The National Recreation and Park Association has
announced a shortened 2011 aquatics show and
“blended” school. The new direction, in
part, has sparked resignations from several longtime
The National Aquatic Conference & Exposition
(NAC) and National Aquatic Management School (NAMS) is
scheduled for Feb. 16-19, at the Bahia Resort Hotel in San
Diego. The goal is to “showcase the value of
aquatics as a community benefit,” said Tara
Fitzpatrick-Navarro, NRPA chief of knowledge and learning.
Keynote speakers are Mick Nelson, facilities development
director of USA Swimming, and Sue Pitt Anderson, programs
and services director for USA Swimming.
The 2011 event will be three days shorter than in the
past, which leaves less time for the in-person NAMS. But
that will allow attendees to spend less time away from
facility, office and family, and reduce travel costs
through shorter hotel stays, said Fitzpatrick-Navarro.
Other changes are set to include more receptions and
all-attendee meals (allowing for greater networking
opportunities) and increased exhibit hall hours.
Additionally, NAMS will have a revised format, which is set
to include online learning and in-person training and
networking. According to planners, this new blended
learning format allows for increased education and CEUs,
but still includes important face-to-face learning and peer
But not everyone is happy with the state of NAC/NAMS.
Eight out of the 11 members of NRPA’s Education
and Professional Development Committee/Program Committees,
resigned recently, though several of the resigning members
terms were set to expire. The resignations included Chair
Terri Smith, who has served on the National Aquatic Branch
Ultimately Smith said she was unhappy with the direction
NRPA was moving with respect to aquatics and the NAC/NAMS
in particular. “The in-person, face-to-face
networking that made the school and conference so unique
and effective, unfortunately is the component that will
suffer with the new, reduced format,” Smith said.
“I personally feel the values that were once
driven by NRPA members, have been successfully
diluted, and replaced by decisions made by NRPA staff,
without member input.”
Still, leadership at NRPA maintains the changes will
ultimately strengthen NAC. “We understand that
change can be hard,” said CEO, Barbara
Currently the NAC Program Committee is seeking
interested speakers to submit education session proposals.
The proposal deadline is Friday, Sept. 17, 2010.
Sessions can be submitted here.