Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Front Page - CON­TRIB­UTED

The Town of Maple Creek and Cy­press Hills Des­ti­na­tion Area Inc. hosted the Saskatchew­an Parks & Re­cre­ation As­so­ci­a­tion (SPRA) provin­cial con­fer­ence, bring­ing ap­prox­i­mately 200 peo­ple to the com­mu­nity over the course of four days.

The con­fer­ence's sold-out tradeshow took place at the Maple Creek Ar­moury, with ple­nary ses­sions tak­ing place at the Maple Creek Le­gion Hall, and con­cur­rent ses­sions tak­ing place at the Jasper Cul­tural & His­tor­i­cal Cen­tre, Saint Mary's An­gli­can Church Par­ish Hall, and the S.W. Sask. Old­timers' Log Mu­seum.

The an­nual SPRA ban­quet and awards gala was held at the Re­sort at Cy­press Hills.

The theme of this year's con­fer­ence was "Re­cre­ation Round-Up" which paid homage to the western her­itage of the host area, as well as the con­cept of “round­ing-up” the broader and more in­clu­sive forms of re­cre­ation al­luded to in the re­newed def­i­ni­tion of re­cre­ation within “A Frame­work for Re­cre­ation in Canada 2015 – Path­ways to Well­be­ing”:

“Re­cre­ation is the ex­pe­ri­ence that re­sults from freely cho­sen par­tic­i­pa­tion in phys­i­cal, so­cial, in­tel­lec­tual, cre­ative and spir­i­tual pur­suits that en­hance in­di­vid­ual and com­mu­nity well­be­ing.”

Given this broader def­i­ni­tion of re­cre­ation, and that re­cre­ation vol­un­teers and pro­fes­sion­als are be­ing called upon to play in­creas­ingly broader roles within their com­mu­ni­ties; the 2018 SPRA Con­fer­ence ex­plored new ways of defin­ing re­cre­ation and the role of re­cre­ation prac­ti­tion­ers.

The con­fer­ence also ex­plored how re­cre­ation, more broadly de­fined, man­i­fests it­self in all facets of com­mu­nity life, in­clud­ing non-tra­di­tional re­cre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties such as the arts, cul­ture, her­itage, tourism and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment.

As case-stud­ies for con­fer­ence del­e­gates, many of the con­fer­ence's con­cur­rent ses­sions fea­tured Maple Creek and area res­i­dents shar­ing ex­am­ples of how they have en­deav­oured to cul­ti­vate non-tra­di­tional re­cre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties for vis­i­tors and res­i­dents. 20 of the con­fer­ence's 35 con­cur­rent ses­sion speak­ers were Maple Creek and area res­i­dents.

Their pre­sen­ta­tions ranged from dis­cus­sions about the Bat­tle of the Lit­tle Big Puck, Cow­boy Po­etry, art, pho­tog­ra­phy, mu­sic, Goat Yoga, and the Maple Creek CiB pro­gram, to liv­ing her­itage, tourism de­vel­op­ment, the ther­a­peu­tic use of horses, and street fes­ti­vals held in the Maple Creek Her­itage Dis­trict.

Maple Creek is the small­est com­mu­nity to have hosted this provin­cial con­fer­ence, and all in­di­ca­tions are that the con­fer­ence was a great suc­cess.

It is hoped that that the suc­cess of the con­fer­ence, along with the area's unique­ness as a con­fer­ence venue, will spark more in­ter­est in host­ing con­fer­ences and events here in Maple Creek and the Cy­press Hills in the fu­ture.

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