Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

November 2021

Aquatic Groups to Co-Locate Conferences to Expand Reach

The Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP) and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) announced the co-location of their flagship conferences in 2023 and 2024. The events will take place side-by-side at the same location beginning in February 2023 at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.

“AOAP has always tried to be that one-stop-shop for aquatic professionals, and this just adds another layer,” said Juliene Hefter, executive director of the AOAP. “We’re looking at what we can do to get that drowning prevention message out there, and we’ll do some items with each other: panel discussions, social events and the exhibit hall.”

For more than a decade, the AOAP Conference has been an educational gathering for aquatic professionals, gathering more than 800 attendees, including health inspectors, building code officials, aquatic facility managers and others. The event provides the latest technical, practical and hands-on education designed to improve drowning prevention, aquatic programming, team leadership and training, risk management, technical operations and overall facility management.

In addition to the partnership the NDPA beginning in 2023, AOAP also partners with Diversity in Aquatics, an organization that aims to empower communities to have equitable access to quality aquatic opportunities. In 2022, the Diversity in Aquatics Conference will take place Feb. 9 to 12, immediately following the AOAP Conference, which takes place Feb. 6 to 10 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

AOAP is also partnering with Watershape University and the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC) to provide additional educational programming at the 2022 conference.

Of the NDPA partnership, Hefter said it’s exciting to get the programs together. “We try to collaborate with everybody,” she said. “It’s nice to see we’ll be getting so many groups in one spot at the same time and working with them to ensure we’re meeting the needs of all the aquatic professionals. In 2022, we’ll have a NIRSA track, MAHC tract and we’re also working with WaterShape University.”

Looking ahead to 2023, the NDPA’s annual conference will be added to the lineup of opportunities for aquatic professionals as well. The event began as a small symposium in 2001, and has grown to encompass days of education, training, networking and a robust lineup of speakers.

“The natural pairing of the NDPA and AOAP’s events at one singular location is a win for everyone in water safety,” said Dr. Adam Katchmarchi, executive director of the NDPA. “Both organizations’ attendees play a key and active role in drowning prevention and water safety in the U.S. and beyond. Co-locating the conferences over the same dates and at the same location will provide unimaginable collaboration and innovation.”

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to register for both events in 2023 at discounted rates.

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