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The Delegate's Guide to NRPA 2016: What to See & Do

The NRPA annual conference is one of the best parks and recreation conferences held in North America.


The conference is three days long and hosts more than 7,000 parks and recreation professionals, citizen advocates and industry suppliers, all sharing the message of wellbeing and community. With nearly 400 exhibitors, hundreds of education sessions and awesome opportunities for networking, this is a conference you can’t miss, if you’re serious about parks and recreation.


This year, the NRPA annual conference is being held in St. Louis, Missouri, and they’re set to have their best conference yet. Here we break down some of the top things you should see and do inside and outside of the NRPA annual conference.



New for 2016


If you’ve already been attending the NRPA annual conference, there are some great new aspects you can look forward to. They’ve boosted Learn to Lead — the leadership education track — which now has more sessions than any other track. Creativity workshops will work to get participants to think outside the box and get the creative juices flowing. Trojan Park — a revitalization project through NRPA’s Parks Build Community — will be unveiled during the conference. Additionally, the new Student Recreation Challenge will have teams competing in a trivia-heavy race through a St. Louis park.



Education Sessions


Education and learning are some of the most valuable parts of the NRPA annual conference experience. This year, they’re adding mobile workshops aimed to be more interactive and immersive. You’ll still have your general sessions and speed sessions — 20-minute lessons designed to energize and inspire — as well as research sessions, pre-conference workshops, creativity workshops, learning playground, glass room sessions and learning labs.


Off-site institutes will also take you for inspirational tours of St. Louis and all it has to offer. For more information, check out the NRPA annual conference 2016 session schedule.



Fun Conference Events


Get to know your fellow NRPA annual conference attendees. On Wednesday, there’s a golf tournament from 12 pm to 6 pm at The Courses at Forest Park; an entry fee of $100 gets you transportation, greens fees, cart fees, range balls, box lunch, on course beverages, light appetizers and more. On day 2 at 6:30 pm, the Best of the Best Awards Ceremony will “recognize the inspirational people and programs that remind us daily of the phenomenal work being done in the field.” Finally, on Friday, hit up Sunrise Yoga: a great way to start your day to get the most out of it.



Forest Park


Well you're in parks and rec and you’re in a different city for a parks and rec conference; it’s a no-brainer to check out some of St. Louis’s many beautiful parks. We’ve highlighted Forest Park due to its longevity, beauty and size. First opened in 1876, this 1,370-acre park played host to the 1904 World’s Fair. Now it sets a great example as an innovative park that offers a lot for its visitors.



Brewery Tours


In the evenings, when you’re not at NRPA annual conference after-parties and minglers, why not check out the local brewery scene. St. Louis’s traditions and history of brewing are pretty magnificent and you can definitely sign up for many brewery tours that will educate and entertain. Just don’t overdo it; you don’t want to be hung over for all the wonderful NRPA annual conference festivities and education sessions.


Check out the NRPA Annual Conference 2016, for more info on this year’s huge conference. We’ll be attending this year, once again! Come say hello: we usually have terrific prizes to give away, like iPads or Apple TVs. Learn more about our recreation management software here.


What are you most looking forward to at this year’s NRPA annual conference? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.



PerfectMind is an industry-leading member management and facility booking software provider. Its robust Platform as a Service (PaaS) serves organizations of all sizes in parks & recreation, health & wellness, fitness, and education sectors. With over 5,000 customers in 21 countries, PerfectMind streamlines business processes so organizations can focus on supporting and growing their communities.

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