8 Life Hacks for the 2014 NRPA Congress

By Roxanne Sutton | Posted on October 8, 2014

The 2014 NRPA Congress is less than a week away. Many NRPA staff members have a somewhat over-caffeinated look, but there is a definite optimism and excitement in the air as we finalize plans for one of our best conferences yet.  


For those making the pilgrimage to Charlotte, we’re giving it to you straight. Here are the eight things you need to know to make your experience just a little bit easier!


1. Goodbye bulky program guide, hello mobile app and pocket guide!




Your conference bag will be noticeably lighter this year as we have done away with our 100+ page program guide. Instead, you’ll find an awesome new pocket guide and super-charged mobile app to give you all the information you need to know. Download the mobile app now to start planning what sessions you’ll attend and to get up-to-date announcements about all things happening in Charlotte. You can also access the app information through any computer or mobile device. Once loaded, the app doesn’t require Wi-Fi/data to function, but you’ll want to connect every now and again for important updates and announcements! Read more about the passing of our dear friend, the program guide, in this blog post


2. Never go hungry.




In addition to hors d'oeuvres at evening events and lunch in the exhibit hall on Wednesday, you’ll find plenty of dining options in Charlotte. There’s also a food court on the ballroom and meeting room level of the convention center and lots of restaurants nearby. 


3. Looking for internet?




2014 NRPA Congress insiders say the cellphone/data reception throughout the convention center is excellent, but if you’re looking for more places to connect, we’ve got some places for you to check out. You can find internet connection at one of two Cyber Cafés—one on the street level near the leisure park sponsored by Vortex and one on the show floor sponsored by HGACBuy. There is also Wi-Fi near the food court and Starbucks. 


4. Java for the caffeine junkies.




Speaking of Starbucks, the Charlotte Convention Center has one of those too. It’s in the food court on the ballroom and meeting level. 


5. Finding your ride is easy.




You’ll find most of the shuttle bus information in your pocket guide. However, since print time more shuttle routes have been added. Since you already downloaded the mobile app after reading number one on this list, you can find the most up-to-date information in the “more” section of the app.


6. Network like a jetsetter—passports are back.




To make getting into the Tailgate Party, Opening Party and Closing Reception easier, you’ll get a handy-dandy passport in exchange for the appropriate ticket in your badge holder. You’ll have one ticket that covers both the Tailgate and Opening Party that can be exchanged for a passport outside the exhibit hall (Tailgate) or NASCAR Hall of Fame (Opening Party). Once you have this passport you’ll use it for both events on Tuesday.


For the Closing Party, your ticket will be exchanged for a passport outside the Crown Ballroom. The passports have some good stuff in them, so don’t lose ‘em!

7. Get the full Charlotte experience by meeting some NASCAR drivers.


Not only will you be in Charlotte in less than a week, you could also be mingling with two members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family. Bobby Labonte and Joey Logano will make a pit stop at the Exhibit Hall Tailgate Party on Tuesday at 6 p.m. You can meet, greet and compete with the guys! Wristbands are needed in order to have the opportunity to meet these drivers, so be sure to make a quick trip to the NRPA Member Pit Stop, booth 4146, to pick one up. Meeting the drivers is a first come, first served opportunity so get there early!


8. Meet your favorite session speakers.



You’ve probably seen that there will be some exciting new learning areas and opportunities in the exhibit hall this year. The Learning Playground will be home to our most interactive sessions, The Glass Room Sessions will be all about hot topics in parks and rec, and the Learning Labs will be where you can meet with our most engaging speakers including our keynote panelists Maya Rockeymoore and Robert Garcia. Just head down to the exhibit hall after the Opening General Session to chat with these leaders in social equity!



We can’t wait to see you in Charlotte! Have more questions? Ready to share what you’re most excited about? Make an investment in your career! You can join us onsite or virtually via Congress Live. See you soon!



Roxanne Sutton is NRPA’s Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist and will likely be found in Charlotte Tweeting, Instagramming and Facebooking all aspects of #NRPACongress on her phone or in line at the Starbucks.