Parks-rec professionals meet in Homer this week

Parks and recreation professionals from across the state are in Homer this week for the 40th annual conference of the Alaska Recreation and Park Association, or ARPA.

The theme of the conference is “Be the Difference.” The conference kicked off Wednesday evening with the ARPA board meeting and a social at the Second Star, the luxury lodge and event venue on Kachemak Drive.

This morning the group is scheduled to hear from keynote speaker Christine Byl, author of “Dirt Work,” an account of her apprenticeship on a National Park trail crew and what she discovered about nature, gender and the value of hard work.”

The conference includes a variety of educational sessions. 

Gov. Bill Walker and First Lady Donna Walker will attend the conference awards banquet Friday night.

There are several post-conference events, including a fun run Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m., a program on accessibility in school sports and a training designed to increase parks and rec advocacy in Alaska communities.