NRPA 2015 Annual Conference Details

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 9:25am
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NRPA 2015 Annual Conference

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Annual Conference is where more than 7,000 park and recreation professionals come each year to advance the field of community parks and recreation.  

What NRPA Conference attendees sayThis conference is the nation’s premier gathering for the field of parks and recreation, providing world-class networking combined with cutting-edge education and research sessions, inspirational speakers and experts, and the largest trade exposition in the field.

NRPA’s President and CEO offers this about the NRPA Annual Conference:

“This year we’re celebrating NRPA’s 50th Anniversary, making our Annual Conference the perfect place to reflect on how far parks and recreation has come and what we must do as we look toward the future, ” said NRPA President and CEO Barbara Tulipane. “Parks and recreation is primed to be a leader in solving the biggest issues facing us today and tomorrow such as health inequities, environmental threats and social inequality. This year’s attendees will not only be making an investment in themselves, but in the future health and wellbeing of their communities.” 

The Top 5 reasons to attend NRPA’s Annual Conference this year:

  • More than 250 educational opportunities and the return of the popular Speed Sessions
  • Nearly 400 exhibitors in the exhibit hall
  • World-class networking events including an exhibit hall reception, Neon 5K Fun Run and NRPA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
  • Pre-Conference Workshops and Off-Site Institutes
  • The return of the interactive Learning Labs and Learning Playground in the exhibit hall

2015 Highlights

Education Sessions

This year there are more than 250 education and learning opportunities through 11 educational tracks specifically tailored to parks and recreation. Some of this year’s top presenters include:

  • Keynote Speaker Gil Penalosa,  Founder and Chair of the Board, 8-80 Cities
  • Jon Yeo, Speaker Trainer, TedxMelbourne
  • Mark Hall-Patton, reappearing guest expert on “Pawn Stars” and Museum Administrator for Clark County Parks and Recreation
  • Tom Farrey, ESPN Behind the Lines award winning reporter and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute
  • John Crompton, Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University
  • Mickey Fearn, Professor of Practice, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University
  • Peggy O’Dell, Deputy Director, National Park Service
  • Barbara Heller, Director of Parks Planning, Sasaki Associates
  • Dr. Terry Clower, Northern Virginia Chair, Professor of Public Policy, Deputy Director of CRA, George Mason University

Tracks include:

  • Citizen/Advocacy
  • Employee/Volunteer Management
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Healthy Lifestyles
  • Leadership & Management
  • Planning, Design and Maintenance
  • Professional Development
  • Public Relations/Marketing
  • Recreation Programming
  • Revenue/Customer Service
  • Sports

For a complete list of education sessions, visit:

Speed Sessions

Thursday, Sep. 17, 9:30 a.m. and 10:10 a.m.

Speed Sessions are back for the 2015  NRPA Annual Conference. Speed Sessions are a series of quick, lively and innovative 20-minute sessions designed to energize and inspire conference attendees.

For a complete list of the 40 Speed Sessions, visit:

Opening General Session

Gil Penalosa - Keynote speaker at 2015 NRPA Annual ConferenceLocation:  Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center Ballroom
Tuesday, September 14
9 – 10:30 a.m.  

This year’s Opening General Session will feature Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of the Board of 8-80 Cities. Penalosa advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic or ethnic background. His focus is on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility.

The Opening General Session will also feature speeches from NRPA’s President and CEO Barbara Tulipane, guest performers and the 2015 Gold Medal Award ceremony.

Learn more about the Opening General Session here:

The Exhibit Hall

Location:   Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center
Exhibit Hall Hours:
Tuesday, Sep. 15: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Sep. 16: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

In addition to hosting the largest trade show in the industry, NRPA’s exhibit hall will host the most interactive and hands-on education sessions in our Learning Playground. Additionally, we will have Learning Labs in the exhibit hall where attendees can get meaningful face-time with our most engaging speakers following their sessions.

Exhibit Hall features:

  • NRPA Member Celebration Area
  • Exhibit Hall Reception
  • Interactive Learning
  • Nearly 400 exhibitors  

For more about exhibit hall activities, visit:    

The products and services of nearly 400 exhibitors will be on display. For detailed exhibitor information and floor plans, visit:    

Parks Build Community® Dedication

Location: Joe Kneip Park, 2800 Judson Ave, North Las Vegas, NV
Thursday, Sept. 17
10 a.m.

Parks Build CommunityParks Build Community® is an ongoing national initiative demonstrating the transformative value of parks and recreation on the health and vitality of communities across America. In 2015, NRPA is pleased to work with partners to complete a sixth Parks Build Community project in Las Vegas — Joe Kneip Park.

Established 50 years ago in 1965, the same year NRPA was founded, Joe Kneip Park has been well used, but in need of major renovations. Thanks to NRPA’s partners, the revitalized Joe Kneip Park will include a new playground, fitness zone, shade structures, soccer field, splash pad, restrooms and picnic area. The park will be dedicated on September 17, 2015 to the more than 4,000 nearby children and their families.

For more information on the Joe Kneip Parks Build Community Project, visit:

Other Education Opportunities and Networking Events

  • Pre-Conference Workshops and Off-Site Institutes: Sunday, Sep. 13, Monday Sep.14, and Thursday, Sep. 17; times and locations vary. More information is available at:
  • Best of the Best Ceremony: Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center, Thursday, Sep. 17, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Recognition will be given to the 2015 NRPA National Awards winners, scholars, fellows, CAPRA and COAPRT accreditations, Park Champions, Park of the Future winners, and certified park and recreation professionals.
  • Neon 5K Fun Run/Walk: Sunset Park, Las Vegas, Tuesday, Sep. 15, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunrise Yoga: Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center, Wednesday, Sep. 16, 6:30 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.

For more networking event information, visit:

Online Information

  • For detailed information on the 2015 NRPA Annual Conference and registration, visit:
  • Join the conversation about the NPRA Annual Conference on Twitter (@NRPA_News) and Instagram (@NRPA) by using #NRPA50.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit


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