Scholarship Programs


Your Foundation membership helps support scholarships for Virginia parks and recreation professionals and students. The members of the Foundation of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society are very proud of the Scholarship Program that has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships and assisted dozens of students and professionals with their education.

The Foundation of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society Scholarship Committee reviews all applications. Applicants are reviewed in light of the quality of the responses provided in the application and the following criteria:

  • Service to VRPS: involvement in service areas, resource groups, committee positions held, and volunteer experiences. Student applicants may describe their involvement with parks and recreation agencies including employment and volunteer experience.

  • Demonstrated financial need.

Scholarship preference will be given to those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the profession through membership in VRPS and the Foundation of VRPS.

Applicants Take Notice

  • If submitting a scholarship application for a specific event, applicants should register for the event during the early registration rate period, as scholarship awards are based on early, VRPS-member registration rates.
  • Select "Bill Me" at the payment page - do not make a payment.
  • Applicants will be notified of their award status after the early registration deadline.
  • Scholarship recipients will receive a discount code to apply to their outstanding registration balance.
  • If recipients do not follow these instructions and pre-pay registration prior to scholarship decisions, refunds are subject to a 5% processing fee.
  • Scholarship committee decisions are conveyed to the Board of the Foundation of VRPS for ratification.  All decisions are final.

Professional Scholarships

2020 VRPS Annual Conference

Scholarship application deadline:  5/31/2020.

Student Scholarships

James K. Cole Scholarship

This scholarship was developed in memory of James K. Cole, a Parks and Recreation Professional from the City of Virginia Beach, who was dedicated to the profession. As a memorial to his life's work, an academic scholarship was established in his name.

Purpose: the scholarship is designed to assist junior, senior and graduate students majoring in the Leisure Service field who can demonstrate a need for financial assistance.

Award: TBD towards the cost of undergraduate or graduate education.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • Must have a current grade point average of at least 3.0.

  • Must be have achieved sophomore or junior status at time of application or be a graduate student.

  • Must be pursuing a major in the Leisure Service Field.

  • Must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of application.

  • Must, through follow-up documentation, demonstrate financial need.

Criteria for Selection: 

  • Past course work in leisure service field.

  • Financial need.

  • Volunteerism and professional involvement.

  • Quality of reference.

Check back in August, 2021 for more information.

The scholarship application period is August 1 - October 31, 2021.

Jesse A. Reynolds Memorial Scholarship


Jesse A. Reynolds was a parks and recreation director for the City of Richmond.  He was instrumental in establishing professional parks and recreation "registration", which was the predecessor to Virginia's CPRP program.  Upon his passing, Jesse's family, including son Ron Reynolds, a former director in Campbell County and a former VRPS Foundation Board member, established this scholarship in his name.  Designed to assist professionals currently employed in leisure services (preferably public recreation), this scholarship is awarded to assist in graduate level education, either on a part-time or full-time basis.

  • For more information and to apply, check back in August.

  • Application period is August 1 - October 31, 2020.