Thursday, May 5th Keynote Speaker: Ben Klasky

The 2016 annual conference will continue on Thursday, May 5th with a keynote speech on the topic "The Power of Getting Kids Outside."

We are pleased and honored to welcome Ben Klasky, CEO of IslandWood on Bainbridge Island and our Thursday keynote speaker!

Mr. Klasky’s work at IslandWood gives him the opportunity to work daily on two of his greatest passions - education and the outdoors. Each year, IslandWood's 200+ staff and volunteers teach thousands of urban children using nature as a classroom. Many of these kids have never hiked in the woods or walked on a beach before participating in IslandWood. IslandWood boosts the students academically, builds their self-confidence and helps them tackle challenges in their communities.

Mr. Klasky believes that in order to change the world, an organization must be prepared to change with the world. Thus IslandWood is adding two new initiatives to its current flagship programs. First, a city-based program is addressing the fact that 80% of children now live in or near urban settings. This program will develop a new generation of educators to connect children with urban nature. Second, a "Nature Passport" smartphone app is leveraging cutting-edge technology to drive children off their couches to play and explore outside.

Ben also teaches a graduate course on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington, and seminars in Nonprofit Management through Seattle Pacific University. He has been appointed by two different Governors as an advisor to boost Washington's education system, environment and economy.

Please join us for Mr. Klasky’s inspiring presentation on “The Power of Getting Kids Outside!”

The Power of Getting Kids Outside: Less screen time, more green time!

As recreation and park professionals, we are in the perfect roles to help children and adults reduce rates of heart disease, MS, obesity, depression, and some forms of cancer. Ben will talk about how in one generation, outdoor time has been cut in half, while obesity has tripled and Ritalin usage has skyrocketed 3000%. How inmates and chickens spend more time outside than many kids—and what we can do about it. Join us to learn surprising information about the health, educational, and environmental benefits of spending time outdoors.

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