YES to the VRPS – By Mike Arrington

Projector screen with a powerpoint slide up that says Celebrating Community through Culturally Diverse Programming

Projector screen with a powerpoint slide up that says Celebrating Community through Culturally Diverse ProgrammingManassas Park Community Center Athletics Specialist Mike ArringtonI recently attended the 2019 Virginia Recreation and Park Society’s (VRPS) annual conference. I really enjoy conferences like these as they provide an opportunity to network with other industry professionals and to stay abreast on all current recreation industry trends. The VRPS conference is for recreation professionals located within Virginia and its surrounding areas.

As described on their website, “This is the 65th VRPS Annual Conference. It is one of the fastest growing regions on the East Coast, and gives you the opportunity to rub elbows with recognized leaders in our field from throughout our state and across the country in over 80+ amazing educational sessions. With four days packed with ideas and information, this is the most affordable and dynamic learning opportunity in the state.” – Kirk Kincannon, co-chair, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Authority & Cindy Roeder, co-chair, Director, Herndon Parks and Recreation Department.

I enjoyed the sessions, the variety of speakers, the swag bags, the great connections, the socials, and the time away from the office and away from my normal schedule. I also plan to attend the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Conference at the end of this month!

My experience this year as well as past years has always been memorable and educational. I’ve sat in conference sessions with speakers from various backgrounds who provide useful knowledge and practices for all recreation specialists and supervisors. The atmosphere is always inviting and my industry peers are welcoming and available for networking opportunities.

I got the chance to exchange and share information on a variety of topics with professionals from Virginia Beach, Hanover, Goochland, Richmond, Williamsburg, and many Northern Virginia jurisdictions like Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun!

This year was particularly exciting as one of the conference presenters was our very own Marketing Manager, Jason Shriner! Jason was the first staff member from our Department to present at the state conference. To see a coworker present important and pertinent content to the conference made me proud to be a part of the Department. Seeing the 70 plus attendees walk out of his session not only informed, but taking away materials with our logo and information was awesome.

Being such a small jurisdiction amongst larger ones like Virginia Beach and Fairfax made me realize that what we do here is as important and significant as any other recreation department, big or small. It’s always a great time to attend and I encourage any industry professional or college student looking to be a part of the recreation industry to attend an annual conference, and say yes to the VRPS!

Mike Arrington is the Recreation Specialist for Athletics for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at (703) 335-8872 or via email at

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