Alaska Recreation and Park Association
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2022 Conference Sessions & Keynote



Keynote Speaker: Tom Norquist
Senior Vice President of Innovation and Business Development - GameTime

Sponsor: Playcraft Systems
October 12th - Lunch

Tom Norquist is a member of PlayCore's Strategic Services team and leads a culture of innovation and business development activities while additionally guiding GameTime's custom play division. Tom has 35 years of experience in the commercial play and recreation industry and 25 years with PlayCore.

Additionally, over the past five years, Tom has led Dr. Stuart Brown’s National Institute for Play (NIFP) Board and is the project co-leader of the first known on-line database of scientific and academic research creating a cohesive picture about the proven scientific benefits of play.

MORE INFO & GREAT VIDEO: GameTime - Tom Norquist



Education Sessions

Tentative Conference Sessions: Sessions are being finalized but are subject to change prior to the conference. The Conference committee is striving to ensure sessions are of high quality, educational, and cover a variety of subjects. 

All Ages, All Abilities, All the Time: Utilizing Universal Design Principle
Jill Moore - Inclusive Play Specialist at Landscape Structures

  • Discover how to apply the seven principles of universal design to create equitable spaces that encourage social sustainability, social equity, and support all abilities and all ages.

Developing Outdoor Programming for Mood Regulation and Stress Reduction.

Eric Oba - Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Recreation - University of Alaska - Anchorage 
  • Learn how recreation programming can utilize exposure and interaction with natural environments to help reduce attention fatigue and depression.

Adaptive Mountain Bikes and Associated Trail Construction Standards
Jim Beck - Challenge Alaska

  • This session will overview different types of off-road adaptive mountain bikes (aMTB) and examine aMTB trail standards to increase inclusion. 

How I survived hosting the Foo Fighters in a new facility on my second week on the job (working title)
Donnie Hayes - Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks & Recreation

  • The ten things I learned from the Foo Fighters and a new facility.

A Good Emergency Action Plan - Aquatics

Joe Stefanyak - Senior Director - Ellis & Associates
  • Take that binder off the shelf and get to work updating, or creating, your facility's Emergency Action Plan (EAP). It's not just for emergencies! (part 2)
Learn to Curl
Sarah Smith - CurlAK
  • CurlAK is working to grow the sport of curling through Alaskan communities by creating unique events that encompass people of all abilities and age ranges. curlAK is currently involved with team/community events, motivational speaking and youth outreach. 

Know Your Biases
Robin Benton - Aquatic Management Professor, Salem State University
  • Learn how biases are created and reinforced. Explore several tools to help you identify and navigate your biases. We will refresh our understanding of the differences between, fact, generalization, and stereotype.

Non-Motorized Transportation 

Homer Drawdown - Cook Inletkeeper & Matt Steffy - Homer Parks & Rec
  • Homer Drawdown aims to increase non-motorized transportation, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, address income inequality, and make Homer, Alaska a safer and more enjoyable place to live and visit. learn more about this program and how it can be replicated in your community. 

Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
Ricky Gease - Alaska State Parks

Controlling Invasive Species in Alaska

Kenai Watershed Forum, City of Soldotna, Homer Parks & Recreation 
  • The control of invasive species is becoming an increasingly important management consideration—and a challenge—for many park and recreation agencies. Depending on the type of species (plant, animal, or insect), the presence of invasive species in parks can impact recreation opportunities for the public, destroy native wildflowers and wildlife, result in significant economic damage, and generally provide a huge headache for land managers and the public.

Ableism: Changing Perspectives on Ability and Disability

Jeff Dick - Challenge Alaska
  • Ableism is the discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. We will explore this subject, as well as its roots, prevalence in society, and how to defeat ableism for the betterment of all people and our communities. 

The Alaska Long Trail

Xavier Lopez - Alaska Trails
  • A world-class trail system connecting 500+ miles of Alaska’s iconic terrain and diverse communities from the Pacific to the Interior, embracing the many ways Alaskans recreate outdoors and bolstering the Alaska economy by attracting visitors from all over the world. 

Learn to Skate - Adaptive Lessons 
Madalyn McEwen- Soldotna P&R & Lauren Anderson - Juneau P&R
  • Skating is for everyone, no matter age or ability. The Skate United and Special Olympics badge programs are designed to engage these individuals in the sport for recreation, activity and enjoyment. Learn how to implement these programs at your rink.


PRE- CONFERENCE TRAININGS & WORKSHOPS