EDUCATION sessions block 6

Tuesday, October 25  |  3:15pm-4:30pm



Room 218AB

What do you get for 5% - the benefits of developing a sustainable soil-building program - Gary Gittere, NC Composting Council 

Rarely is there an opportunity to bring environmental and economic sustainability together than in the matching of organics recycling to the improvement in soil health.  Agronomists and soil scientists have long-recognized the beneficial relationship between proper organic matter levels of 5% and improved soil health.  Sports turf managers are now quantifying the economic benefits of compost use in sports turf applications.   Studies now recognized how the loss of soil organic matter creates very significant economic and environmental impacts from irrigation to player safety to watershed protection. It is also widely recognized that there is an environmental and sustainability need to recycle organic waste.  Through composting, these two important concerns are coming together with enormous promise.                                   


Room 213BC

Generating Innovate Cost Recovery Tactics  - Jennifer Beedle, Charlynne Smith and Matt Whitlow, Recreation Resources Service

Public parks and recreation agencies routinely face the challenge to recover costs for services provided to their community. The NRPA 2016 Field Report showed that the typical park agency recovers 29% of operating expenditures. How should your agency set the cost for programs? Should fees and charges differ across the population in your community or between adult and youth participants?   As budgets and discretionary funding are reduced, it is critical that agencies set target cost recovery for the variety of programs and services provided. Grants, donations, and sponsorships can contribute in some budget areas by reducing participation costs or the cost to build facilities. However, in order to support demand and provide high quality services, parks and recreation agencies must charge patrons a reasonable amount in user fees and charges. Fees may be set based on actual cost to run a program, but are often reduced (subsidized)  based on geographic area or population served. How do we evaluate strategies to make those decisions?  This session will explore innovative methods for determining appropriate pricing strategies for the public park and recreation services. It will also provide information gathered through the annual Municipal and County Parks and Recreation Services Study (MCPRSS). Each year, Recreation Resources Service (RRS) conducts the study determine the current fiscal status of local government parks and recreation departments in North Carolina. The 2015 study focused on fees and charges. We will review the results of the study and share how agencies can use data from similar parks and recreation agencies to establish or adjust fees for their agency. In addition, we’ll review the NRPA Field Report that gathers data nationally through PRORAGIS to compare services at a greater scale. We will demonstrate how to collect and compile data from multiple sources and discuss methods to develop a cost recovery model appropriate for your community.                                    

Creating Champions: Engaging all Employees - Madeleine Carey, Jennifer Hance, and Michelle Gill-Mofat, Greensboro Parks and Recreation 

Are your employees representing your vision? Have they bought into your brand? Use our strategies to help you gauge the level at which your employees are connected to the department.  Learn how to create an environment where employees are the department’s biggest champions.                             


Room 212AB


Room 219AB

Are you a leader or a manager? Who cares? - Wade Walcutt, Greensboro Parks and Recreation and Tim Moloney, Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks

Do I manage or do I lead? Who cares? You should! In this fast paced session, attendees will discuss the finer points of managing and leading. Even though they are similar, they are not the same. Through a variety of successes and even more failures, real life situations will be discussed giving attendees not only a better understanding of the core differences between these two disciplines, but to better define their own tendencies.                           


Room 216AB

Natural Partners: connecting your audience to nature  - Alex Beck, Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks 

Explore innovative ways to connect park visitors with nature without having to have a nature center. Using the "if you build it, they will come method", participants discuss everything from interpretive signs, species surveys and gardening to office design with classic nature center features.                                            


Room 211AB

A Holistic Approach to Conceptual Planning of Inclusive Play Environments  - Sharon Rhue, Rivers and Associates

Over the past few years there has been growing interest in designing for inclusive play.  Funding is more prevalent for communities to build inclusive play environments. Thus, it is important to ensure that a thorough understanding exists for what it means to design for inclusivity in order to ensure that the expenditure of funds is being optimized, and our communities well served.  There are a number terms which, though interrelated, describe very different concepts.  “Accessible design, “Universal Design”and “Inclusive Design”are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Defining a project too narrowly often results in designing simply for maximum accessibility, without providing further measures of truly inclusive play.  Inclusively designed play equipment is but one component in the equation. In lacking deeper understanding, opportunities to create truly inspired spaces which meet the broader challenge of inclusivity may be lost.  This workshop will examine the following questions: How should the term “Inclusive”be defined? What are the benefits of Inclusive Play? What are the essential elements of inclusive design? How do we design a process to bring about the best results?   Concepts will be illustrated by using examples from built and proposed projects.  In developing this more holistic comprehension, attendees can return to their communities better prepared to provide diverse, sensory-rich inclusive play environments which meet the physical and social needs for the widest range of abilities and users.


Room 213A

Engaging Citizens: Moving Beyond the ‘they will come to us model’ - Nicholas Kuhn, AECOM and Kelvin Yarrell, Rocky Mount Parks & Recreation

It’s time to move beyond the traditional approaches and models for park and recreation master plans! For decades we have utilized the same dated techniques, with limited success, to plan millions in improvements and investments to our parks. Have we been doing the best we can? A shift in the paradigm has increased accountability, engagement, access and innovation needs for public agencies and it’s time to revamp your approach to planning. Focused on advanced public engagement, strategic planning and new approaches to level of service; learn how to scale a transformative system plan to your community.

Lego: More than a Toy - Danielle Dobbs-Jackson, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation and Leah Friend, Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks 

Come learn how to build a creative Lego program for people of all ages and abilities. This session will be hands-on and focus on the benefits of using Lego and how to engage participants.               



Room 213D