A Conference Message and Thank You!


Thank you to all who attended the 2016 IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference!  We had an excellent turnout this year with over 4,300 attendees and exhibitors converging downtown at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.  The three full days of activities, which included over 160 educational sessions, 17 pre-conference workshops, a robust exhibit hall and a wide array of networking socials, provided many wonderful opportunities for attendees to learn, connect and be inspired. 

As I travelled the multiple levels and towers of the Hyatt Regency numerous times throughout conference, I sensed an incredible energy that filled the air.  Conference is an exciting time to be sure.  It is the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and hard work by many, including a tremendously talented group of presenters whose contributions, wisdom and expertise led to a very strong and dynamic program.  

A prevailing thought shared by many is that the heart of any conference is its programming and activities.  While I believe this to be true, I also believe that a conference is only as strong as its volunteer base, which makes up its soul.  So, to all those (and there is a VERY long list), who served tirelessly on the various committees or who helped out as moderators and hosts onsite, thank you for being the soul that moves conference forward, and is a vital part of its success

One piece of news that I am excited to share is that we are currently working on developing a Resource Library for the conference website. The idea for the library is to house speaker handouts and presentations collected at conference.  Eventually, we will look into expanding the offerings to include pictures, videos and other items of interest pertaining to conference.  Stay tuned for more details.

As we begin to wind down and complete our post-conference wrap up, please remember to take a few minutes to complete the overall conference survey, which was sent by email to attendees earlier this week.  If you missed the email, you can find the link to the survey on the conference website under the Events and Programs tab.  The survey closes at the end of day on February 19, so please be sure to complete yours before then.  Your feedback is very important to us and will be used by the 2017 Joint Conference Committee to help shape and determine next year’s program.

Speaking of the 2017 program, if you are an Attendee who has an idea for a topic or speaker, please submit your suggestion(s) to the Program Committee via the online suggestion form.  Suggestions are due March 11

Presenters - are you interested in submitting a proposal to the Program Committee for consideration?  The 2017 Call for Proposals is currently open and is accessible via the above link or by visiting ilparksconference.com > Events & Programs > 2017 Call for Proposals.  Proposal submissions will be accepted until June 3.

On behalf of the Joint Conference Committee, thank you again for your participation in the 2016 conference!  IPRA is proud to be one of the leading education providers for parks and recreation professionals in Illinois, and co-host of one of the premier parks and recreation conferences in the nation.  We look forward to seeing you next year at the Hilton Chicago, January 19-21, 2017.


Leesa Johnsonn

IPRA Conference & Meetings Director