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AB Show 2016: Thankful for the Chance to Share Ideas

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Nothing helps transition back into office life after the whirl and excitement of another Athletic Business Show quite like a three-day workweek (apologies to our audience in Canada!). But even as I look forward to a day of good food and family, I’m reminded of some of the new ideas shared among recreation professionals at a revenue roundtable seminar hosted by Jeff King and Ken Ballard of Ballard*King Consultants.

At a table devoted to discussing new programming ideas hosted by Jenise Jensen of the Breckenridge, Colo., recreation department, one of the most attention-grabbing was the discussion of holiday workout events. While many recreation and fitness facilities are closed or offer limited hours during the holidays, others are opening their doors for special holiday workouts. Beyond Turkey Trots or a T-Day 5k, some programs have launched pre-meal boot camps or workout classes aimed at sweating off a couple hundred calories before the big feast.

“Not that we’re advocating for overeating,” stressed one rec professional. “It’s just the reality of the holiday season.” Instead, the purpose is to keep holiday revelers cognizant of their health during the season of indulgences. It’s also about bringing together a community. While some programs charge a fee for the special exercise session, others build a food drive or other fundraiser around the experience.

The idea was new and exciting to some participants, while others were reminded of similar events in their own programs. The conversation transitioned from pre-holiday workouts to New Year’s Eve family events, snow-pitch softball, Nerf gun parties for adults and glow-in-the dark fitness classes. A good chunk of time was spent discussing how to get older adults more active by integrating non-fitness programming into memberships, such as art classes and games.

Simple as they were, these new programming ideas were taken in eagerly by the recreation professionals at the table. It was a wonderful experience to take part in and makes me appreciate even more my own role in enabling the sharing of ideas between professionals in the recreation, fitness and athletics industries.

There are no pre-turkey boot camps taking place near me this Thursday (not this year, anyway!), but as I sit down with my own family, I’ll be thinking of the wonderful group of recreation professionals who are spending their Thanksgiving exploring new ways to better serve their members and communities.

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