Parks and recreation professionals will gather Oct. 8 through 10 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston for the 2013 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Congress and Exposition. Participants will have the opportunity to advance their field-related education in citizen/advocacy; public relations; environmental stewardship; planning, design and maintenance; professional development; leadership and management; customer service and revenue; recreation programming; healthy lifestyles and sports; and employee/volunteer management. Go to this site for information.

What’s included in Congress registration

Full registration ($598 for members; $748 for non-members) includes all education sessions, general session, EXPO daily admission, research symposium, NRPA opening reception and the closing party. Certain non-member registration fees automatically include individual membership to NRPA for one year.

Questions may be directed to the following points of contact:

Call: 888-385-8010 (toll-free U.S. & Canada) or 972-349-5891 (International)
Fax: 972-349-7715

Choose from dozens of education sessions

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, a class titled Mobile Technology Uses for Parks and Recreation will focus on how mobile technology can play a part in parks and recreation. Some of the tools covered at the class: text alerts and notifications, QR codes, audio hotlines, mobile commerce and fee and payment collection setups. At the session, parks managers can learn how to boost revenue and increase communication and efficiencies with a mobile strategy.  

Also on Tuesday, Oct. 8, attendees can learn about waterplay apparatus at a session titled Inclusive and Sustainable Design Principles for Splashpads. The session will show how splashpads — based on sustainable and inclusive principles design — offer quality play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities.

Other sessions to choose from include:
•    Active Adults 101 for Growing an Active Adult Program
•    Armed Forces Recreation Network Meeting
•    Playing Together: Creating Playgrounds and Programs for Families with Disabilities
•    Volunteers: Partners in Program Success
•    Maximizing Golf Revenue vs. Maintenance — Who Wins?
•    Connecting Parks, Community, and Public Health
•    Geocaching! Is it in Your Parks?
•    The Best Way to Predict the Future
•    Walking Your Way to a Healthy Community
•    Purposed Based Recognition: Recognizing, Rewarding, and Retaining Staff
•    Leveraging Assets to Expand and Increase Partnerships
•    Empowering Youth Through Hip Hop
•    Explore Archery: A Sport for Everyone!
•    Parks, Trees, and Drought: Preparing for Drought Management

Speed Sessions

New for 2013 at the NRPA Congress is a series of speed sessions: 20-minute sessions designed to energize and inspire. The session titles include: Calculating the ROI of Public Spaces, 5 Secrets to Operating a Successful Recreation Center, Success Strategies For Building Healthy Communities, Social Norms Marketing, Coaching Your Staff and 10 Top Recreation Apps for your iPhone.

All of the 40 speed sessions were curated throughout the year from more than 120 member proposals regarding areas of interest in marketing, program ideas and leadership.


The 2013 NRPA Congress and Exposition keynote speaker is Jeremy Gutsche. He is the founder of, a judge on BNN’s (Business News Network, Canada) TV show “The Pitch,” and host of “Trend Hunter TV.” He speaks on innovation, strategies and marketing. Gutsche’s creation,, is an online trend community crowd-sourced by more than 100,000 contributors who identify and submit emerging ideas as articles.

Justin Snasel, who is electronic media specialist at Arlington Parks and Recreation Department in Arlington, Texas, will present during Congress session 151 on The New Customer, Marketing in the Zero Moment of Truth. He, along with Ryan Hegreness, Arlington’s marketing and enterprising development manager, will address issues such as: multi-generational users; online marketing tactics; digital resources like partnerships with local bloggers, email and text message lists; and, turning customers into brand evangelists.

Rick Herold, director of parks and recreation in Grand Prairie, Texas, will speak during Congress session 131 on defining outcomes. He’ll address questions like, “How is communicating outcomes more effective than communicating services?” and “How do outcomes relate to funding?” According to the NRPA session description, “Attendees will learn how to elevate their status within their community.”

Other speakers and their topics include:

•    Eric Legg and Megan Carney, Forming a Sense of Community By Creating Advocates
•    Mat Duerden and Patti Freeman, Moving Beyond Customer Satisfaction: Staging Memorable Recreation Experiences
•    Rich DiGirolamo, Fun, Free, Affordable Marketing That Makes You Memorable...And Works!
•    Carra Moroni and Faith Foreman, Transforming Communities Through Partnerships

Congress Live!

For those unable to attend the 2013 Congress in person in Houston, NRPA is presenting its Virtual Congress Live! With no travel cost and the ability to watch remotely from your home or office. The program’s $199 fee includes:

•    10 education sessions,
•    Presentations from top-rated speakers,  and
•    Chance to earn up to 1.0 CEUs, which is half of the required CPRP renewal.


2013 National Recreation and Park Association Congress and Exposition

October 8 through 10
Exhibit Hall Hours:
--October 8 – 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
--October 9 – 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

View a preview of the 2013 NRPA Congress and Expo.