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Pre-Conference Brochure
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April 14 – 16, 2015

Connecting the Dots

Carousel Hotel, Ocean City, MD

 Use this legend to easily identify the courses in your field of interest.


Tuesday, April 14

10:00 am

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 Pin, Longest Drives, and awards for the top three teams. The $80 per player entry fee includes green fee, cart, prizes, luncheon, and beverages.  For further information, contact Phil Bryan at 410-313-1668 or The tournament is sponsored by:

and Photography.


3:30 pm

MRPA TR Branch Mini Golf Tournament

Old Pro Golf, 136th Street

Entry Fee: $15 person/round - pay/register at the event

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


6:30 – 7:00 pm

Opening Reception


Come and network with your colleagues or seek out someone you don’t know and make a new connection as we get ready to open the 2015 conference.  A cash bar will be available.


7:00 – 8:30 pm

Keynote Speaker

Power and Potential of Recreation and Parks/Leading the Heart of the Community Part 1

Maryland & Virginia Rooms



Humanitarian, Business Leader, Award Winning Social Innovator; these are some of the words that are often used when referring to Ian Hill. Whether running a multi-million dollar business operation with over 1000 employees, or spearheading first of their kind life-changing community projects, Ian Hill has been recognized for being a catalyst for positive change throughout the Globe.


In 2002, Ian's passion for the improvement of others led to the founding of The Changing Point. Everyone at The Changing Point is committed to our vision and mission, and we live them out through our four prong Changing Point strategy.

Join us in April at our Annual MRPA Conference in Ocean City, Maryland to hear Ian Hill present our Keynote Addresses and breakout session’s during the conference.


8:30 – 10:30pm

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening


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.


10:30 pm – 12:00am

After Hours Exhibit Party

Bamboo Lounge



Tuesday, April 14th – Thursday, April 16th

18th Annual MRPA Agency Showcase



The MRPA Agency showcase provides the opportunity for Maryland Recreation and Parks Agencies to showcase their talent, share ideas and recognize the best marketing and promotions materials in the state. There will be eight different categories in each of the three population sections. Entries will be judged by public relations, artists and marketing professionals (non MRPA members) prior to the conference.


For an entry form, visit


Winning entries will be displayed and awards will be presented during the conference. All entries must be received prior to Tuesday, February 11, 2015 to be considered. For more information, contact Carolyn Ryan at  Winning entries will be displayed and awards will be presented during at the Showcase Awards Breakfast on Thursday, April 16, 2015.



Wednesday, April 15

7:00  - 8:00am


Delaware Room


8:00 – 9:00am

Past President and Director’s Breakfast

Seasons C

This is a great opportunity for agency directors and past presidents of MRPA who return to the 2015 conference to share issues and activities that are affecting the parks and recreation field.

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Ian Hill, President of IGNNK, Inc.

Keynote/General Session

Power and Potential of Recreation and Parks/Leading the Heart of the Community Part 2

Maryland and Virginia Rooms


10:15 AM – 11:30 AM

Continental Breakfast, Exhibit Hall



11:30 AM – 12:30 PM


Ageless Grace  

Karen G. Haseley, Therapeutic Recreation Supervisor, City of Greenbelt

A fitness and wellness program consisting of 21 simple exercise tools designed for all ages and abilities. Session will introduce people to Ageless Grace and encourage them to practice it for ten minutes every day to improve fitness.


The Business of Socializing…On Social Media

Kira Calm Lewis, PMP, Media Relations Manager, M-NCPPC-Prince George’s County

Guidelines for representing your department through social media outlets or participating in social media features on websites including, maintaining a high level of ethical conduct and professional decorum. Presenting Information following professional standards for good grammar, spelling, brevity, clarity and accuracy, and avoiding obscure terminology.


Playground Safety- Relevant to Today 

Jeff Barber, CPSI, President, Playground Specialists Inc.

This playground safety presentation will give straightforward information about the most common risks/hazards associated with deaths and injuries on playgrounds. The information provided will educate participants on the statistics regarding the type, severity and cause of playground injuries. Participants will walk away with valuable tips to maintain an accessible, inclusive and safe playground environment, a clear understanding of what they should look for on their playgrounds and what actions can be taken to prevent injuries as well as give the valuable tips to maintain a safe playground environment that is accessible and inclusive.


How to Access Free Meals for Out of School Time Programs

Tiffany Haynes, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry MD Hunger Solutions

Nicete Moodie, Nutrition Outreach Coordinator Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry MD Hunger Solutions

The free At-Risk After-school Meals Program and free summer meals program are available in each county in Maryland. These programs offer free, nutritious meals to community sites and schools in qualified areas. Recreation and Parks programs are a natural fit to take advantage of these childhood nutrition programs. Programs are matched to a sponsor who takes care of the financial aspect and food delivery to the sites.


I Don't Need Statistics!  I Work in Parks and Recreation

Shanon Keheler, CPRE, MBA, AFA, Recreation Manager, City of Gainsville

The ability to understand basic statistical concepts which are critical for data driven decision making has increased as the economy has declined.  Many agencies have suffered budget cuts and reductions in FTEs.  Some have even suffered the loss of entire departments.  As the competition for funding has increased the need for the collection and use of data has become increasingly important.  While it once may have been sufficient to stand in front of the City Commission, explain how wonderful parks and recreation programs make everyone feel, and receive funding, this is no longer the case.

The Final 4 of Running a Successful Coaches' Training Program  

Georgette Shalhoup & Dr. Alan K. Sokoloff

The Final 4 of Running a Successful Coaches' Training Program will provide effective ways to enhance your coaches' skills clinic.  How to surround yourself with "qualified" speakers to address the relevant information to your coaches.  National trends are changing every day.  Having a program that coaches want to attend, not just have to attend, is essential for maintaining, if not growing today’s youth sports programs.  While sport specific training is still essential, tackling topics that affect boys and girls in all sports addressing injury prevention is front and center in today’s news.  Implementing the processes, procedures, hot topics and speakers can assure your organization's success, which will create a safer environment for coaches, parents, and kids.  

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

All Conference Exhibitor’s Luncheon and Dessert

Lunch will be served in the Pennsylvania Room.

Sponsored by Busch Gardens





Dessert will be served in the Atrium with the exhibitors.

Sponsored by Hershey Park



Remember to drop your pre-printed drawing entry in the roving box for a chance to win some great prizes!

Silent Auction Baskets

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


2:00 PM – 3:30 PM


Leadership in Changing Times

Ian Hill, President of IGNNK, Inc.

Keynote/General Session

Designed specifically for those who lead in the Public sector, this workshop touches the hearts and minds of some of the most important people in our communities, leaders of public employees.


Fertilizer: Changing Times, Changing Laws, Are you Prepared?

Dr. Jo A. Mercer, Certification and Licensing Coordinator, Maryland Deptment of Agriculture, Cliff Driver Sports Turf Manager Mid-Atlantic Turf, Inc.

All recreation and park facilities in Maryland are subject to the new fertilizer law and are required to follow application guidelines and new record keeping requirements. Participants will receive an overview of the new law and how it applies to their agencies. Topics include approved labs, how to pull a soil sample, how to read and understand the results and converting information into Maryland FIV values. Fertilizer calculations and unit management measurements to ensure applications are in compliance will be discussed, along with record keeping requirements, including turf type, facility locations, and applicators' information.


User Groups - “Are They Putting You at Risk?”

Chris Goodman, Executive Director, SSCI, Inc.

Do you issue facility use permits? Are you concerned about keeping known “high risk” individuals from gaining access to children on public facilities under your control? Learn to uncover pitfalls of existing policies and how to put policies in place to keep public agencies protected from substandard background screening procedures.


Staff Communication: Control, Filters and Perception

Lori Hoffner, Professional Speaker, Trainer and Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

The way you communicate greatly influences the outcome of a conversation. What you say and when and how you say it determines the conversation’s success or failure. Our communication is continually influenced by individual filters. Those filers are established by many different factors, one of the most prevalent these days is the generational filter, developed in the process of socialization and experiences. These filters crucially affect communication and interaction. We will discuss multiple communication models, helping you "connect the dots" to determine what will be the most successful approach for you and your staff.

STEMify your After School/ Summer Programs

Sarah Brandt, STEM Program Coordinator | Americorps V.I.S.T.A. The Maryland Out of School Time Network , Brodrick Clarke, Quality Advisor, Md. Out of School Time Network

There is a lot of excitement and talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). However, many program providers are wondering, "What does it really mean to implement STEM in after school and summer settings?" This session will provide a sample hands-on STEM experience along with practice in facilitating STEM inquiry. The session will also provide tools and resources for selecting curricula, program planning and evaluation that can fit any budget.


"Leading Optimistically."

Jeff Price, CEO, Resources to Help

Optimism is something we are not born with; it is something we must cultivate. Rigorous research has been conducted into optimism and the impact it has on our work, the teams we work with, and the teams we lead. We will look at case studies involving the business world and professional athletes as it relates to optimism and performance. The results may surprise you! We’ll analyze a proven process how each of us can become more optimistic and more productive.

3:45 PM – 5:15 PM


Becoming a Community Builder

Ian Hill, President of IGNNK, Inc.

Keynote/General Session

This educational session will be discussing leading edge strategies and concepts for building community capacity, as well as a practical real world case study of a specific grass roots project that went from and idea to the first of its kind in the Untied States.


Would you like to Supersize that?"

Jeff Price, CEO, Resources to Help

Corporation are making billions of dollars from the marketing and sales techniques of upselling, cross-selling, and bundling. Are there opportunities for these strategies to be implemented in the parks and recreation industry? Yes! In this session you will learn how to increase non-general fund revenue while also improving the customer service experience. You'll learn about a parks agency breaking revenue records by implementing these tactics. Join us, won't you?



disABILITY Characteristics/Person First Language and Sensitivity Awareness  

Kryss Lacavaro, TR Specialist, Montgomery Co. Recreation

This session includes the following interactive activities:  Experience a disABILITY, Mirror Maze Challenge, and the Ten Commandments of interacting with people with disABILITIES,  There is also a power-point that contains more in depth information such as: training relevancy, disABILITY facts, 9 famous people (how they didn't let their disABILITYs stop them), a brief video, and how the information provided in the training relates and is important for everyone especially because having a disABILITY is the ONLY group that ANYONE can join at any time.


Character Matters! Values and Virtues

Brodrick Clarke, Quality Adviser, Maryland Out of School Time Network

We are in the relationship business. It is up to each individual to ensure that they conduct themselves in a way that promotes virtuous behavior and great moral character. In this session participants will explore their essential virtues and discuss how to identify, celebrate, and practice virtuous behaviors. Participants will select three virtues that they wish to explore in greater depth. By identifying the attitudes and behaviors associated with each virtue, participants will connect how these virtues influence the quality of their individual and team performance. Additionally, participants will discuss meaningful ways to operationalize virtues as part of a broader continuous quality improvement initiative.


Has Your Cheese Moved Lately? Conquering Change Using Effective Communication

Shannon Keheler, CPRE, MBA, AFO, Recreation Manager, City of Gainsville

Research has proven that most people are adverse to change.  They fail to see the importance of it and don’t view it as an opportunity.  They view it as a problem.  Additionally, most supervisors assume that communication is fine.  They are well-informed and often blame the employees for not taking the initiative to gather available information.  They are often angry at the “grapevines” and fail to understand the value of the formal and informal networks that exist within their structure. The need for more effective communication and for the staff to be more accepting of and better prepared for change was discovered through an employee survey administered by the City approximately 2 years ago.  Employees cited a lack of trust, poor communication, and no opportunities for advancement as barriers to improvement.

"Hey Coach": Positive, Practical Ways to work with Coaches, Players and Parents

Lori Hoffner, Professional Speaker, Trainer and Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

This program will give your youth sports staff and the volunteer coaches they work with practical tools and techniques to work with those challenging and vocal parents while also giving the young athletes a positive and memorable experience.


5:45 PM – 6:45 PM

Branch Meetings

Recreation & Leisure Services

Park & Resource Conservation

Therapeutic Recreation

The 2015-2016 officers will be inducted


7:00 - 8:00pm

Young Professionals Meet and Greet

Bamboo Room

Young professional attendees (and new professionals) are invited to join President-Elect Michele Potter (and the membership committee) in the Bamboo Lounge for a meet and greet.


8:15 pm

Donald Long Memorial Duck Race


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


9:00 – 1:00 am                   

All Conference Social and Silent Auction

Pennsylvania Room

 Sponsored by SixFlags America




Thursday, April 16

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Showcase Awards Brunch & MRPA General Membership Meeting

Pennsylvania Room

Join us for breakfast, the MRPA general membership meeting and the Showcase Awards, which recognize some of the best marketing and promotion materials in the state.


10:45 AM – 12:15 PM


The Better Business Model

Jeff Price, CEO, Resources to Help

Let's face it, as park professionals we are faced with reduced general fund support for programs and services. There must be alternative methods to improve the bottom line through non-general fund means, while also improving the customer experience. This session will provide insight into research-based practices that have been proven to be effective. Incentivized instructor contracts, donation programs, business planning, social norm marketing, and much more will be delved into in the fast-paced interactive session.


New Trends in Risk Management .... What’s New in Risk Management

Robert B. Kauffman, Professor, Frostburg State University

In recreation and parks, safety is about accident prevention. Based on a new integrated approach to risk management in the recreation and parks field, this session discusses the integration of negligence, accident prevention, risk management, and emergency action plans to reduce and prevent injury, damage, or loss. If you are a leader or educator unfamiliar with barrier analysis, energy flow, MORT, or how accidents occur, this session is for you. The session provides both theoretical and hands-on skills.


Caught You Being Good:  Prevention and Management of Inappropriate Behaviors

Kryss Lacavaro, TR Specialist, Montgomery Co. Recreation

This training includes supplemental interactive activities, discussions and videos that reinforce behavior management lessons.  A power point serves as the backdrop and a visual emphasis on the topics discussed.  Topics include, but are not limited to, examples and discussion on how to ensure proactive programs, tools to set up preventive environments at programs, different reinforcements and the behaviors they encourage, the importance of specific praise, the best way to establish expectations, a variety of transition techniques, and more.  The culminating activity includes discussion, questions, and sharing with the group one thing they will take away from the training.


Purposed Based Recognition; Recognizing, Rewarding and Retaining Staff

Lori Hoffner, Professional Speaker, Trainer and Consultant, Supporting CommUnity, Inc.

Through large group discussion, participants will explore personal objectives and identify the perceived wants of employees.  Additionally, through visual aid and lecture, the group will define the ‘accelerant’ that staff recognition programs on the overall positive effects of business. By implementing a purposed based recognition program you reduce turnover, gain buy-in of your organization by employees, and will start "connecting the dots" of support and enthusiasm. 

Injury Prevention and Concussion Management

Dr. Jay Greenstein, CEO Sport and Spine Rehab

Head impacts and concussions caused by contact sports are a quickly growing epidemic among young athletes. This session is to help the audience understand the most evidence-based approaches to concussion/injury prevention. Understanding How Athletes Get Injured. What Are the Real Causes Behind Injuries? Concussion Action Steps for Education and Awareness will be discussed.

Connecting Oneself to Nature and Art through Painting

Ariadne Gejevski, Artist, Teacher, Muralist  AriadnART

This hands-on workshop will have participants involve themselves in breaking the barriers of fear of trying something new.  with every brush stroke, we will paint a sunset on 11x14 canvas while hearing case histories, anecdotes and skills as well as techniques each can apply in their respective professions.  Professionals will walk away with an understanding of how art can be applied in integrating school subjects such as biology, math, literature and more.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM



Refreshment Break



1:45 PM – 2:45 PM


Bringing the Universe to Your Community

Tania Anderson, Manager, Youth for Astronomy & Engineering Program, Space Telescope Science Institute

This workshop will feature an overview and demonstration of programs and resources available from the Space Telescope Science Institute that can be used to support programs in space science and STEM. For students, there are opportunities to explore STEM concepts, careers and more, by attending one of several events hosted through our Youth for Astronomy and Engineering (YAE) program. The YAE program seeks to promote awareness of career opportunities in STEM through forums, astronomy and engineering clubs, and family events. Join us to learn more about these resources and opportunities, how they can be used to support your program, and how to connect with us.


Understanding the Influence of Park Design on Health and Well-Being

Denise Husband, Bayshore Recreation Planner, Delaware Office of Natural Resources

Building on NRPA’s leadership role in health and wellness, this session will reveal a practical, memorable, and innovative model for reinforcing the role of parks and their design in improving public health and well-being. While there is much research available relating to the role that nature plays in creating that impact, there is also much to be learned about the role that proper planning and design contributes to this concept. Based on groundbreaking research, the presenter will demonstrate the vital impacts that nature and the built environment (in particular parks, trails and open spaces) have on health and well-being. The presentation supports the 2012 UNESCO Declaration on landscape which “affirmed the importance of safeguarding and improving landscapes” for, among other things, “the quality of daily life and cultural identity and enhanced well-being.” Utilizing well known park examples.


When Disaster Strikes- Get Ready Get Safe

Sarah Thompson, Associate Director, US Programs

Our parks and recreation facilities are a lifeline to the wellbeing of our communities-particularly for children. When disaster strikes, we're are often the first on the ground meeting their needs and facilitating recovery through our programs. Yet less than half of American families have an emergency plan. Join this session to learn how we can prepare our staff and community so that when disaster strikes, families will be ready and children will be safe, including tips for serving children during and after a disaster. Also learn about key resources like the Prep Rally program, a free preparedness curriculum created by Save the Children, as well as training opportunities for staff and volunteers. Together, we can save children's lives.


Unengaged Employees?  The Power of Play in the Workplace

Shannon Keheler, CPRE, MBA, AFO Recreation Manager, City of Gainsville

As budgets continue to shrink, FTEs are reduced and the workload of employees continues to increase, the ability to create an environment where employees enjoy working and feel valued is becoming more critical.  One way to do this is by introducing play into the workplace.  Play helps create social connections, decreases feelings of alienation, offers the opportunity to form new relationships with individuals, boosts creativity and innovation, and decreases stress levels, which leads to less illness and fewer sick days. 


Signs and Challenges of Social Isolation and the Elderly
Beth Albaneze CTRS CPRP and Dr. Alexis McKenzie

Older Adults may be at the highest risk for becoming socially isolated during the period after a spouse has passed away or if they have had a medical and/or mental health crisis. Often a move to a more restricted environment creates depression and isolation due to family and friends not visiting frequently.


Ten Steps to Successful Sponsorships

Nancy Pfeffer, Facility Director, M-NCPPC-Prince George’s County

Large scale corporations and local businesses in your community are looking for ways to build their business. Companies are interested in aligning with your event to reach new audiences and use advertising dollars in a creative way. Businesses aligning with your organization can help bring their products and services to local audiences while providing needed resources to support an event or program. This session will include discussions on the benefits of partnerships, in-kind donations, cash sponsorship's, bundling sponsorship opportunities and long-term relationships with corporate sponsors. Small group discussions will focus on case studies illustrating various methods for matching corporate sponsors to a variety of community events and programs


3:00 PM – 4:30 PM


Synthetic Turf - What we have learned about these systems

Ryan Teeter, President, LDD Sports

Establish understanding of important aspects of synthetic turf design, construction and maintenance. Attendees will be educated about synthetic turf fiber and infill systems, the most important and often overlooked synthetic turf drainage systems, and synthetic turf maintenance. Attendees will also learn about synthetic turf testing and alternative products for infill and shock pads.



It’s a Jungle Out There! Managing Plants and Trees in your Park.

Shannon Davis, Head Park Ranger, Robert E. Lee Park, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks

Winny Tan, Director of Oregon Ridge Nature Center, Baltimore County Recreation and Parks

What are the mysterious plants growing in your park and what should you do with them? Learn to identify common native trees and invasive plants in this fun, interactive session. Explore ways to contain and control the growth of invasive plants at your site. This session will help you answer visitor questions about trees and find the right place for planting projects, while increasing wildlife and aesthetic values.


Television and Recreation?!  What?!

Tina Shupp, Recreation Programmer, Carroll County Recreation and Parks

Take what people watch on TV and use it in your program ideas! Minute to Win It, Jeopardy, Survivor, Fear Factor and Chopped are just a few examples of program possibilities.


Critical Incident Stress Management for Recreation and Park Professionals

Richard Barton, Chief Executive Officer, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

Participants will learn the causes of critical incident stress that occurs in the recreation and park workplace setting. People get hurt, guilt results, and underlying stress wears at the soul of witnesses, victims, and anyone involved. The program helps the participant recognize the short term and long term effects of incident stress that remains unaddressed. The first 1/3 of the program identifies the issues and the resulting deterioration of the employee's mental health, their production as an employee, and their overall quality of life. The next portion of the program helps the participant identify strategies that prevent and combat incident-based and trauma-based stress. The focus is upon a peer-based model developed by the creators of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and delivered via the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation that functions as an Educational Foundation. This section of the program includes an analysis of the model and how the participant can utilize the model for employee assistance. The final 1/3 of the program helps the participant learn how to develop a plan to create a peer-based CISM system or utilize existing systems already in place. The approach to the session will include case studies, invite participation in the building of solutions, and provide follow up activities that help each person learn more about the intricate model of peer-based critical incident stress support.


It’s Not Really About the Numbers

Karen Warnick, Budget Manager, M-NCPPC - Montgomery Parks

Darin Conforti, Deputy Director M-NCPPC - Prince George’s County

Budgeting: it’s not really about the numbers. This program will offer a different perspective on why we are toiling away in those spreadsheets and provide participants a framework of knowledge to go from being that person that crunches the number to being that person that is producing critical information to help your parks and recreation department strategically compete for resources and strategically deliver services.



Successes in Adaptive/Inclusive Programs

Wendy Scarborough, Recreation Supervisor, Anne Arundel Co., Dept. of Recreation and Parks

This workshop is a positive presentation of what can happen when staff, volunteers and participants are given opportunities to be successful.  We will look at several successful programs in AACO where all abilites come together for fun and positive experiences.  We will look at what makes a good program and discuss some of the barriers of inclusive programming and how we can overcome it.


6:00 – 6:30 pm

Cocktail Reception



6:30 – 9:00 pm

Dinner Banquet and Association Awards Ceremony


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

Sponsored by












10:00pm – 2:00 am


The Green Turtle


more Calendar

Spring Tour of National Arboretum

Field Renovation - Salisbury Salvation Army

Member Sponsors
Online Surveys


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