Access Rec Spring Conference: Thursday, April 5th

Beyond networking — we’re building the relationships that promote collaboration.

Access Rec conferences are a mix of professional development and planting seeds of collaboration. This community of practice is dedicated to improving and enhancing recreation opportunities for people with disabilities — together. Join us for a day of learning, brainstorming, and meeting people who GET what you do!

Thursday, April 5th
7:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

at the Hilton Garden Inn
450 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA**

Click here to register!

CEUs Available!*

General Session

We Have the Cause, Volunteers Have the Effect: Strategically Engaging Volunteers to Maximize Your Impact

" "Presented by Lisl Hacker, Director of Training and Technical Assistance at the Massachusetts Service Alliance

Research has shown that organizations that fundamentally leverage volunteers and their skills across all leadership levels and in all departments are more adaptable, sustainable, and capable of scaling their impact when compared to peer organizations and, as a result, are better able to deliver on their social mission. More specifically, nonprofits that successfully engage volunteers are as effective as their peers without volunteers, but at almost half the median budget. In order to leverage volunteers effectively, organizations must have strong systems in place to manage volunteers effectively. This workshop will share information and tools to help organization reenvision how they utilize the skills and time of volunteers as well as examples of systems that support effective overall volunteer engagement.

Morning Breakout Sessions

Risk Management: Ten Practices to Create a Culture of Safety

Barbara Schneider waves her right hand while competing in a cycling road racePresented by Barbara Schneider, Esq.

Providers of recreational opportunities for people with serve vulnerable populations; we must be especially mindful of creating a “culture of safety” within our organizations. Whether you are running competitive outdoor sporting events or managing an afterschool program, in organizations large and small, risk management is critical to the success of your mission. Incidents are rarely black and white, and judgment plays a significant role in how situations are managed. However, by looking at both internal and external factors, and developing systems to guide that process, organizations can build a culture of safety.

Community Access to The Arts – Making Radical Inclusion Possible

" "" "Presented by Margaret Keller & Jeff Gagnon

How can you create a culture of “radical inclusion” –one that allows individuals to fully participate, explore, and develop, from wherever their starting point may be? And how can the arts provide both an opportunity and a framework for this inclusivity? We’ll explain Community Access to The Arts (CATA) top tips for success, detailing an arts-centered, individualized approach to instruction that draws from the principles of Universal Design for learning and from CATA’s own 25-year history serving hundreds of artists with a diverse range of disabilities and abilities, including individuals with developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities, and autism.

Understanding and Challenging Ableism to Create Inclusive Programming

" "Presented by Jeff Lafata and EPIC Trainers

This interactive workshop will assist participants in examining ableism and how this system of oppression impacts their lives and work. Participants will take the knowledge gained and begin to set action plans to address ableism in their work in order to strengthen the services they provide.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Disability and Access to the Outdoor Environment

" "Facilitated by David Lee, CTRS/L

Working with Individuals with disabilities in outdoor environments can be challenging. Take away accessible routes and pavement, and add in natural features, and now it may be overwhelming. Identify solutions to these settings and learn how to get your clients participating in their environment of choice. Bring your hiking equipment solutions to share!

The Goldilocks Effect: How to engage your board so everyone is fulfilled and not frustrated

" "Presented by Angela Lett, CFRE

Do your board members know what they’re doing? Do you know what they should be doing? Are you expecting too much? Too little? Are they expecting too much or too little? We’ll review the life cycle of a nonprofit board and identify key issues to focus on with your board depending on your current organizational stage. We’ll also focus on best practices for making sure your board is actively working to make your organization successful.

Creating and Implementing Social Stories and Other Visual Supports in Recreation Settings

" "Presented by Kelsey Shannon, M.S., CCC-SLP

Come learn about visual supports and how they can be used to increase comprehension and participation with clients on the autism spectrum as well as others. This session will provide an overview of visual supports through the lens of autism and its underlying neurology. We will also take a deeper look into what social stories are, how they are used well (and not!), and the basic principles of writing them. Attendees will then be able to participate in a hands-on portion of the workshop to write their own social stories and get feedback from peers.

Para-Sport Programs: Identification and recruitment of participants who have a visual or physical impairment

" "Hosted by Adaptive Sports New England

We invite organizations that serve Para sport athletes (individuals who have a visual impairment or a mobility/physical impairment) to discuss how we can collaborate on current and future participant identification, communication, recruitment and retention.


More to come!


  • Facilitated and open networking time
  • Executive Director Roundtable (Only one person from each organization may attend this session)
  • Exhibitor hall
  • “Lightning Round” mini-sessions after lunch
  • Post-conference networking in the lounge

Schedule at a Glance

  • Networking Breakfast, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
    • Exhibitor Hall opens
    • Executive Director Roundtable
  • General Session 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Breakout Sessions 10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
  • Lunch & Facilitated Networking 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
    • ASNE hosts: Recruiting Para-Sport Athletes
    • Lightning Round sessions
  • Breakout Sessions 1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
  • Networking/Social 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

*The American Therapeutic Recreation Association has approved all breakout session CEUs as a Category B CEU Opportunity. Please Note:  Category B CEUS are not automatically accepted for credit by NCTRC, it is the individual attendee’s responsibility to retain documentation of sessions attended to demonstrate the relevance of the session content to the NCTRC Job Analysis.

**Ample, free parking is available. The Hilton Garden Inn is accessible via MBTA Bus #70 from Central Square or Express Bus #170 from Dudley Station; the closest stop is at 440 Totten Pond Road.


Registration Info

Click here to register

Access Rec Members*:$ 65
Non-members: $90
Undergraduate Students: $35
Graduate Students: $50

Not yet a member? Join here

*Remember, Organizational members can send up to three staff at the member rate! Fourth and subsequent staff register at the non-member rate. Want more information on membership? Contact Chenine Peloquin at


If you need an accommodation, please let us know as soon as possible and no later than two weeks before the event. If ASL interpreters are needed, it is best if we have four weeks lead time. We may not be able to accommodate last-minute requests.


Exhibitor Info

Connect with leadership from over 50 local and regional organizations providing adaptive, inclusive, and therapeutic recreation services! If you are interested in exhibiting your product/service at the Access Rec Fall Conference, please contact Chenine Peloquin at for details.