GCC hosting inaugural Outdoor Recreation Industry Summit
|Published: 10-10-2023 11:30 AM
GREENFIELD — With the goal of bringing together industry professionals from around the region, Greenfield Community College is hosting its inaugural Western Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Industry Summit.
“We’re excited to convene businesses and professionals engaged in outdoor recreation for this important event,” GCC Dean of Workforce Development Alex Carley said in a statement. “By coming together in the spirit of discussion and collaboration, we can build a coalition of industry leaders and establish western Massachusetts as a regional hub for outdoor adventure.”
The event, which will be held on Friday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at GCC’s Cohn Family Dining Commons, will feature a keynote address by Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, as well as networking opportunities and breakout sessions led by industry experts.
Both breakfast and lunch will be provided, and attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy GCC’s state-of-the-art climbing wall or renew their CPR certifications at no cost following the event.
“This summit is really an opportunity to allow GCC ... to bring together outdoor industry professionals, business owners, policymakers, really anyone engaging in the outdoor recreation industry in our region,” Carley said in an interview. “The outdoor industry in this region is an incredibly robust economic driver, and I think a lot of people are attracted to this area because of the outdoor space for hiking, canoeing … or even just walking a trail. The industry is a little fragmented, which is a wonderful thing in that there are so many small business owners and individuals engaged in this industry … but we really saw a need to get as many people together in a room, to talk about what would it look like if there was some coalition building, some shared marketing.”
After the Western Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Industry Summit has concluded, Carley said the hope is that those who attend will “leave with an expanded network … and a better understanding of how their work might fit into the tapestry of outdoor recreation in the region.” She added that she hopes the summit will become an annual event.
Carley emphasized that GCC welcomes anyone in the parks and recreation industry, from trail guides and business owners to policymakers.
“This is very much a launching pad and we’re really excited about the possibilities that could spring from it,” she said. “In our minds, there’s always value in getting folks around the table in the spirit of collaboration and discussion.”
The summit, which is happening in partnership with GCC’s Adventure Education Department, comes shortly after the state’s announcement that Paul Jahnige would serve as the first director of the Massachusetts Office of Outdoor Recreation (MOOR).
“This is the ideal moment to convene,” Carley said, “and determine how we can best work together to both promote and grow outdoor recreation as a major economic driver in our region.”
For more information about the Western Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Industry Summit, visit train.gcc.mass.edu/workshops/outdoor-summit.
Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at email@example.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.