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2018 Annual Conference - PreConference Brochure
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            Preliminary Conference Schedule (Updated 1/10/18)

April 10 - 12, 2018

Princess Royale Hotel, Ocean City, MD

Updated 2/8/18


Tuesday, April 10


Golf Tournament and Awards Luncheon

Eagle’s Landing Golf Course


The shotgun start features a four-player scramble format. Special contests for Hole-In-One, Closest to the Pin and Longest Drives, as well as awards for the top three teams. The $85 per player entry fee includes green fee, cart, prizes, luncheon, and beverages.  For further information, contact Phil Bryan at 410-313-1668 or



2:00 - 7:00pm

Registration Open



MRPA TR Branch Mini Golf Tournament

Old Pro Golf, 136th Street

Entry Fee: $15 person/round

Cost includes tournament round and donation to Tommy Ross Memorial Fund.

Please RSVP


Thank You Badge, Badge Holder and Bag Sponsors!












6:00 – 8:30 pm

General Membership Meeting & Keynote Address


Keynote Speaker - Neelay Bhatt

Vice President, PROS Consulting INC.

NRPA Board of Directors


Neelay’s experience on four continents includes Disney, The Super Bowl, The Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games, besides years of consulting, public speaking and training. TEDx, the global platform for ideas, describes him as a business and communications visionary, and his service on the National Recreation and Park Association’s Board of Directors is committed to ensuring that ‘no child is left indoors’. Additionally, VisitIndy, America’s leading convention and visitors bureau, profiled him as one shaping the future of the City.


He believes in the ‘Power of One’ – one person / one action to change the world and his messages on empathetic leadership, magical customer service and the art of storytelling have benefited executives, professionals, and students from North America to China and from Europe to New Zealand.


Besides leading a TED Global workshop in Canada, presenting multiple TEDx talks and coaching TEDx presenters, he is a sought-after keynote speaker for parks and recreation, sports and events conferences globally.


He has led 130+ strategic and master planning, sports facility development, customer service training, and marketing and branding projects while focusing on innovation, partnerships, financial sustainability, and a guest experience of the highest quality. These projects have recommended facility development and infrastructure improvements totaling over $2 billion USD, and are helping to shape a better vision for parks, recreation, and sports all over the world.



8:30 – 10:30pm

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

Exhibit Hall

 Sponsored by Kings Dominion

Join us in celebrating the many exhibitors at the Exhibit Hall Grand Opening. Many businesses and professional services are located in the exhibit hall for your convenience. Meet and support your exhibitors while using this time to also network with your colleagues. A cash bar will be available.








10:30pm – 12:00am

Opening Night Social – Bonfires and S’Mores  

Schooners Lounge

 Sponsored by Sparks@Play


Wednesday, April 11

8:30am - 3:30pm

Registration Open

9:00 – 10:30am

Past President and Director’s Breakfast

This is a great opportunity for agency directors and past presidents of MRPA who return to the 2017 conference to share issues and activities that are affecting the parks and recreation field.


9:00 – 10:00am

Education Sessions


Mentoring Youth Employees -SALT

Jennifer McCklosey

In the Area of Facility and Land Use Management our team teaches Mentoring of Youth and Employees to obtain their greatest potential and passion for life and play.  Our Program will address specific areas for enhancement and strategies to increase confidence and productivity.  We will include strategic visioning, passion in leadership, and accountability ladder analysis as well as the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument. We will address mentoring for results and effective coaching strategies.


Delivering YOUR TED Talk

Neelay Bhatt

The successful implementation of the best of ideas often comes down to how it is communicated. In today’s times with shrinking attention spans and a focus on simplicity that resonates, TED Talks have become the gold standard for how to deliver innovative ideas worth spreading. This session will share insights from a multiple TEDx speaker and currently a TEDx speaker coach that will help attendees be better communicators and to deliver ‘their’ TED talk.


Designing Sensory Integrative Parks for Older Adults

Sue Paul

Throughout this country, we have public parks that are designed to meet the needs of a variety of users. We have dog parks, and skate parks, and equestrian, toddler, and motocross parks. We have parks for basketball, tennis, and golf. But yet there are very few park spaces designed specifically for older adults, which happens to be the largest and fastest growing tax-paying demographic in our communities. There exists an opportunity for public parks to address the complex issues surrounding aging adults- by providing opportunities for fitness, socialization, and cognitive support. In this program, we will examine what our seniors need in public park spaces. We will identify what physical challenges are most appropriate, how to incorporate sensory integration components, and how to support the needs of the cognitively impaired and their caregivers.


Understanding and Managing Millennials

Rebecca Weaver

In any workplace there are typically contributors from many different generations. As we continue to face our more mature workers and their vast amount of learned knowledge moving toward retirement, we are sometimes challenged to understand the dynamics that the youngest professionals bring to our team. In this session, we will talk about some differences in the generations of employees in today's workplace and most specifically about the typical characteristics of the millennials. This session will equip today's manager with a better understanding of the strengths of their younger team members and the challenges that accompany them. In order to best be a coach, mentor and manager, you must understand how this generation is unique and what inspires them to be at their best. This is will be part information and interactive discussion.


Partnering for Success:  Parks & Recreation Departments And School Systems

Kat Stork, CPRP; Dr. Derek Simmons

This workshop will provide participants with an outline of how parks and recreation departments can partner with their local school systems in a win-win way that improves a variety of outcomes for children and youth. Through a case study of their organizations' collaboration over the past decade, Kat Stork, Deputy Director, Caroline County Recreation & Parks and Derek Simmons, Director of Student Services for Caroline County Public Schools will demonstrate how they have maximized their capacity to serve kids through effective partnership. Caroline County is one of the poorest counties in the state, both in household income and in local property tax revenue to invest in services. The recreation & parks department and the school system work together to jointly develop and use fields and facilities and to provide access to out of school time programs. The presenters will share their experiences and will lead participants in some interactive activities to develop their own approaches to successful partnerships.


Move More Montgomery the Journey to a Healthy Community

Joanne Roberts, Ph.D.

REVISED BY GMJ: Montgomery County Recreation is committed to healthy living, through healthy eating and physical activity. The department developed the Wellness, Fitness, and Performance (WFP) Institute to serve as a framework for its health and wellness initiatives. The WFP Institute coordinates activities and programs within the department and with outside partners in the areas of health, wellness, fitness and performance. The institute uses a seven step process to develop and implement its wellness initiatives. Come learn about these initiatives and the impact they have had on our residents!



10:00am - 2:00pm

Exhibit Hall Open


10:00 – 11:00am

Continental Breakfast

Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by Cunningham Recreation


11:00am – 12:30pm

Education Sessions


Not Another Meeting?

Maureen Dougherty

Meetings are necessary but not all meetings are essential or productive. Do you know the average business reportedly spends 31 hours in “unproductive” meetings each month? How much time do you spend attending or running meetings? This session will focus on helping participants run a fun (yes, fun) and effective meeting, how to create a workable agenda, and will provide an assessment tool for you to evaluate the most recent meeting you attended. Follow the recommendations in this session and people won’t want to miss your meetings ever again! Objectives 1-4 are achievable if given a 60 minute time slot. Add objective #5 & #6 for a 90 minute session.


ADA Compliance vs. Accessibility: Tracking Asset Dependency in an EAM

LaToya Austin; Erica Castellon

The Department of Justice has strict guidelines on defining Compliance and Accessibility of Park Assets and Amenities. In this session we will explain how changes to compliance changes the impact on and Amenities Compliance and Accessibility. We will also demonstrate how we are using an Enterprise Asset Management System (EAM) to track Compliance and Accessibility for reporting and the generation of follow-up work orders for inspection and corrective action.


Identifying Trends for an Uncertain Future

Neelay Bhatt

As agencies continue to focus on NRPA’s 3 Pillars, this session will help them predict trends and plan for future shifts in an increasingly unpredictable time.  Also, it will share insights for how to build an agency culture and mindset that can innovate and thrive in a changing landscape as parks and recreation agencies look to changes to their communities, policies, park and facility designs, financial sustainability, marketing and communications, partnerships, program delivery and innovation in general.


Once Upon a Time! Using On-Hand Technology to Achieve Your Marketing and Storytelling Goal

Cassi Hayden; Rae Wallace

Participants will learn how to use their smartphones to create marketing-ready photography and video. You will learn the importance of understanding and developing a dynamic brand, uncover unique selling points, and learn about outlets to share your story. This is a hands-on session and participants will have the opportunity to learn how to create low-cost, quality, branded marketing stories.


Show Them the Love:  Delivering World-Class Customer Service

Jed Buck; Roz Buck

We all interact with internal and external customers continuously. Making our customers raving fans can propel the organization to new heights. This workshop will review the importance of super-serving both internal and external customers and provide a series of practical actions that every staff member can easily use to consistently deliver world-class customer service.


10 Tools and Apps for Every Recreation and Park Professional

Michelle Wells & Matt Carusona

Wish you had a personal assistant? What about a magic list to organize your life? Let's face it - in our profession, time is not on our side. Professionals are asked to do more with way less in half the time. With these restrictions in mind, the tools presented in this session will help any recreation and parks professional manage their time, team and projects more efficiently and effectively. This interactive session will give attendees 10 free tools to help them work smarter.


12:30 – 2:00pm

All Conference Exhibitor’s Luncheon and Dessert

Exhibit Hall

Dessert sponsored by HersheyPark


Silent Auction Baskets

The Silent Auction Baskets will be on display and open for bids.



Speed Sessions


Bridge Inspection Program

Tom Baxter

Develop an ongoing Maintenance & Inspection Program to maintain M-NCPPC bridge systems


AED Inspections for Safety and Security

Greg Angus

Having an operational AED in a Parks and Recreation facility can mean the difference between life and death for a citizen or co-worker. If you invest in having these devices, you should be sure that they are operating correctly and they are routinely inspected. Failure to perform basic maintenance could lead to liability. We'd like to share with you our business process for inspecting AEDs and maintaining the inspection records in our work management system.


Top 10 Social Media Trends in 2018

Keisha Reed

In fast paced digital world, the ways to stay current and effective when using social media for promoting your brand or organization change every day. In this session, you will learn the top 10 social media trends to follow in 2018. Burning questions on best practices, making great (shareable) content and building a social strategy? Leave this workshop feeling comfortable about your social media presence in 2018!


MRPA...Vol_ntee_ What's Missing? U R!!

Laura Wetherald and Mary Beth Dugan

Have you been asking yourself how you can become more involved with MRPA? Questions like: "How do I start?", "I don't have a lot of time to give so what can I do?, and "How will my involvement affect my professional growth?" Two seasoned professionals share their 80 years plus of MRPA involvement and how this Association enhanced their professional development. Discover the outcomes of engagement in the profession and the impact on your own leadership, accountability and teamwork skills.


Dismiss the "Dis"

Genevieve Jennai, Countywide Program Access Specialist, Montgomery County Recreation

When you think of the word "disabled" what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you think about something being broken? Do you think about a person who is different than you? Abilities are different in everyone! Join this interactive gameshow to test your knowledge and change the way you see other people.


parkrun: Building Healthy Communities through the World’s Largest Running Event

Andrea Zukowski, Event Director, and Regional Ambassador for parkrun USA; Anthony Nolan, Chief, Special Programs Division MNCPPC Prince George’s County

We introduce “parkrun,” which offers a simple, scalable model for building healthy communities, via weekly 5k run/walk events in parks and trails. While parkrun is relatively new in the United States, the DC-Maryland area is the epicenter for US growth, where it now reaches diverse communities in 5 park locations every week, from Northwest DC to West Baltimore. This session will share the case study of College Park parkrun, which in its first year drew around 4000 runs, becoming a point of pride for the community. You will come away with information on a free, fun, volunteer-run program that encourages people of every ability to begin running and ways you can sponsor/support the forming of an event in your community.


2:15 – 3:15pm

Education Sessions


Using Drones for Aerial Inspection of Assets

Michael Snyder

Drones can be a valuable tool for inspection Assets. The cost of Drones have come down significantly and restrictions on the commercial use of Drones make them a viable alternative to putting staff in harm's way. Drones can provide access to Assets that are in operation and/or are inaccessible because of height or location. Drones should became a part of Park inspection processes and we'll show you how to get started.


Kids Aren't Pro-athletes!

Joel Fish

"Is winning everything and the only thing?" This may be true for pro athletes, but not for kids. This session will help participants define their attitudes about competition, winning, losing, athletic competition, physical fitness, and gender issues. Emphasis will be placed on understanding special developmental issues in order to keep sports enjoyable for boys, girls, and teens.


Extraordinary Conflict Resolution & Sportsmanship

Jennifer McCklosey

Our Team provides extraordinary training on Conflict Resolution (parent to parent, youth to youth, coach to parent, in the workplace).  We discuss the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument and provide scenarios for analysis and review. We also excel at creating a Sportsmanship Ambassadors' Program.  Working with youth and adults to encourage diplomacy and sportsman-like conduct is key to our mission


Beyond School House Rock: Easy ways to Incorporate Civics Education into Youth Programming

Emily Lawrence

This session will provide parks and recreation professionals with easy ways to help the youth in their programs understand the basics of civics and government in a fun and engaging way. Politics is everywhere these days – discover ways to help the children and teens in your programs learn about the responsibilities of citizenship, understand current events, and look up to the public servants and elected leaders who worked to improve their community. Including civics education in your camps, after-school programs and teen programs can help youth practice critical thinking, public speaking, and problem-solving skills while also preparing youth to be engaged community members.


Leadership and Motivation: Who's Your Jamal?

Bruce Babashen (SALT)

Helping leaders understand and appreciate the power and influence they possess as a leader and how to be mindful and good stewards of their authority. In this presentation Bruce shares a true, very personal and powerful story of a young man he barely remembers meeting in his gym and how that seemingly uneventful almost innocuous encounter changed the course of that young mans life forever. This presentation is a powerful and emotion reminder that as leaders our authority often extends well beyond our own understanding and that we must always be mindful of those we meet…if only for a few seconds.


Ethical Hiring - Recruiting & Interviewing Do's and Don'ts

Rebecca Weaver

In this presentation, the participant should walk away with a better understanding of how to ethically recruit and hire the best candidate. This session will include a workshop feel to get the participant involved to fine tune their interviewing skills and techniques. We will discuss how government has set some precedents, how to avoid discriminatory hiring and what are some questions to eliminate now from your process. Additionally, to make each participant the best interviewer they can be, we will brainstorm and explore some examples of Behavioral event questions to better predict the future performance of a potential hire.



3:30 – 5:00pm

Education Sessions


Engaging the Latino Community

Carlos Ocasio

This session will provide participants, especially new recreation workers and students in the recreation field, with opportunities to learn and create new programs to engage and teach the Latino community about health and wellness and fun activities through recreation. The session will also teach how to approach and engage children, parents and adults in one program, targeting all ages. Step-by-step templates of successful programs will be provided taking into consideration the three pillars.


The Power of an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Lori A. Hoffner

What was your path into the parks and recreation field? Was it a chosen profession or did the profession choose you? The question is; do your actions, your leadership and your agency reflect who you are? No matter what struggles you have in your industry, you have the power to make a difference…in your life and in the life of those that you serve. How you do that will be the challenge. The choices that you make, the activities that you engage in and your leadership style tells everyone around you what you believe about yourself and your role as a parks and recreation professional.


Coming in First with Race Management

Carolyn Ryan; Robbin Oden

Coming in First with Race Management Are you looking to organize your first 5K? Do you want to spice up your existing walk/run program? Do you wish you had all the guidelines for putting on a successful race available in one place? Join us for this fun and informative session on Race Management. Overseeing a race can be a daunting task, but with the right tools, it can be as fulfilling for you as it is for your racers! In this session, participants will learn to: · Identify Goals and Objectives for the Race · Obtain Necessary Permits · Organize Registration, Refreshments, Aid Stations, and Finish Line · Coordinate Staff and Volunteers · Compile the Equipment and Supplies · Mark the Course · Identify Safety Considerations Let us help you warm up, stay the course, and cool down with the perfect tools to help make your walk/run a success!


Making Down-Time Fun-Time at Camp

Jed Buck; Roz Buck

How do you make every minute of the camp day a unique & special part of the experience? We will explore the different times in the camp day when staff can easily transition down-time into fun-time using creative games, activities, songs, dances and more. Come play with us during this exciting & interactive session . . . then bring the fun back to your Camp to help make the summer of 2018 exceptional.


Image, Identity & Implementation

Kirsten Barnes

With decreasing budgets and increased revenue expectations, marketing facilities and

programs effectively is a must. From creating a timeless logo to building your image, this session will

provide you with valuable information to position yourself above the competition.


ADA Access: Reasonable Accommodations Beyond the Physical and Structural - Program Access

Susan Potts

This session will provide an overview of making reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities beyond the physical access accommodation. Strategies to address behaviors, communication and use of universal design will be shared and discussed. Staff training topics and examples will be shared with participants. Participants will gain understanding on how to identify precipitating factors for behavior, steps to reducing environmental factors that can contribute to behavior, and approaches to designing programs that are universal for all users. Behavior management strategies may include sensory stimulation, program structure and routine, and communication challenges.


5:15 – 6:15pm

Branch Meetings

Recreation & Leisure Services

Park & Resource Conservation

Therapeutic Recreation

The 2018-2019 branch officers will be installed


8:15 pm

Donald Long Memorial Duck Race


The annual Duck Race to support the RALS Branch will be held at the Princess Royale Pool prior to the Wednesday night social. Adoptions are limited, so look for your friendly duck vendor early in the week.



9:00pm – 1:00am                  

All Conference Social and Silent Auction

Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by Six Flags America




Thursday, April 12

8:30am - 12:30pm

Registration Open



Coffee Break

Education Session Hallways


9:00 – 10:30am

Education Sessions


The Bully King

Bruce Babashen (SALT)

How a single bullying incident shaped Bruce’s life in ways not even he would understand for some forty years. A beautiful, amazing, and poignant true story about a bullying incident Bruce observed when he was just ten years old and how that incident shaped his life in ways he would not fully comprehend for nearly four decades. This is a powerful speech not soon to be forgotten and one Bruce gives upon special request due to the emotional nature of its content to him.


Large or Small, How Natural Grass Field Renovations Can Be Impactful With Any Budget

Jared Minnick

When the subject of natural grass field renovation comes up, it will make many Parks planning and budget personnel cringe. Standing negative perceptions about field renovations focus on the long length of time a field has to be closed, advance to the complexity of renovations, and close out with the high cost of the renovation work. All of these perceptions are now outdated and false. The possibilities for improving natural grass fields are many. This program will work through these perceptions and lead participants into a new world of improving natural grass fields in a short period of time with limited resources. Technology and innovation provide new options and approaches for renovation to reduce or eliminate rainouts, improve field safety, or even reduce required field maintenance. These specific options and approaches for renovation will be examined, as many different options exist. Because no renovation program is possibly without proper planning and preparation, so this program will also work through planning and budgeting for field renovations. Participants will walk away with a better understand of the wide range of options that existing for improving grass fields and with excitement about implementing those options!


D-Grunts, GoMos and Other Underperformers: Coach Them Up or Coach Them Out

Kirsten Barnes

We all have them: team members who are DisGRUNTled or just GOing through MOtions

(D-Grunts and GoMos). Using practical advice from human resources professionals, we’ll discuss how

we can “coach them up” to improve their performance or “coach them out” to improve our overall team



Exciting and Impactful Activities to Maximize Staff Orientation

Jed Buck; Roz Buck

“To hear is to forget, to see is to remember, to do is to learn.” We will demonstrate a variety of experiential activities that can be used throughout orientation to maximize staff learning and retention and create an exceptional staff orientation. From opening ice breakers to closing thought provokers and everything in between, we will cover a wide variety of activities to help improve the effectiveness of staff orientation.


Building a Network for Success: Internships to Mentorship to Networking

Roberto Ramos

Liberate your social butterfly to develop professional relationships that will help you advance in your career. College students and new professionals will get an introduction to internship opportunities, networking, learning how to develop a network mindset, cultivate through mentorships, negate common myths, and make a lasting first impression. Attendees will learn ways to work through the anxieties associated with mentorships and networking and start conversations with seasoned professionals in the room.


Creating and Ensuring a Relevant Parks & Recreation Agency

Chris Nunes

10:45 – 11:45am

Education Sessions


Solutions for Lighting

Scott Peitz; Stephen Baker

Introducing LED capabilities to the world of Sports Lighting and how technology impacts playability


Spray Play for All: Designing Inclusive Spray Grounds and Splash Parks

Bill Hachmeister

Communities across the country are adding spray and splash parks as one of the most highly requested and utilized recreation amenities.  How can these be universally designed to be inclusive for people of all ages and abilities to participate easily? This session will examine the best practice recommendations for creating spray parks that are fun and functional for all people. Truly inclusive spray play for people with and without disabilities, children, parents, and grandparents alike.


Leadership Principles of Atilla the Hun

Joe O'Neill

Leadership Secrets of Attila The Hun: Leadership trainings generally use esteemed figures to show success in the business world. Attila is generally thought of as a barbaric character but using this story to examine leadership principals that are applicable in today’s world is an effective means of demonstrating these concepts. The Huns were a loose knit group of tribes that we brought together through consensus building and the formation of a common vision.


Beyond the Park Boundary - Integrating the Community into the Community

Tom Donlin; Adam Bossi

A key to a successful and thriving organization which enjoys support throughout the environment in which it operates is the level of the agency’s integration into the community. The agency that extends it’s reach beyond traditional boundaries and embraces partnerships, cooperatives and, where appropriate, competition will be well positioned to be a vital service.


Teaching Life Skills Through Sports

Joel Fish

"Do sports really build character?" Sports, fitness, recreation, and exercise can be a vehicle to learn important life skills. A healthy body is definitely related to a healthy mind. This seminar will focus on how to structure sports experiences to maximize positive self-esteem, self-confidence, teamwork, goal setting, and self-discipline.


DIY: Owning your own Strategic Plan

Chris Nunes

Identify elements of a strategic plan;  Identify strategies to obtain public and staff input and develop proactive strategies to create plans that have meaningful impact on the agency, division and/or programs


12:00 – 1:15pm

All Conference Lunch



1:30 – 3:00pm

Education Sessions


Leadership Institute “Poster Session”

Come enjoy as the 2017-18 Leadership Institiute share their final presentation.

The Importance of Maintaining Work/Life Balance for Yourself and Your Organization

The Gallup State of the American Workplace 2017 survey found that 53 percent of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them. We think it should be important to you too! Trying to achieve a balance between work, home, and other activities (work-life balance) is difficult but doable and plays an important role in keeping your organization and staff happy, healthy, and effective. Discover the meaning, the important benefits and how to maintain a successful work-life balance for you, your employees and your agency, and how we as leaders can work effectively to achieve that balance! 

The Balancing Act Group Members:

·         Richard Campbell II, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County                

·         Henry Coppola, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks, Montgomery County  

·         Leigh Ann Eckenrode, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County                                                    

·         Noelia Serrano Gonzalez, City of Rockville, Department of Parks and Recreation      


The Divide Among Us: Leadership for the Future

Being a strong and effective leader in the workforce can be challenging and it is only further complicated by “the divide among us.”  The current workforce is made up of four to five different generations working together for the first time; facing challenges, obstacles and innovations with different approaches, preferred modes of communication, and ideologies of the work/life balance to name a few. Explore these topics and gain knowledge of how to successfully “fill the divide” in leading a stronger workforce.

Silver 495 Group Members:  

·         Megan Evans, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks, Montgomery County                                      

·         Todd Johnson, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County                                           

·         Melissa Wyman, Potomac Community Resources, Inc.                                     

·         Sydney Zintchem, City of Gaithersburg Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture                         


Agency Roles in Emergency Operations and Incident Command

All Recreation and Parks agencies should have an emergency plan in place including effective communication tools and protocol to promote safe park operations. In this session, discover how to develop an accurate system by activating protocols, developing resource allocations, providing incident command training, and educating appropriate staff. This session will also highlight specific scenarios, discuss weather related trends, FEMA record tracking, and site preparedness.

Northeast Crew Members:

·         DeVon Brown, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks                           

·         Chris Clem, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks, Montgomery County                                                

·         Tim Getz, Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation                                                     

·         Todd Holmes, Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks                                           


Waterfront Access and the ADA

Are your citizens all “IN”cluded especially when it comes to your waterfront properties? Explore accessibility and determine if you are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities (ADA). Review the law, its requirements and how the needs of the disability community can best be met for those utilizing our parks. We will use Ocean City, Maryland as a case study and success story for accessible beach access in Maryland.

50 East Members:

·         Melissa Acuti, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Park Service

·         Chris Clarke, Town of Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department                                             

·         Ockeem Ellis, Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks                                 

·         La Keisha Simmons, City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department


Programming for the WHOLE Community: “Connecting the Dots”

Connecting the dots by bridging silos and forging effective partnerships, makes a clear path for successful programming that benefits the whole community. In this session, we will define the communities we serve, how we are currently serving them through common recreation and parks practices and how we can implement collaborative programming to boost innovation while identifying and utilizing community resources without duplicating efforts. As professionals, you can discover and utilize these same practices in your own agencies!

Team 360 Members:                                                            

·         Amanda DeFilippo, Montgomery County Recreation Department

·         Amy Riley, City of Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Division                                      

·         Carrie Sprinkle, Frederick County Parks and Recreation                                        

·         Derrick Thompson, City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks             


ParkRx: A Business Process for Collecting and Validating Data

Erica Castellon; Michael Snyder

ParkRx is the new initiative that enables your doctor to prescribe physical activity in parks to help with many different health problems. Outdoor activity improves both mental and physical well-being more than indoor activity. Spending time in nature is associated with better cognitive development in schoolchildren. The closer we are to green space, the less we suffer from many diseases. Spending more time in parks translates to being more physically active. Collecting and validating the data and pictures that goes in ParkRx is a process that can reflect positively or negatively on your park district. We discuss how to get the job done!


Leading "The Way" for your Team: Creating Culture in Your Department

Kirsten Barnes

Whether it’s the Disney Way, the Cardinal Way, the Army Way or even how they do it at the

Ritz Carlton, organizations across the country can be great examples of how to establish, embed and

engage a way of thinking and execution that can make your department and programs shine. Using

some of the best-known organizations in the country, discuss how you can build a culture that focuses on the things you think are most important like safety, customer experience and guest retention.


safeTALK; Suicide Alertness Training

Lori A. Hoffner

In every age group that an organization provides services for, there is someone identified in a high risk group for suicide. Because suicide affects every community, this workshop allows any and every individual to become a suicide alert helper. As a Master safeTALK trainer with Living Works, Inc. Lori will provide for participants a meaningful and useful training that will give them to the tools to become competent and confident in helping to create suicide-safer communities. safeTALK is for everyone in the community and is designed to ensure that persons with thoughts of suicide are connected to helpers who are prepared to provide first aid interventions.


Making an Impact: Find Your WHY to make a change

Patrick “Sarge” Avon

Learn how to first find your purpose… your "why" and then you can start making an IMPACT. A bold and energetic presentation where you will dig deep into your soul and start with yourself. Discover your purpose and create an action plan on how to take steps to make a brighter future. Sarge shares a story on working with a teen who came to him in a wheelchair unable to walk who now walks. Be prepared to use some Kleenex and be prepared to make an immediate IMPACT.


Interviewing for Professionals: Your Path to Success

Nicholas S. Johnson; Edwin Rivera

This session will offer college students and young professionals a comprehensive approach to preparing for and executing a successful interview. Students will learn about essential interview preparedness and practice new skills, while avoiding common pitfalls and gain valuable feedback on their interviewing abilities. In addition, students will develop their own “60-Second Pitch” to better market themselves. It takes hard work and measured preparation to set yourself above the rest; this session will provide the tools you'll need to get started.



3:15 – 4:15pm

Education Sessions


Miss Utility: Internal and external utility marking in a CMMS for safety and continuity

LaToya Austin; Gregory Angus

See how you can use a CMMS to track the efforts required to mark utilities prior to digging, a regulation enforced in most states. Using work orders, activities, checklists, and inboxes, the progress of marking can be assigned and tracked for both external utilities and those laid by internal staff or contractors and not marked by utility companies. Presented by Maryland National Capitol Planning & Parks Commission.


Helping Teens Understand the Value of Leadership

Lori A. Hoffner

Leadership begins with personal insight, a movement toward and a commitment to continuous improvement of yourself. If your organization has teens in leadership roles through employment or advisory boards, Lori will guide participants to create teen leadership training inspiring teamwork, productivity and positive communication. Participants will be able to demonstrate how teen leadership thrives when young people knows who they are, who the adults are supporting them and how to embrace what they stand for.


Staff Appreciation that WORKS

Roberto Ramos

As both leaders and managers, we strive to motivate our staff to be the best they can be. Current understanding of motivation can be both fascinating and counter-intuitive. This workshop will offer new ideas grounded in the science of motivation, discussed in the context of what we are currently doing at our jobs to appreciate and motivate our staff. Come prepared to reflect on your current strategies and techniques, to share ideas, and plan improvements for your team. You will leave with actionable goals and a game plan to get your team moving!


Bring Them to the Edge, Then Push Them Off

Bruce Babashen (SALT)

Understand how work leads to belief and that winning programs are not the result of luck or circumstance but rather the offspring of intention, belief and expectation. Building a successful program requires more then talented people. In this program Bruce teaches the audience how to build repeatable results thru a winning culture of expectation. Whether a coach or in a new position at work, or the CEO the lessons Bruce teaches in will change how you go about leading your organization.


6:00 – 6:30pm

Cocktail Reception

6:30 – 9:00pm

Awards & Installation Dinner Banquet

Join us for the dinner banquet and the installation of our president and Association Officers, as well as honor Tim Chesnutt at his closing dinner. We will also be recognizing special accomplishments and contributions to the parks and recreation profession.


Recommended dress: coat and tie for gentlemen and appropriate dress for women.  


Seats must be reserved prior to the event.  Online sign-up is available until 3/30.

Use the link below to reserve your seat.  Additional seats at your table can be reserved with the email address of other guests. Everyone must have full conference package or have purchased a ticket to the banquet.


Sponsored by Musco







10:00pm – 2:00am

RALS Social



Cunningham Recreation

Custom Park Service

Dick's Sporting Goods

Kings Dominion


Six Flags America

Turf Equipment

Acclaimed Promotional Specialities


Hershey Park





Sports Tourism & Facility Maintenance Information



Princess Royale Hotel  Ocean City, MD



Hotel Information Page Link





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