2021 Leadership Summit Top Takeaways

2021 Leadership Summit

What a year it has been. Thankfully, as an industry we were able to gather in-person once again at the 2021 Campus Rec Leadership Summit.

The 2.5-day event brought about much needed in-person connection. Campus rec professionals traveled from across the nation to come together in Phoenix, Arizona.

Whether it was through an icebreaker kilt-making competition — complete with hilarious presentations of those kilts — or the in-depth roundtable discussions — tackling such topics like the mental health crisis, and diversity, equity and inclusion (EDI) — the networking opportunities between vendors and attendees were real and lasting.

In fact, the roundtables allotted for innovative takeaways and ideas that attendees walked away with:

Big Picture Items from the 2021 Leadership Summit

  • Mental health is just a piece of someone’s overall health and well-being.
  • We need to teach students the value of participating in our rec centers — i.e. like the impact pickup basketball can have.
  • The hybrid model is here to stay, even with staff training.
  • Marketing needs to reflect what your department stands for in terms of EDI. Plus, it works even better if you have a uniformed front with the rest of campus.
  • Well-being is a large concern; doing well-being checks with staff is key, especially as fall approaches and a lot is going to be asked of staff.
  • Boutique fitness has taken off. How can we create that in a massive rec center?
  • With minimum wage increases, the struggle to keep facilities open as often as possible is real.

Practical Solutions from the 2021 Leadership Summit

  • Have someone from your health and counseling center come and offer counseling sessions at the rec center. This way, students don’t have to make an appointment across campus but can schedule or drop in at one in the rec center.
  • Have outdoors staff take pictures and record their own adventures on TikTok. Create a sheet to hand out on what the adventure was, what skill level it was, what to take with you, etc.
  • Provide adaptive programming, like adaptive climbing or wheelchair basketball. You may or may not have students who need it but having these programs can make others aware and look through the lens of another’s perspective.
  • Operate from a place of vulnerability and humility as a leader. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not sure” in your conversations.
  • Create an illusion of choice with the rec fee — offer different levels of membership, from the most basic level to memberships that include more access or program benefits.

However, the Summit and the ideas that came from it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing sponsors of the event: premier sponsor Matrix; diamond sponsors Ecore, Freemotion, GameTime, InnoSoft Fusion, Keiser, Rec Automation, Sasaki, SportsArt, Technogym; and platinum sponsors Aacer, American Council on Exercise, BeaverFit, Dynamic Strength and Fitness, Eleiko, Human Touch, S3 Design, TRUE Fitness/Octane Fitness and Turf Tank. Thank you for bringing the industry together again.

And if you missed out on this year’s Summit, don’t worry! The 2022 Campus Rec Leadership Summit will be here before you know it. It’s happening June 15-17 at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage in Rancho Mirage, California. New attendee and sponsor spots will open July 19, 2021. Email carrie@peakemedia.com for more details.

Images by Hailey Hunter

Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at heather@peakemedia.com.

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Campus Rec Magazine