How can Yates Field House provide innovative recreation opportunities for our students and members? What does it take for our student employees to become true campus leaders? How can Georgetown’s recreational services enhance the physical, mental, AND spiritual well-being of the university and surrounding community?
These were some of the inquiries examined by nine Yates Field House professional staff members last week at the 2017 NIRSA National Conference. The conference, held by the National Intramural-Recreational Sport Association (NIRSA), brought together over 3,300 collegiate recreation professionals from across the United States and Canada. Along with smaller, program-specific institutes, NIRSA hosts an annual national conference each spring, which is held in a different city every year. This year, the NIRSA National Conference was held in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of Washington, D.C.
With the conference in our own backyard, Yates Field House was given the opportunity to shine. Our very own Bethany Bower, Director of Aquatics and Risk Management at Yates, organized for Yates to be included in a pre-conference tour of local recreation facilities. The day before the conference began, about 100 recreation professionals from different schools came to Georgetown to tour the Yates Field House and Thompson Athletic Center facilities. As a member of the conference host committee, Bower assisted in the planning and execution of many other conference events including a polar bear plunge in the Potomac River and the host committee information station at the conference venue.
“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Host Committee and work alongside my colleagues from local institutions and NIRSA staff was amazing,” Bower said of her experience. “As a member of the Host Committee, I was able to be a part of the planning of pre-conference tours and show off some of the amazing campus rec facilities we have in the area.” Bower led a group of NIRSA attendees on a second tour to recreation facilities at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Maryland at College Park.
“[At the conference] I attended many great sessions on leadership within campus recreation, but learned much by just chatting and sharing ideas with my colleagues from Institutions around the US and Canada,” Bower continued. She was not the only Yates staff member to get the most out of building relationships with other conference attendees. “Talking to recreation professionals and students and seeing the things they are doing on their campus was really inspiring,” said Yates Marketing Coordinator Michele Guthrie. “I’m excited to cater those ideas to our own university community and Yates Field House members.”
Equipped with new knowledge from the NIRSA National Conference, Yates Field House staff (ten of which are NIRSA professional members) strives to continue improving the overall experience of Campus Recreation at Georgetown University.