Annual Conference & Trade Show

March 18 - 20, 2018

Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine


Sunday, March 18

6:00 - 9:00 pm -Mystery Event!

Sponsored by


Monday, March 19

8:00 am Registration Begins

8:00-9:00 am  Breakfast

8:00-8:30 am Students Meet in the State of Maine Hall

9:00-10:15 am Educational Sessions

Technology Update:  Getting Started with Google Docs

Andy Gray, York School Department & unofficial Google Docs Master

Google Docs- you’ve heard all the hype, now it is your turn! Come learn the basics how to use this free cloud-based program, as well as how to implement this as a valuable tool in your department. Share editable documents, store images, and create virtual teams. Get ready to bring your team into the fore-front of technology!

Expand your game bank: The Machias Sequel

UMAINE Machias, Recreation Class

Don’t miss this session: a sequel to last year’s successful active session!  UMM students will take you on a journey of ice breakers, name games, team building concepts & more!  Take these unique & fun activities back to your department to keep your staff and program participants having fun.

Keep ‘Em Playing:  Building Engaging Youth Sport Experiences

Bob Barcelona & Karen Collins, UNH

Recent reports on youth sports participation show that fewer young people are playing team sports today than they were 10 years ago.  The good news is that parents, coaches, and sport leaders can do something about almost all the reasons for youth sport attrition.  This session will address sport engagement strategies focused on three areas – enhancing enjoyment, developing “positive push”, and cultivating relationships.  Come ready to discuss ideas and take home strategies that can create better youth sport experiences that help keep ‘em playing!


Support your MRPA Conference Sponsors! Come visit and socialize and get a chance to win great prizes!

11:00-12:15 PM - Educational Sessions

Invasive Plant Management

Nancy Olmstead, Invasive Plant Biologist, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

Invasive terrestrial and wetland plants can take over field edges, infest town forest understories, and clog up ditches and drainage ponds.  They can also creep into natural areas and cause harm to wildlife and habitats.   What are reasonable goals for addressing invasive plants in parks and recreation areas?  Who are potential partners in these efforts, and where is a good place to start?  Come learn some ways to address this thorny problem, and bring your invasive plant questions and scenarios for discussion.

The ACA—Is it still relevant?

Anne Wright, Director, Health Trust Services, Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust

2017 saw a number of efforts to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Yet through it all, the law has survived – well, most of it anyway! Join us for an overview of how the ACA came to be passed, who it was meant to benefit, and its effects on both employers and employees.  We’ll discuss the current status of such provisions as employer shared responsibility (also called the employer mandate), how to count your employees, large employer reporting, and the effect of buy-outs.  We’ll also look ahead to 2020, and the introduction of the Cadillac Tax.

Unified sports in your community

Kelly Tobin, Special Education Life Skills Teacher, Dexter Regional High School

Join Kelly, Unified Basketball Coach, for a discussion about how to get a Unified Basketball Program up and running. Where do you get funding? What do you need to start? What are the rules? Come learn about the positive impacts a unified sports program can have on your community or in your department.

12:15-1:50  pm Lunch & Annual Business Meeting

MRPA Annual Meeting (Meeting Material) & Recognition of MRPA Past Presidents - including Exhibitor Prizes

2:00-3:15 pm Educational Sessions 

Creating Sustainable Academic Internships

Tom Mullin, Associate Professor of Parks and Forest Resources, Unity College

This session is for you if you’ve ever thought or said, “Let’s get a college intern to help us out!" Learn the best practices of how to create and manage a successful agency/organization internship program. Finding the right match, as well as understanding the challenges of the current generation of college students and their needs is essential for the host agency and the student to be successful. Learn how to take a foundational approach to ensure the student is a great match for your department, and vice versa. A Maine focus will be featured in this hands on workshop.

Not-Your-Average Bidding and Procurement 101 Session

John Duncan, Director of PACTS, Greater Portland Council of Governments

We “dive into the weeds” of state bidding and procurement regulations, look forward to answering your questions, and hope to solve some of the confusion surrounding this topic. This session presents methods to reviewing bid specs and discusses opportunities for cooperative purchasing. Come with your questions (there is no silly question) and be ready to gain more knowledge about obtaining professional services in your organization.

Develop Better Leadership Skills Using Improvisation

Kate Harris, Recreation Coordinator, Falmouth Community Services

Are you looking to develop those “soft” leadership skills, like risk taking, collaborating or becoming a better listener? Come learn a fun, easy and interactive way to develop these and other skills. Get ready to think on your feet! Play a few fun, interactive icebreakers and other games that you can use to engage and inspire leadership staff to take risks, accept new ideas and trust one another.


3:15-3:30 pm Students Meet in the State of Maine Hall

3:15 - 4:00 pm   BREAK WITH EXHIBITORS

4:00 - 5:15 PM   KEYNOTE


Speaker Randy Pierce, President, 2020 Vision Quest

During two short but significant weeks in 1989, a devastating neurological disease transformed Randy Pierce from a healthy and ordinary young man to a blind man completely uncertain of his future. As his progression toward total blindness moved forward, Randy transitioned in 1994 from engineering, to a variety of volunteer projects such as tutoring and martial arts instruction, which allowed him to develop and hone his teaching and presentation skills.

Randy’s passion for experience encouraged him to use adversity as a positive catalyst for growth and opportunity, resulting in such amazing adventures and honors as his earning his second-degree black belt, historic hiking accomplishments in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and summiting Africa’s highest peak—Mount Kilimanjaro, winning a national marathon championship, competing in Tough Mudder events, and being inducted as a fan into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Fast-forward to today, when Randy holds the positions of Founder and President of 2020 Vision Quest, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Association for the Blind, and President of the Hudson, NH Lions Club.

Randy’s realization that you truly don't need to see in order to have a vision--or to bring that vision to reality--is the inspirational backdrop for a methodology as powerful as the motivation behind his message. Randy came to believe that most of our limits in life are self-imposed; that far too often, we accept and thereby empower the notion of “can’t.” It is an idea that--when framed with Randy's compelling personal story--invariably resonates with people, giving them new energy to engage the possibilities that lie within their grasp. Emphasizing goal-setting, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication with amusing anecdotes and demonstrable achievements, he will inspire attendees to reach their very own version of “peak potential.”

5:15 - 6:15 pm Exhibitor Social - Drinks & Appetizers

6:45 - 8:30 pm  Annual Awards Reception and Raffles

8:30 - 10:00 pm  Social Event

Sponsored by



Tuesday, March 20

7:30-8:30 am Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:45 am Educational Sessions

Recipe for Retention: The Key to Long-Term Teen Engagement

Speakers: Brandon Caron and Lindsey Evans, Program Managers at Trekkers

Inherent across the span of human development is change and transition with adolescence being a particularly intense time period for young people to navigate. Naturally, many young people lose interest in the programs they loved in middle school as they transition into high school. Through presentation, hands-on activities and group discussions you will learn and apply some of the techniques Trekkers, an outdoor based mentoring program in mid-coast Maine, has applied to successfully engage and retain young people through the middle school to high school transition for nearly 25 years.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short: Highlight the importance of your department

Ryan Kane, Director, Concord Recreation Department, Concord, Massachusetts

Does your organization have a marketing plan or do you just do a brochure?  Marketing is a process that needs to be planned & well thought out to be successful. This session discusses why marketing matters, identifies your marketing targets, defines or re-defines your organization’s image, maximizes current marketing strategies,& explores new possibilities.

Inclusive Playgrounds for your Parks

Ken Dobyns, Business Development Trainer and Training Professional at KOMPAN

Come learn about the universal approach to designing innovative outdoor play environments that are relevant for all abilities! This presentation will showcase inclusive playgrounds through examples, concepts, and research. Learn how to identify the elements of playground design that accommodate “play for all” and present challenges and opportunities for children of all abilities. Program attendees will also review current world discussions and gain a better understanding of the needs of children with disabilities including development, health, and social inclusion.

9:50- 11:05 AM  Educational Sessions

Autism Society of Maine

Matt Brown, Founder and President at ASET (Autism Safety Education and Training)

Autism Spectrum Disorders now affects 1 in 68 children, and is the fastest growing developmental disability. Unfortunately, many common characteristics of Autism can create dangerous and life-threatening situations. The tendency of children w autism to wander, as well as their sensory, processing and communication challenges, can lead to challenging situations. 
This presentation will define and explain Autism, with a special focus on the characteristics that impact on safety, as well as ways to recognize, prevent and respond to, challenging situations involving children with Autism.

Are you Emergency Response ready?

Bangor Police and Recreation Departments

It is important to act quickly, pay attention to detail, and maintain communication with all parties when crisis hits.  Learn and discuss how recreation departments can adapt schools’ preparations plans, tap into police department support, and quickly respond to potential emergencies that might affect your programs, activities, or events.  This session focuses on emergencies and crisis management in parks and recreation settings.

Revolving and Enterprise Budgets:  A tool to make you great!

Ryan Kane, Director, Concord Recreation Department, Concord, Massachusetts

Is your department utilizing an Enterprise, Special Revenue, or Revolving form of accounting?  Are you currently in a General Fund form of accounting and looking of expanding the Department through the potential of an alternate form of accounting?  This session quickly defines and describes the differences between these budgets and then focuses on strategies to successfully utilize them to develop department and program growth.  We will also discuss the challenges and opportunities to managing your operation with these alternate funds.

11:15-12:30 pm Endnote: 

If I can do it, you can, too!  Be Part of the Opportunities for Our Future Leaders

Julia Sleeper-Whiting, Co-founder and Executive Director, Tree Street Youth, Lewiston, ME

Julia Sleeper co-founded Tree Street Youth as a summer youth program in 2011. While helping out at local public schools and other community organizations, Sleeper was inspired by young students who told her they wanted a place to call their own and where they could learn new things.  Five years later, the organization was opened year-round, has served 800+ young people, and has completed a major expansion, doubling the size of the space. Tree Street Youth serves between 120 and 150 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade daily, offering afterschool education, arts, and athletic programs, a summer youth program, and leadership training for high-schoolers.  Its college readiness program works to increase the graduation, college acceptance, and college retention rates of at-risk first-generation immigrant students in Lewiston and Auburn.

12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch