The 38th Annual New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Conference and Exhibition was held from March 3rd through March 6th at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ. The conference theme for 2013 was “Parks and Recreation: Historically Significant, Always Essential.” The annual conference is a great opportunity for Parks and Recreation Professionals, Commercial Members and Student Members to meet for continuing education, networking, product demonstrations and award recognition.
The recreation field is getting ready for the Generation Y’s to take over, as current executives reach retirement age. Organizations are beginning to alter the way in which they operate to fit the changing needs of this new generation of workers. It is anticipated that over the next five years, 50% of managers will be retiring. Our students were able to show the success Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management program and the professionalism of its students, based on the presence of our students during the conference. The first night our students were in attendance, they made Temple’s presence known through their professional dress, making our students more desirable for companies and organizations to approach and network with. It was exciting to be a part of this sought after group and truly help to build Temple’s brand.
- Dustin Pickert, Newsletter Committee
The pursuit of a college degree focusing in sports has been blossoming at many institutions throughout the country. Temple University is arguably one of the most sought after programs in this field; however, many students do not recognize the other side of the dual degree: recreation. Most undergraduates covet a career working with professional and collegiate sports and seldom do they realize the opportunities available in the recreation industry. The reason I attended New Jersey Recreation and Parks Conference was to explore my curiosity within the recreation industry. The event centered on workshops with recreation professionals from all over the country on a variety of related topics. One particular presentation that jumped out to me was “Creative Ways to Find Money for Facilities That You Desperately Need” where I learned about bounding alternatives for funding capital projects. A key takeaway from the conference came from a presentation about a municipality wanting to build a new tennis court that cost $1 million. Instead of receiving a lump sum of funding, and to better convenience taxpayers and government officials for their approval, was to separate the amount into monthly payments of $8,333.33 for 10 years. This provided myself and other conference attendees with a new and unique way to reflect on the subject of recreation facility funding. Another key takeaway was in regards to the job openings that the recreation industry will be having in the near future, since nearly 50% of the employees working within the field will be retiring in 5 – 10 years.
- Anthony Brenneman, Co-Chair – Budget Committee
On March 3rd and 4th, several Sport and Recreation Management students from the School of Tourism of Hospitality Management at Temple University traveled to Atlantic City, NJ to attend the Annual New Jersey Recreation and Park Association Conference where students were able to attend several enlightening conference sessions. I attended the “Working with Millennials” workshop, which was a session concentrating on hiring and working with those in the Generation Y demographic. I learned that in the future many CEO’s will be retiring and this gives Generation Y a great opportunity to enter the field of Recreation. I also attended “Public Speaking for Scaredy Cats.” The speaker’s main message was “Just Do It.” He gave valuable insight on how to speak clearly and confidently in front of people and I found this session not only informative, but entertaining as well. While attending the conference, I was able to gain insight into the world of Recreation. I was surprised when I realized just how much these people love their jobs and every person I spoke with said they are excited to go to work each day. I am glad that my classmates and myself were able to attend the conference as I enjoyed my time and have interest in attending the conference again in the future.
- Chris Shomo, Chair – Volunteer and CPR Committee
The NJRPA Conference was an opportunity for me to better understand what my major has to offer. The conference consisted of two days, which were both informational and networking opportunities. On the second day I had the chance to listen to some very remarkable individuals, who are passionate about recreation. I especially enjoyed the keynote speaker at lunch on the second day. Mr. Tom O’Rourke is the Executive Director of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission in Charleston, South Carolina. Tom is passionate about pleasing his consumers and will do whatever it takes to not only be effective but efficient as well. Mr. O’Rourke is a very good motivational speaker, who targets individuals who have the drive to succeed. The NJRPA Conference was not only a great networking opportunity but it opened my eyes to an area that I never really found an interest in.
- Tim Keough, Sponsorship and Fundraising Committee