18 Pre-Conference

164 Sessions

300+ Exhibitors

Photo Credit:

City of Chicago courtesy of Choose Chicago

About The Conference /2020 Soaring to New Heights

As the premier state conference for parks and recreation, forest preserves and conservation agencies in Illinois, the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights conference brings together more than 4,200 professionals and elected officials for three exciting days of quality educational programming, networking and professional development.  Featuring over 160 educational sessions and workshops, and an exhibit hall where more than 300 exhibitors showcase their latest and greatest products and services, the 2020 conference is THE place to be!  Mark your calendars now and plan to join us at the Hyatt Regency Chicago next January for this exceptional event!

All Images © 2019 JHyde Photography

2019 Conference Sponsors /Thank You For Your Support!

Become a sponsor

2020 Preliminary Program /Coming Soon!

Get the insight you need and find the learning you seek with a first-class educational program filled with inspirational presentations, real-world case studies, peer exchange and access to leading solution providers. To view and download the 2019 Conference Final Program, click on the brochure image to the right.

Interested in contributing to the program? The 2020 Call for Proposals has ended. However, you can learn more about the submission process when the 2021 Call for Proposals opens in January.

Career Development Symposium /Brian Blasko/January 24, 2019

Building Your Team Foundation

One person is an individual… Two people are a couple…Three or more people together become a group…but only the “successful” can become a team! Come join Brian Blasko as he takes us on an adventure into the world of effective Team Building. If you want your employees to feel comfortable with each other and know how to understand one another, then this is the workshop for you! Brian’s workshop will provide you the skills, strategies, and techniques necessary to work positively with staff in your organization and customers and clients you see daily.

This high-energy workshop will take you on an unforgettable journey into the mind of the 4×4, Volvo, sports car and minivan. Come find out what vehicle you are!

On this adventure you will learn the characteristics and attributes of these four general personalities and this workshop will show you how to interact effectively with every team member, customer, and coworker you see daily.

Participants will also be able to:
• Learn the positive benefits of Interdependency
• Learn about the four personality styles you see daily
• Learn how to deal with “team apprehension”
• Learn how to overcome team dysfunctions
• Learn how to build trust, rapport and credibility with others
• Stay motivated to create a positive team environment
• Learn how to resolve team conflict
• Understand the uniqueness of team communication vs. perception

Keynote Speaker /Greg Schwem/January 26, 2019

Rock, Roll, and Laugh Your Way to the Top

Greg Schwem knows a thing or two about rock and roll. As a comedian who has opened concerts for stars such as Keith Urban, Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, and (wait for it) KC and the Sunshine Band, Greg has seen how rock and roll is really a business. Like the business of running the best agency possible! In short? Every park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency, and employee within that agency, has “rock star” potential.

Greg shows you how to achieve that potential in a highly motivational presentation that combines hilarious comedy, live concert footage and a musical soundtrack featuring everything from classic rock to country western to Lollapalooza. Topics include “Why Every Office Needs a Keith Richards,” “Are you Team Taylor or Team Kanye?” and “Don’t Let Your Park District Become a Country Song.” Rock on, IAPD & IPRA members!

Event Location

Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 E. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312.565.1234

Get Directions

Illinois Association of Park Districts
211 E. Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1186
Phone: 217-523-4554

IPRA Logo_Small

Illinois Park and Recreation Association
536 East Avenue
La Grange, IL 60525-6815
Phone: 708-588-2280