NRPA Directors School 2019

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Directors School LogoThe NRPA Directors School is an exclusive two-year professional development opportunity that prepares new and potential park and recreation directors to be effective leaders. Students who complete the program will leave with the knowledge and confidence to face emerging challenges, improve operations and maximize positive impact on their communities.

August 18-22, 2019

Hyatt Lodge Oak Brook, Illinois

2019 Schedule

Year One Students

Year one students must first apply, then register for the school.

Apply For Year One

Year Two Students

Only students who have completed year one can register for year two.

Register For Year Two

Scholarship Opportunities

Toro Scholarships

ToroFive $975 year-one student and five $975 year-two student scholarships are available through the generosity of The Toro Company and The Toro Foundation. Applications will be accepted until June 14, 2019. Notifications will be made by June 21. 2019.

Apply Now

John C. Potts Scholarships

The AIPE/American Academy Foundation will be accepting applications for the John C. Potts Leadership Development Scholarship for the 2020 Directors School in the Spring of 2020.

 

Key Subjects Covered

Leadership Development           

  • Building a Responsive Team
  • Leadership for Diversity and Cultural Awareness
  • Developing a new generation of park and recreation directors
  • Creating a High-Performance Agency
  • Community Leadership

Strategy              

  • Creating a Strategy Focused Organization
  • Creating a Data Driven Organization
  • Going from Information to Inspiration    

Budget and Finance       

  • Business Management Strategies for Financial Stability
  • Philanthropic Funding for Capital Projects and Programming
  • Developing Capital Improvements Programs and Financing
  • Developing Financial Plans and Solutions
  • Leveraging Outside Plans and Solutions

Directors Role in the Political Environment        

  • Navigating Successfully in a Political Environment
  • Building Resilient Communities
  • Director's Role in Advocacy
  • Directors Role in Community Development
  • Conservation

Responding to Changing Communities 

  • Responding to Community Needs
  • Environmental Sustainability and Climate
  • Crisis Management
  • Three Pillars Defining the Future
  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Parks and Recreation as a Partner in Community Health

 

Who Should Attend?

This two-year program is perfect for

  • Current park or recreation directors;
  • Current park or recreation assistant/deputy directors; and
  • Mid-level managers being groomed for a park and recreation director position.

 

What Do Graduates Say?

“To reach my goal to become a P&R Director and compete in the ultra-competitive recruitment process, I needed every edge possible. Directors School helped me gain that edge. It provided me basic knowledge and tools to use, demonstrated to the hiring City Manager that I was dedicated to the industry and gave me the confidence to share my skills at the highest level. If it’s your desire to become a P&R Director, you should be at this school.” --former participant

“This has been an awesome and wonderful experience. I only wish I had attended sooner. The classmates, instructors, accommodations and observers were great. The diversity of the school is an invaluable asset as practices, views, philosophies, differences, and commonalities are all brought together for the enrichment of all. My spark is now a healthy flame that is burning bright and hot and my aim is to re-light the flame in those I manage and lead in hopes of motivating in spite of our challenges. Thank you NRPA for a wonderful experience.” --former participant

“The expertise offered during Directors School is exceptional and the networking opportunity is invaluable.” --former participant

For more information about the program content, contact customer service at customerservice@nrpa.org

CANCELLATION POLICY: A cancellation fee of $100 will be charged for cancellation at any time up to 30 days prior to the school. No refunds will be offered for cancellation requests received after July 26, 2019 except in cases of military deployment, or medical emergency, which must be documented. If documented, a registration credit will be applied towards the 2020 Directors School registration fees.  


Jesús Aguirre

Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Jesús Aguirre has served as the Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation since June 2015. Aguirre began his career as a middle school science teacher in Los Angeles in the 1990s and most recently, served as the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. Prior to that role, Aguirre served as the director of the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation. Aguirre is a proud father of three children attending public schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the WP Carey School of Business at the Arizona State University.

Bobbi Nance

President, Recreation Results

Bobbi Nance is the founder of Recreation Results where she helps teams find value in their data, capitalize on trends, implement strategy, and push innovative thinking to increase their impact in the communities where they work. Bobbi's presented hundreds of workshops across North America all focused on breaking down complex topics and sharing practical approaches to putting them to use.

Carolyn McKnight, CPRP

President and CEO, Eagle Methods, LLC

Most recently served as the CEO of the Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation Department. Served over 26 years in various governmental and non-profit entities. Served as Executive General Manager for the Business Development and Procurement Services, Director of Fleet and Facilities Services, Assistant Department Director of Park and Recreation and Interim Director of Aviation for the City of Dallas, Texas. She managed financial affairs for large and mid-size units ranging from $55 million to $170 million-dollars.

Barbara Heller

Senior Consultant, BerryDunn

Barbara Heller is a Senior Consultant/Practice Lead for Parks and Recreation with BerryDunn, starting in June 2019.  Previously she was President of Heller and Heller Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in state and local government, primarily in the parks and recreation industry.  Her areas of specialty include: strategic planning, master planning, service quality assessments, operational/organizational reviews, leadership development, facilitation of public input processes, and staff training with clients all over the United States. 

She has additional consulting experience with Sasaki Associates and PROS Consulting and has been performing client focused consulting engagements for 13 years. 

Previous to consulting experience, Barbara spent over 30 years working at the local government level with a variety of park systems.   She was the Executive Director of the Naperville Park District and Elk Grove, Park District, both in Illinois. Heller has held other positions with municipal government organizations in Arlington, TX, Montgomery County, MD and Prince William County, VA.  

Her education background includes a master’s degree in public administration from the American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University.  

She has presented at state and national conferences for the last 25 years.

Michael Kirschman

City of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department

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Dr. Ana M. Alvarez

Deputy General Manager, East Bay Regional Park District

Ana M. Alvarez serves as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the East Bay Regional Park District, the largest local park agency in the United States with 25 million visitors per year in the San Francisco Bay Area. She leads cross-disciplinary efforts in planning for a new generation of parklands, strategic organizational adaptation and climate resiliency.  Ana contributes to the local, state and national conversations on the role of parks today in addressing complex issues. Her professional accomplishments epitomize proactive and meaningful civic engagement, community building based on public’s trust and sustainability planning based on science, which she believes are paramount for the vibrancy of healthy communities. 

Janet Bartnik, CPRP

Director of Parks and Recreation, Liberty Parks and Recreation

Early in her tenure in Liberty, Janet Bartnik displayed her talent for developing innovative partnerships by engaging four community partners in a project to study and strategically plan to address childhood obesity through a Healthy Communities Research Group project. She has worked with the Liberty Park Board to develop a new vision, mission, and capital project plan for the Department and has worked with the Liberty Parks and Recreation Charitable Fund to receive public charity status.

For a decade prior to joining Liberty's team, Bartnik was the Director in Raymore, MO, a fast-growing community of 15,000 south of Kansas City. Janet has been aggressive in seeking alternative strategies for funding, land acquisition, and had developed a recreation program for Raymore which had previously only had parks.

Janet's commitment to the field of Parks and Recreation is evident in her involvement with a wide range of professional associations. She has served the profession in the following capacities:

• MPRA – President 2011-12, Board Member, Study and Research Chair, Long Range Planning Committee, Leadership Development Institute Charter Regent
• NRPA – Administrators Network Chair 2015-16, Annual Conference Program Committee 2016-present
• American Academy for Parks and Recreation Administration member
• Board of Regents, Rocky Mountain Revenue and Management School for 5 years, Chair in 2012
• Lyle B Beaver Leadership Development Institute Board of Regents
• Member of the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and campus visitor

Bartnik holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and an M.S. in Sport Management from Virginia Tech University.

Seth Hendler-Voss, RLA

Director, Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Seth Hendler-Voss is the Parks and Recreation Director for Prince William County, Virginia. Hendler-Voss came to Prince William County from Canton, NC, where he served as the Town Manager. While there, he led several successful parks and recreation initiatives and community development programs, raised more than $3 million in private donations and grants, and obtained a $350,000 grant from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Previously, Hendler-Voss worked as the Principal Landscape Architect and then the Planning and Development Manager for the City of Asheville's Parks and Recreation Department. Before that, he worked as the Principal Landscape Architect for the City of Atlanta's Office of Park Design.

Mark J. Maciha, Ed.D.

Director, Park Ranger Training Program

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Lemuel P. Randolph

Director, Parks and Recreation Department, Arlington, TX

Lemuel Randolph came to Arlington in 2014 from the City of McKinney where he served as the Director of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces. With a total of 20 years of experience directing municipal parks and recreation departments, Randolph has also worked for the cities of Missouri City, Sugar Land and San Bernardino.

Randolph was named parks director in McKinney in 2007. Under his leadership, the city opened the first phase of Bonnie Wenk Park, featuring the city's first dog park, hike-and-bike trails, a 30,000-square-foot skate park. He also supervised an agreement with Plano Sports Authority to create a 90,000-square-foot recreation building at Gabe Nesbitt Community Park.

Other accomplishments include the acquisition of more than 550 acres for future city parks and the development of 12 neighborhood parks, while at the City of McKinney.

Dirk Richwine

CAPRA Commissioner, NRPA Directors School Director

Philip Silva, PhD

Manager of Continuing Education and Evaluation, Institute of Urban Parks Central Parks Conservancy

Dr. Philip Silva is an environmental researcher, advocate, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Philip is the co-founder of TreeKIT, an initiative helping city dwellers measure, map, and collaboratively manage urban forests. He also works with Farming Concrete on efforts to help community gardeners throughout the world measure all the good things happening in their gardens. He is an essayist and podcast producer at The Nature of Cities, a website publishing original content on cities as ecological spaces, and he consults as a program evaluator for various urban agriculture initiatives in Brooklyn.

Philip has worked with many of New York City’s most celebrated environmental stewardship organizations, including Sustainable South Bronx, the Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Just Food, New York Restoration Project, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and Trees New York. He is a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and a certified practitioner of Dialogue Education.

A native of the City of Newark who grew up on the Jersey Shore, Philip is passionate about the history, ecology, and industrial landscape of the New York Harbor Region. Philip holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a masters degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School, where he currently serves as a part-time lecturer.

Maura E. Lout

Executive Director, Institute for Urban Parks Central Park Conservancy

Ms. Lout oversees the Institute’s work to provide thought leadership and professional development programming to urban park professionals. Prior to joining the Conservancy, she developed and managed strategy and programming for a variety of organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, The Museum of the City of New York and New Yorkers for Parks.

Kevin Roth, PhD

Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology, National Recreation and Park Association

Kevin A. Roth is NRPA's Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology. Kevin leads the research team in its mission to create valuable data and metrics that enhance park and recreation agency performance and make the case for increased and more stable agency funding. Kevin also guides the development of innovative in-person and online educational offerings for professionals that advance parks and recreation in their communities. He also oversees the team delivering IT and web services to the association.

Kevin has served in research and leadership functions in the nonprofit association space for more than two decades, including overseeing both research and IT at the Association for Financial Professionals for 13 years and conducting survey research at the National Association of Realtors for four years. Kevin has a Ph.D. in Economics from George Washington University and a BA in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Josh Yavelberg, PhD

Director of Professional Development; National Recreation and Park Association

Josh Yavelberg, Ph.D., is the Director of Professional Development for NRPA. His background has been in design and higher education, where he completed his degree from George Mason University. Josh focuses his attention toward developing educational experiences utilizing contemporary adult learning theories. Josh is highly interested in ePortfolios, educational games, and increasing engagement in lifelong learning aligned with individual career pathways.

Key:

Complete
Failed
Available
Locked
Year 1
Defining the Parks and Recreation "Why?
08/19/2019 at 8:30 AM (CDT)   |  150 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 8:30 AM (CDT)   |  150 minutes  |  Attendance Required What makes park and recreation the solution to conservation, health and wellness, and social equity? Why do we do the job that we do and what is its relevance? What do others care about and how do we address those needs? This session will explore the overall mission, vision, and values of parks and recreation.
Director's Role in Advocacy
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session explains the park and recreation agency director’s role as an advocate for the industry and what it means to be an advocate. The session will explore this role forming a distinction between “working in” versus “contributing to” the profession while forming relationships and working with key stakeholders and elected officials.
Director's Role in Community Development
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required Through master planning processes, incorporating identified community needs, park and recreation agencies serve as a centerpiece to neighborhood growth and revitalization. This session explains the park and recreation agency director’s role in urban planning and community development.
Strategic Planning
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session investigates the interconnectedness of mission, vision, and value statements with goal setting and assessment. The session will also investigate leadership strategies to assure all stakeholders are engaged and methods of assessing capacity and performance.
Developing a parks and recreation Master Plan
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session focuses on defining the nature and intent of a park and recreation master plan and its relationship with other plans. The session will discuss how to develop a master plan while engaging the community in the process with the goal of forming a strategy for implementation and financial management.
Business Management Strategies for Financial Stability
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session discusses the concepts of fiscal resource management and establishing a plan that is financially stable and prioritizes strategic initiatives. The session will include discussion of developing pricing models and best practices for inclusiveness, transparency, trust, and accountability.
Human Capital Management
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required Most park and recreation agencies spend half of their budget or more on labor costs. As a result, it is imperative to receive a good return on investment in employees as they are an organization’s most important asset. This session will investigate organizational culture and leadership principles for fostering effective teams and creating a performance-focused organization.
Responding to Community Need
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required Extending on the material discussed in “Creating a Data-Driven Organization,” this session discusses strategies for analyzing community need and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to make decisions aligned with the mission of park and recreation.
Creating a Data-Driven Organization
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required Data-driven decision making allows leaders to take calculated risks when planning for the future. This session will discuss what it means to be data-driven, how to make decisions based on data aligned with organizational strategy, and how to engage staff in the process.
Park Planning and Development
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session serves as a capstone session describing the planning and development of parks. This session investigates the design process of parks that relate to established master plans, standards, and other guidelines. The community input process, design, implementation, and budgetary and resource considerations will be discussed.
Economic Benefits of Parks and Recreation
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required Parks and recreation agencies impact the economy beyond the three pillars defined by NRPA. This session seeks to define the economic value of parks and recreation services and explain the public/private relationship of parks and recreation in attracting and training quality business and enhancing economic investment.
Crisis Management
05/23/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  75 minutes  |  Attendance Required
05/23/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  75 minutes  |  Attendance Required Good leaders have a plan for when things go wrong. This session discusses how leaders can prepare for routine emergencies and unprecedented crises and implement emergency plans that often require coordination between, staff, diverse agencies, and the community.
Year 1 Case Study Group Project
Graded as Pass/Fail | Due Date: 08/22/2019
Graded as Pass/Fail | Due Date: 08/22/2019 The Case Study Project is a team-based exercise that spans the entire week of the school. Students must work together to provide creative solutions to provided challenges based on their section.
Year 1 Completion Certificate
1.50 CEU credits  |  No certificate available
1.50 CEU credits  |  No certificate available Once you have attended all year 1 sessions and successfully completed the case study project, you will be granted your CEU credit and certificate of completion for Year 1 of Director's School.
Year 2
Defining the Parks and Recreation "Why?
08/19/2019 at 8:30 AM (CDT)   |  150 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 8:30 AM (CDT)   |  150 minutes  |  Attendance Required What makes park and recreation the solution to conservation, health and wellness, and social equity? Why do we do the job that we do and what is its relevance? What do others care about and how do we address those needs? This session will explore the overall mission, vision, and values of parks and recreation.
Driving Creativity and Innovation at Your Organization
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session explores what it means to be an innovative organization. The session will investigate leadership and organizational strategies that will foster creativity and innovation within the agency.
Developing a High-Performance Culture
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  1 day, 3 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session investigates workplace culture and the leadership challenges to maintaining a high-performance agency. The session will examine the traits necessary by executive leaders and strategies that may be implemented to form efficient, productive, responsive, and accountable park and recreation agencies. This session investigates the development of vision, values, and culture while developing leaders at all levels throughout your agency.
Director’s Role in Advocacy
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session explains the park and recreation agency director’s role as an advocate for the industry and what it means to be an advocate. The session will explore this role forming a distinction between “working in” versus “contributing to” the profession while forming relationships and working with key stakeholders and elected officials.
Director's Role in Community Development
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/19/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  18 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required Through master planning processes, incorporating identified community needs, park and recreation agencies serve as a centerpiece to neighborhood growth and revitalization. This session explains the park and recreation agency director’s role in urban planning and community development.
Director's Panel
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session will bring together Directors School Faculty and students into an open panel discussion on topics determined by students prior to the event.
Creating a Data-Driven Organization
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/20/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required Data-driven decision making allows leaders to take calculated risks when planning for the future. This session will discuss what it means to be data-driven, how to make decisions based on data aligned with organizational strategy, and how to engage staff in the process.
Building an Impactful Legacy through Conservation
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required Conservation is a pillar of NRPA and a key component of the mission of park and recreation. This session investigates the role of agency directors in leaving a lasting impact on this pillar by demonstrating a responsibility to defining the vision of conservation and building a lasting support of that vision with the community.
Parks and Rec as Partners
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 8:15 AM (CDT)   |  165 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session investigates the nature of partnerships in supporting the mission of park and recreation. The session will describe the relationship with partners such as friends groups, school districts, health care providers, conservancies, among others and how to establish and maintain such partnerships.
Community Leadership and Engagement
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required The director of a park and recreation agency has a role that might be described as “Relationship-Builder-in-Chief.” This session will explore the relationship between park and recreation and communities and discuss the importance of the park and recreation director as a community leader with the obligation of engaging the community with the mission of park and recreation.
Developing Capital Improvement Programs and Financial Plans
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 11:15 AM (CDT)   |  210 minutes  |  Attendance Required Capital improvement programs are a means of addressing growing challenges in communities. This session will identify the various constituencies that park and recreation professionals serve and explore methods that leverage support from these constituencies toward forming capital improvement programs and financial plans that can address challenge that communities face.
Going from Information to Inspiration
08/22/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  75 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/22/2019 at 9:45 AM (CDT)   |  75 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session demystifies the cliché: “telling your story” by exploring the nature of data and what how such data can be represented in ways that inspire change.
Year 2 Case Study Group Project
Graded as Pass/Fail | Due Date: 08/22/2019
Graded as Pass/Fail | Due Date: 08/22/2019 The Case Study Project is a team-based exercise that spans the entire week of the school. Students must work together to provide creative solutions to provided challenges based on their section.
Year 2 Completion Certificate
1.30 CEU credits  |  No certificate available
1.30 CEU credits  |  No certificate available Once you have attended all year 2 sessions and successfully completed the case study project, you will be granted your CEU credit and certificate of completion for Year 1 of Director's School.
Electives
Othering and Belonging
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required This session focuses on issues of inclusion within parks and recreation and what steps park and recreation directors may take to develop a more inclusive environment.
Philanthropic Funding
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
Green Infrastructure
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
Problemsolving - A Game-Based Approach
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required
08/21/2019 at 3:00 PM (CDT)   |  21 hours, 30 minutes  |  Attendance Required