5 Parks and Recreation Conferences to Attend in 2016

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5 Parks and Recreation Conferences to Attend in 2016

Parks and recreation conferences help spread great ideas; they represent a great place for parks and recreation professionals to meet others in their industry. Conferences can be a hotbed for networking, allowing organizations to expand their horizons and create an infrastructure that supports their local and state/provincial communities. By congregating in the same place, at the same time, professionals are able to network, attend educational sessions and see showcases of relevant products and services.


If you see the Xplor Recreation team at a conference you’re attending, be sure to stop by our booth and say hello! With many different conferences held every year for parks and recreation, we wanted to highlight a few of them for you. Here are 5 parks and recreation conferences to attend in 2016.


NRPA Annual Conference 2016

The National Recreation and Parks Association holds the largest parks and recreation conference in North America. This 3-day event hosts more than 7,000 parks and recreation professionals, citizen advocates and industry suppliers. There’s so much to learn, so much to see, and so many connections to make. Check out their event resources from last year’s conference, to get an idea of the kind of education you’ll receive. From educational session handouts to presentation materials and videos of many presentations, it’s a great preview of the things you’ll encounter at this great parks and recreation conference. Their 2015 conference was an incredible success and their 2016 seems to be following suit; it will be held in St. Louis, MO. Register is available here.


2016 ARPA Conference

The ARPA Conference is held annually in Alberta, Canada. One of the things we like most about it is how focused the themes are. Last year, they explored the negative sides of the evolution of parks and recreation in the last 50 years and how we can create positive change to reverse some of those effects. As one statement from the conference said, “what once was understood as a public good that reached out to include vulnerable people, families, and communities, has since evolved into a facility-focused, individual model that does not effectively engage the community in creating positive and enduring change.” Check out the presentations held at last year’s ARPA Conference held in Lake Louise, Alberta, and keep an eye out for this year’s iteration.


2016 MBA Symposium

The MBA Symposium (More Better Approach), held by Parks and Recreation Ontario in Barrie, ON, focuses on looking at the “more and better” approach to working with youth. The day before the symposium began, they held a pre-symposium workshop on positive youth development. The key points here were to better understand the developmental needs of youth, learn about brain development and how it can influence program planning. Great to see this progressive group making this kind of investment in our youth!


2016 Soaring to New Heights

Hosted by the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, Soaring to New Heights brings together more than 4,400 parks and recreation professionals and elected officials for 3 days of quality educational programming, networking and professional development. With 18 pre-conference workshops, over 150 educational sessions, and 325 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services, there’s a wealth of information to find here. Register here for this year’s event. Act quick; their registration ends on January 18th!


Movement 2016

The mParks Conference & Trade Show is hosted in Michigan, for its park and recreation professionals. Last year’s event drew over 650 attendees and this year’s is poised to draw more. Promoting healthy environment, healthy lifestyles and healthy communities, Movement 2016 is a great conference people should being paying attention to. Check out Michigan Recreation and Park Association, to learn more about them and their growing conference series you should visit in 2016. Register here for the 2016 show.


Is your parks and recreation organization looking to get more involved in your community? Does community engagement appear at the top of your list of goals for 2016? See how Xplor Recreation parks and recreation software can help your organization grow.


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