5 Thought-Provoking Discussions from IPRA’s 2013 Conference

At the end of January, IPRA (Illinois Park and Recreation Association) hosted its annual conference in Chicago. The ‘Soaring to New Heights’ Conference brought together over 4,000 P&R professionals, elected officials, students, and vendors for a tradeshow, workshops, meetings and more. A few of us from ACTIVE headed out for the three-day conference, and saw some trends taking place.

Here are some of our favorite topics that were bouncing around at IRPA 2013: 

Forming sponsorship programs: In another workshop, Jodi Rudick of ADvisors Marketing Group covered some unique ways to get media coverage, sponsorship campaigns, and more. In the age of “doing more with less” it is important to have a game plan for sponsorships. You can read more ideas from Jodi on her blog, Little Red’s Big Ideas.

LEEDing the way to sustainability: You’ve probably heard about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for a few years, but sustainable facilities will continue to gain steam in 2013. In one session, presenters discussed ways to implement sustainable concepts without pursuing a formal LEED certification.

Recognizing your employees (without major costs): Adriane Johnson, Commissioner of Buffalo Grove Park District, discussed this topic in a Saturday session. The bottom line is that it is important to recognize employees for morale, productivity and more, but the compensation doesn’t need to carry high costs.

Protecting against computer crime: In one workshop, Mike Bazzell of the Alton Police Department and FBI Cyber Crime Task Force covered several methods used by cyber criminals. Is your agency fully protected over the internet, mobile technologies, networks and more?

Keeping it in perspective for parents: IPRA shared this image from Hoffman Estates Park District on Facebook after the conference. It’s important for parents to keep youth sports in perspective, and it’s your responsibility to convey that message continually:

These five discussions that took place at IPRA were some of our favorite. If you went, what was your favorite trend/program? If you didn’t go, what trends will be most important for P&R agencies in 2013? Tweet with #rectrends to join to discussion: