SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

Closing session to feature keynote speaker, Haben Girma, and drumming duo, A1 Chops  

Ashburn, Va. (May 29, 2019) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), today, announced that the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, Sept. 24-26, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, will include a special closing session, Thursday, Sept. 26, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., that will feature a keynote presentation by Haben Girma, the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, and a musical performance by A1 Chops, a drumming duo founded by Baltimore natives, Malik Perry and Timothy Fletcher, who appeared on The Ellen Show earlier this year.

“This year, we are excited to include a closing session as part of our annual conference,” said Jack Kardys, chair, NRPA Board of Directors. “With the addition of Haben, Malik and Timothy, who will draw attention to the importance of equity and inclusion in all aspects of life, attendees will walk away from the conference feeling inspired to drive positive change in their communities and beyond.”

Haben, who travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion, believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. An advocate for equal opportunities for people with disabilities, Haben was named a “White House Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama and received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, along with a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Furthermore, as a result of her work, she was internationally recognized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chancellor Angela Merkel. President Bill Clinton honored her, as well. Haben’s first book, “Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law,” will be published this summer.   

Formed in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2014, the group, A1 Chops, has performed twice for the NFL and appeared multiple times on The Ellen Show, where they once performed for musical legend Pharrell Williams. Perry and Fletcher were featured on Ellen’s digital original series, “The Build Up,” season one, as well. In addition, the group has performed alongside rapper Young Dolph and opened for rapper Tory Lanez. Recently, the drumming duo performed at Jerry Seinfeld’s son’s bar mitzvah. When they’re not performing, Perry and Fletcher like to visit Baltimore-area schools, where they encourage and inspire youth to follow their dreams and make them a reality.

More than 8,000 park and recreation professionals, and advocates, from across the country will gather for the conference, which will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center. Cal Ripken, Jr., known as baseball’s “Iron Man,” will deliver the keynote address, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at the opening general session. In addition to the NRPA general session and closing session, the conference will include more than 200 education sessions, including 12 education tracks that attendees can choose from.

Early-bird registration for the annual conference ends Aug. 2, 2019. 

To register, visit www.nrpa.org/conference/registration.

To learn more about the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, visit www.nrpa.org/conference.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.

About the National Recreation and Park Association 
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.