Dickinson Parks & Recreation Director James Kramer has been inducted into the North Dakota Recreation & Parks Association Hall of Fame.

Kramer was honored at the association's annual conference, held Sept. 10-12 in Valley City.

He described becoming the 22nd inductee since 1994 as "humbling."

"It's pretty cool when you get an award like that from your peers around the state," he said. "It makes you feel good about what you do."

The distinction was applauded by Dickinson's park board members.

"I think it's very well deserved," Park Board President Scott Kovash said. "I think he's a superb director. I can't think of anybody more suited to receive that award."

Randy Bina, North Dakota Recreation & Parks Association Hall of Fame chair, called Kramer an "excellent choice" for the honor.

"I've known James for a number of years," Bina said. "He's been very involved. He has respect throughout the state from his fellow professionals. He's not only been involved in our state, but the Midwest Regional Council when that was active."

The honor belongs as much to the city, department staff and the park board, Kramer said.

"It's a team effort for the success the park district has seen," he said. "And the community — we're so fortunate to have a community that supports what we do and embraces it, because not all communities have a detailed parks and recreation system like we have.

"I've been blessed to work with a lot of good people."

North Dakota Recreation & Parks Association oversees the state's municipal parks.

"It's a membership organization, so it's professionals in state parks and recreation," Kramer said. "It would be vendors, students, retired professionals. It's about 1,000 members."

In the past, Kramer served as association treasurer, president-elect, president, member of the board of directors, professional development chair and public policy chair.

More than 200 people attended the yearly conference, which culminates with a banquet and awards ceremony.

The conference boasts many beneficial educational programs, Kramer said.

"We have to maintain so many (continuing education units) to keep our certification," he said. "There's about 14 people in the state who are certified in parks and recreation. Myself and Matt Mack (recreation/facilities director) are two of them."

The event also offers great opportunities for networking.

"You meet people from all over the state," Kramer said. "If you run into a problem when you're working on something and you need help, it's nice that you have that network of people and bounce ideas off them."

Kramer has been in parks and recreation since March 1991.

Of those years, two were spent in Williston and more than 26 have been in Dickinson.

"I grew up here," he said. "I started working for the park district when I was 12 years old, keeping score for softball tournaments and basketball tournaments, and just fell in love with that work and that profession."

Kramer pursued a business degree because, at the time, there were not specific degrees for parks and recreation or leisure.

"They have a sports management degree now at almost all the universities in North Dakota," he said, "so you can go that route."