A Celebration of 75 years – “Looking Back, While Moving PA Forward”

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Posted by Administrator at 10/13/2021

by PRPS Conference & Expo Co-Chairs Jason Lang, East Goshen Township Parks & Recreation Department and Kristy Owens, Centre Region Parks & Recreation

In March at Kalahari Resorts, PRPS will celebrate its 75th Anniversary Conference & Expo and we couldn’t be more thrilled to not only see you in person but share this historical moment with you all!

Can you believe that PRPS held its first conference back in 1948! This was a time when….

  • In 1948, park visitation spiked to one million people per year, just following World War II. Fast forward to 2019, following the pandemic, and in turn spiking visitation to 4.2 million in our national parks.  
    • The Cleveland Indians won the Baseball World Series
    • The Summer and Winter Olympic games returned after a 12-year hiatus because of World War II.
    • TV still hadn’t yet entered our living rooms at this time
    • The first theme parks emerged in the mid-twentieth century with the opening of Santa Claus Land in 1946, Santa’s Workshop in 1949, and Disneyland in 1955.
    • Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Perry Como dominated the airwaves.
    • Kids were playing with a new exciting board game called “Chutes and Ladders,” based off India’s “Snakes and Ladders.”
    • Gas was $0.26 per gallon, milk was $0.80 and you could buy a nice house for $13,000.

Fast-forward to 2021:

  • You can watch any program, any time, from any location…if you have wifi.
    • Games were streamed LIVE and competitions and coaching were remote at the start of the year, with no fans in the bleachers or stands
    • New sports were added to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics –baseball/softball, skateboarding, karate, sport climbing and surfing – which added 18 new events and 474 athletes to Summer Games.
    • BTS, Drake and Olivia Rodrigo top the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
    • “Present pets” dominate the toy market…and unbox themselves!
    • Gas is $3.25 per gallon, milk is $4.00 and you can buy a nice house for $300,000.

Talk about a big difference! One constant though has always been municipal parks and recreation. When public cleanliness was an issue…we opened pools. When science said play supports learning…we installed playgrounds. When Americans needed places to speak about tough topics…they came to parks, plazas and public squares.

The 75th Anniversary Conference is going to reflect back on PRPS’ amazing contributions to Pennsylvania’s quality of life. A wonderful opportunity to reflect back on our history, while looking to a bright future.

We are excited to invite you to join us for the 2022 PRPS Conference & Expo, from March 29 – April 1, 2021! This year, we will feature keynote speakers, a look into the history of PRPS and moving PA Forward, over 65 educational sessions, an exhibit hall full of your favorite vendors and opportunities to network and socialize with peers across the state.

Featured Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote Kristine Stratton, NRPA President and CEO - Kristine will kick off the conference in style, discussing the power of parks and recreation.

Keynote Speaker: Richard Hight - Richard is a world-famous artist, thought-provoking storyteller and overall character! His keynote unfolds through message and also visually, as his story unfolds on canvas bit by bit while he weaves in and out of the audience.

Endnote Speaker: Erik Dominquez -Erik is one of us! Erik is an immigrant with an amazing story, one that includes working in parks and recreation as a camp counselor! He is the founder of Speak Up! Stories and he will help us “speak up boldly, and share our story.”

The history, speakers and education are all important of course, but we all know, that after two years of not getting together, WE ARE READY TO PARTY! Our Socials Committee is putting the finishing touches on some really exciting events throughout the week of the conference! 

Find all Conference & Expo details and register at www.prpsconferenceandexpo.org.

See you at Kalahari!

Kristy, Jason, and the Conference Committee