2009 NRPA conference casts an eye to the future
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The recession has created an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty for many, and those who work in the parks and recreation field are not immune. With so many forces — the economy, politics, and social and leisure trends, for example — out of the control of parks and recreation professionals, thinking about the future could cause a few sleepless nights.
Futurist Jim Carroll has helped hundreds of organizations minimize their sleepless nights when preparing for the future, and he will discuss some of the upcoming challenges and opportunities in the field of parks and recreation when he delivers the keynote address at the National Recreation and Parks Association’s (NRPA) annual Congress and Exposition in Salt Lake City.
Carroll, whose keynote speech will be part of the conference’s Oct. 14 opening ceremony, will concentrate his presentation on three areas:
· Aligning organizational missions with the major trends and developments that will influence the field of parks and recreation in the future.
· A leadership style that encourages a culture of agility, allowing for a rapid response to sudden changes in programs, markets, competition and other trends.
· A performance-oriented focus in which people are encouraged to turn new challenges into opportunities, rather than viewing change as a threat to be feared.
“In these difficult economic times, it will be refreshing and instructive to learn from one of the truly great minds in strategic planning,” NRPA Chief Executive Officer Barbara Tulipane said. “Attendees will leave the conference well-armed with a variety of tools and strategies to help them successfully confront the challenges of the coming year.”
Beyond Carroll’s keynote address, the annual NRPA congress will boast an abundance of opportunities to learn new tools and strategies to help overcome tomorrow’s challenges in parks and recreation. The NRPA congress, which runs from Oct. 13-16, will feature educational sessions, certification courses, workshops, special events and networking opportunities — not to mention a tradeshow of more than 300 exhibiting companies.
The congress, which brings together thousands of parks and recreation professionals, citizen advocates, industry partners, suppliers and policymakers, will feature educational offerings in four categories: aquatics, golf, urban and open forum sessions. Sessions on the docket include:
· “Aquatic Therapy for Children with Special Needs” (Oct. 13)
· “Growing Rounds by Retaining Your Golfers” (Oct. 13)
· “Bicycle Dirt Jump Park — Coming to a Community Near You” (Oct. 13)
· “Remodeling Parks and Recreation: From Crisis to Continuity” (Oct. 14-16)
· “The Role of P&R in Emergency Management” (Oct. 14)
· “Going Green: Making Recreation and Aquatic Facilities Sustainable” (Oct. 15)
· “Managing the Difficult Employee” (Oct. 15)
· “The Future of Public Golf in America” (Oct. 16)
· “Beyond the Dog Park: Innovative Approaches to Off-Leash Recreation” (Oct. 16)
Among other highlights, the Oct. 16 closing general session will feature an interactive panel discussion exploring how the U.S. Olympic Committee and NRPA have worked together to help communities realize their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.
In addition to the many opportunities to gain valuable professional knowledge, there will be opportunities to get stronger physically: Daily exercise sessions, starting with yoga on Oct. 14, will be held at 7 a.m.
Also, attendees will have a chance to explore some of the unique natural assets around Salt Lake City — including Bryce Canyon National Park and the Great Salt Lake — through leisure tours taking place before and during the conference.
For more information on the NRPA Congress and Exposition, visit http://www.nrpacongress.org.