreation network. Through a great display of teamwork and dedication to our goal we successfully presented at the IPRA conference, and had fun getting there!"