The 73rd Great Lakes Park Training Institute (GLPTI) was held February 24-28 at its traditional location at Pokagon State Park. First held at Pokagon’s Potawatomi Inn in 1947, GLPTI is the oldest continuously-running training conference for parks professionals in the nation. Over 275 people attended this year’s conference, the highest attendance in over a decade.
● Four individuals were awarded Garrett G. Eppley Scholarships to attend the Institute. The scholarships, which are named for Dr. Garrett Eppley, cover GLPTI registration fees for up-and-coming park professionals in exchange for five volunteer hours during the event. The 2020 scholarship winners are Gail Fitch, Nicholas Sufana, Joseph Themel, and Mark Wagner.
● Park, Facility, or Program Awards were given to the City of Blue Ash (OH) for Summit Park, and to Centerville-Washington (OH) Park District for their Forest Field Park Redevelopment.
● Summit Park is a 130-acre regional park featuring four restaurants, a quarter-acre glass canopy, rental rooms, a great lawn, an observation tower, a performance stage, an ice-skating rink, a contemporary playground, and a natural playscape.
● Centerville-Washington redeveloped an outdated community park, adding new paths and restrooms and creating a playground design that merged manufactured equipment with the natural elements of the surrounding environment.
The Institute’s highest individual honor is the Richard Lawson Award for Professional Excellence. The Lawson Award is given annually to individuals who exemplify continued and significant contributions to the parks and recreation profession in the Great Lakes region.
● The 2019 Lawson Award winner is Chuck Szoke.
The 2020 Institute also featured the Playground Maintenance Technician (PMT) certification program. PMT, offered through a partnership between the Eppley Institute and the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), has trained over 2,500 participants in 20 states and internationally. An updated curriculum was introduced at GLPTI that will be used nationwide. 18 participants completed this training.
The 74th Great Lakes Park Training Institute is planned for February 23-26, 2021.