Call for Education Session Proposals

The NRPA Annual Conference is an inclusive event that brings together thousands of people across several different fields including parks and recreation, conservation, health, landscape architecture and city planning. Year after year attendees register and fill the session rooms because they know the NRPA Annual Conference is the place to go for inspirational education sessions and energetic networking opportunities with some of the top leaders in the profession.

Our goal at the NRPA Annual Conference is to fulfill the needs of our diverse audience by providing a selection of relevant topics addressed by unique, quality presenters. We are looking for speakers who can build upon our attendees’ passion for parks and recreation and inspire even greater impact in communities nationwide. The 2022 NRPA Annual Conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona, September 2022, 2022.  The deadline to submit proposals was December 13, 2021.


Education Session Formats

Education Session: Education Sessions are 60-minute sessions that deliver a selection of relevant and timely topics.

Speed Sessions: Speed Sessions are 20-minute sessions designed to engage and inspire. These collaborative and energizing sessions cover a variety of park and recreation trends in interactive formats.

Who Should Consider Submitting Proposals? 

  • Park and recreation professionals, educators and students
  • Park and recreation vendors, contractors and related groups
  • Speakers and educators aligned with NRPA's Three Pillars of Health and Wellness, Equity and Conservation
  • Planners, landscape architects, public health administrators, city and county managers, naturalists
  • Presenters should have experience speaking at state, regional or national conferences; schools; or seminars

Proposal Review

All education session proposals are reviewed by the Conference Program Committee and programmed by tracks. Sessions are assessed using the following criteria:

Originality: At the NRPA Annual Conference it is essential that we continue to present unique and exciting programs that reflect our dynamic community.

Relevance: NRPA seeks sessions that are of great interest to prospective attendees and clearly benefit the professional needs of the designated audience.

Overall Quality: NRPA is dedicated to ensuring that the learning programs at its Annual Conference meet the highest standards of excellence.

Diversity: NRPA defines diversity as “differences in racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, and academic/professional backgrounds; people with different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage, mental or physical ability, learning style gender identity and life experience" (definition adapted from Racial Equity Tools)Similar to the communities served, NRPA is composed of members that represent different races, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, ages and backgrounds. It is imperative that conference sessions reflect that diversity in presenters. 

Inclusion: NRPA defines inclusion as “authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into the processes, activities, and decisions/policy making in a way that shares power, recognizes and celebrates differences, ensure that people feel welcome and everyone has the equitable access to opportunities" (definition adapted from Racial Equity Tools). The sharing of different perspectives and experiences, and ways to address and include them are essential in creating equitable programs, developing policies and organizational practices. Sessions should also address or be inclusive of multiple perspectives and how different needs can and should be addressed.  

Considerations to ensure inclusion in the following proposed sessions would look like:

  • Solve Your Teams Communication Problems- How do these problems show up across gender? Age? What are the differences in how this shows up in a small agency? Larger agency? What systems or tools do certain groups prefer or avoid?
  • Making the Most out of Middle Management-How should management styles adjust for gender? What are the perspectives/approaches of a female manager? Male manager? What considerations should be included when there are differences (race, ethnicity, background, religion) between managers and employees?
  • Say Yes! To Engagement- What special groups are in your community and how have you adjusted your practices to include them? How do you consider various holiday calendars and celebrations to infuse/create new engagement opportunities?
  • Understanding, Planning and Anticipating the Head(back)aches of Special Features in Modern Aquatic Centers- What are considerations to include religious and gender identity needs for facilities?

Equity and Inclusion

NRPA commits to putting equity at the center of our work to support park and recreation professionals in their work to create fair and just park and recreation systems. This year we are launching learning cohorts to support professionals in their journey towards equity and inclusion in parks and recreation. In the proposal process, please identify where on this journey your target audience is in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion: beginner, intermediate, experienced.

Education Tracks

The NRPA Annual Conference offers education sessions through 12 education tracks specifically tailored to parks and recreation.

  • Aquatics: Operation and maintenance of aquatic features and facilities including pools, beaches and splash pads
  • Career Development: Tools and techniques to succeed in current and future park and recreation professions
  • Conservation: Climate-ready parks, green infrastructure, natural resources, wildlife management, ecology, etc.
  • Customer Service: Acquisition and retention of park and recreation users, community engagement
  • Equity and Inclusion: Diversity, equity and inclusion for all members of the community, regardless of race, age, gender, ability, orientation, religion and more
  • Health and Wellness: Nutrition, fitness, mental health, community wellness and wellbeing, as well as addressing substance use, etc.
  • Leadership and Personnel Management: Supervisory skills, performance, innovation, trends, team building, volunteers
  • Planning, Design and Maintenance: Development, design, facility operations, etc.
  • Programming: Special events, athletics, arts, culture and nature programming for all ages
  • Public Policy and Advocacy: Park foundations, funding sources, friend groups, the impact of parks and recreation on communities, etc.
  • Public Relations and Marketing: Traditional marketing, social media, press relations, etc.
  • Revenue Development: Revenue, cost recovery and reduction, budget management, privatization, partnerships, etc.

Important Dates

Call for Education and Speed Session Proposals: October 2021  December 13, 2021
Call for NRPA Research Session Proposals: October 1, 2021  January 31, 2022
Session Notifications: April 2022
2022 NRPA Annual Conference: September 20–22, 2022


Commercial / Promotional Presentations

Your presentation may NOT sell, raffle, or otherwise promote a product, service, or organization in which you have a financial interest.