ACCT Conference Registration Opens
Registration for the 29th annual Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) International Conference and Expo is open. The conference will be held Feb. 7-10, 2019 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, not far from ACCT headquarters in Boulder, Colo. This year’s event features a revamped schedule and increased networking opportunities for attendees.
The most notable change to the conference’s traditional schedule is that the annual general meeting and awards ceremony will be held Friday evening, a shift from its typical Saturday evening time slot. ACCT is planning a low-key networking event Saturday evening at a local bouldering gym. The networking event will be an opportunity to get out of the convention center and mingle with other attendees.
In lieu of a traditional keynote, Thursday’s opening ceremony will feature four “Tech Talks” by industry leaders. Each 15-minute Tech Talk will cover a different subject, including career paths in the industry, the reasons reporters act as they do, programming with intention, and surfacing behaviors through play. Each presenter will also deep dive into his or her respective talk during the 90-minute workshop sessions.
There will be 10 certification and training courses offered in the days before and after the conference. The courses include PPE Competent Person; ACCT Inspector Certification Prep Course and Examination; De-mystifying ACCT Operational Standards; Trainer’s Forum, and more.
On Friday and Saturday, the schedule includes more than 100 90-minute general conference sessions covering a wide variety of topics. All attendees who are fully registered can attend the sessions on a first-come, first-served basis. Adventure Park Insider staff will be leading two sessions: “Pitchfest: Tell Your Story,” a session on leveraging media relationships to boost your operation’s exposure, and “How’s Business? An Industry Analysis,” a discussion of the most recent State of the Industry survey.
This year’s expo will also include an ACCT Bookstore. The bookstore, managed by Sam Sikes with DoingWorks, will be located inside the expo center. Authors with published works they wish to include in the bookstore are asked to email Sam, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Melissa Webb, email@example.com, no later than December 1.
ACCT is also accepting Service Crew applications. Service Crew members—aka, the “Yellow Hats”—assist in many areas of conference operations. Crew members are expected to complete approximately 17 hours of service during the event, and in return receive a 50-percent discount on registration fees. Interested persons must apply on the conference website.
Speaking of the website, for more information and to register for the 2019 ACCT International Conference and Expo, visit www.acctconference.com.
ACCT Regional Gathering
ACCT hosted its first small, regional gathering on Aug. 29, 2018, in Hartford, Conn. ACCT board of directors co-chair Bahman Azarm of Outdoor Ventures hosted the event, which brought together 16 industry members from the surrounding area. The evening included some casual networking, dinner, and a short presentation by Azarm on the latest updates from ACCT, including news from the board as well as the planned schedule changes to the annual conference and expo, taking place Feb. 7-10 in Denver.
The regional gathering was a pilot effort that grew out of a mandate from the board to increase opportunities for dialogue between association leaders and its membership.
ASTM Revisions Remain a Work in Progress
During July and August, ASTM’s F2959 Task Group balloted some significant revisions to the F2959-16 standard. The revisions, among other things, are aimed at removing the “exclusions” to the standard. That change would make therapeutic, camp, and educational programs (among others) subject to the standard. And that would be a significant change. (See “Will ASTM Remove the Non-Commercial Exclusion From Standard F2959-16?” and “ACCT Cites Flaws in Proposed Revision of ASTM F2959-16 Standard” online at adventureparkinsider.com for more.)
However, the F2959 Task Group received some negative votes, and those must be resolved or deemed unpersuasive before the revisions are approved.
In urging positive votes in favor of the revisions, the F2959 task group said the change would give jurisdictions more freedom to determine whether to apply the standard to all aerial operations or to continue to exclude some, or all, of the operations previously excluded.
In response, the Association for Challenge Course Technology highlighted what ACCT views as flaws in the reasoning behind the three rationales for eliminating the exemptions—enhancing public safety, reducing a rising injury rate for zip lines, and making the F2959 standard comparable to other standards, including ANSI/ACCT, that do not list exclusions. The flaws ACCT cited include inadequate consideration of the human factor in educational programs and a lack of key definitions.
It appears that some task group members agreed with ACCT’s arguments, and that unresolved negative votes were received by the committee, as there was no immediate approval of the standard as balloted. Evolution Task Group chairman Jeff Borba, whose group proposed the revisions to the F2959 Task Group, told Adventure Park Insider that the negative votes would be addressed at the ASTM F24 meetings in mid-October. We will continue to follow the course of the revision process. •
Summer Ops Camp 2018
In early September, Adventure Park Insider’s sister publication, SAM (Ski Area Management), held its annual Summer Ops Camp—a hands-on education and networking event aimed at growing summer activities, from zip lines and aerial adventure parks to mountain biking and gem mining. The event drew 170 operators, vendors, and speakers from around the world to Aspen Snowmass, Colo., Sept. 4-6. This year’s theme was “Summer Ops 2.0,” an exploration of the newest ways to attract summer guests.
The camp explored the evolution of summer operations into a more comprehensive and curated experience that expands demographic reach, lengthens visit times, encourages repeat visitation, and increases spend—aims that should sound familiar to zip lines and adventure park operators. The agenda included seminars on rope access standards and the opportunities and hurdles to growing the summer market, plus panel discussions with the U.S. Forest Service and on the often-overlooked aspects of summer operations, among others.
Campers benefited from on-mountain demos and got hands-on with mountain-bike parks and programming plus the resort’s Lost Forest aerial adventure course and zip tour, climbing wall, and mountain coaster. They also received a first-hand look at safety and training, the e-bike revolution, water features, and kids programming.