2017 NSGA Annual Conference Highlights: Gathering of member games’ organizers produces positive energy

DALLAS, Texas- By all accounts, attendees to the 2017 National Senior Games Association (NSGA) Annual Conference found a wealth of useful information, spirited networking opportunities, and renewed energy at the gathering of Senior Games organizers and partners at the mid-country meetings held from January 25-28.                                                

Conference sessions featured technical assistance related to games planning and operations, but also to health and wellness topics that serve NSGA’s core mission to promote active lifestyles to all people 50 and over. Presenters included vendors, NSGA staff and invited special guests. Highlights included:

  • Kenneth Cooper, “father of aerobics,” gave an informative talk entitled “Medical Benefits of Exercise from Evidence-Based Research” that generated a standing ovation. Read about his visit here.
  • Kyle Conway of Dallas-based The Sponsor Bureau gave tips and advice on sponsorship and marketing tailored to the scope of state games.
  • Becca Jordre, associate professor at the University of South Dakota, shared data from her ongoing Senior Athlete Fitness Exam (SAFE) research program that has been conducted at all National Senior Games and selected state games since 2011.
  • Andrew M. Walker, NSGA Health and Wellness Manager, spoke about NSGA’s partner collaborations and gave members ideas for enhancing their efforts by engaging like-minded partners in their states.
  • NSGA staff and Birmingham representatives provided a comprehensive overview of sport venues and other updates for the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana that will take place June 2-15 in “The Magic City.”
  • National Travel Systems (NTS), NSGA’s housing and travel partner, provided an update on hotel bookings and travel opportunities, reporting that the online reservations and travel options platform is operating smoothly for athletes registering for The Games in June.
  • Representatives from Albuquerque provided an overview of planning that has begun for the city to host the 2019 Games. They also hosted a welcome reception “fiesta” that included a mariachi band to set the mood for what athletes can expect in “The Land of Enchantment.”
  • Special breakout sessions were held for regional games coordinators to share ideas, and for smaller and larger size member games to hold discussions about common challenges and opportunities.

A new element of the conference was the Awards Gala dinner, which featured presentation of the first-ever male and female NSGA Athlete of the Year awards. Richard “Dick” Naslund of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Deb Smith of Portland, Maine were honored as the inaugural recipients. Read more about the event and the athletes here.

The Gala also featured the annual NSGA Media Awards, which recognize best practices by members to promote their Games. The 2017 winners, decided by voting of the attending members, were:

  • Website- Nevada Senior Games
  • Medals- Texas Senior Games
  • T-Shirt- New Mexico Senior Olympics
  • Sponsorship Package ($50,000 and over) – New Mexico Senior Olympics
  • Sponsorship Package ($49,999 and under) – Rocky Mountain Senior Games (CO)
  • Wellness Program- Huntsman World Senior Games (UT)

Finally, the conference concluded with the NSGA Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors, where membership heard reports about the organization’s activities, and board elections were held. Retiring board members Stephen Rodriguez (Florida, Board Chair), Monica Paul (Texas, Board Treasurer) and Jerry LeVasseur (Maine) were honored for their service, and the membership welcomed several new faces and renewed the terms of others. Board election results were:

  • Renewed Terms- Kate Amack (Colorado- Coordinator, extended term), Steve Kearny (Colorado-At Large), John White (Wisconsin- At Large)
  • Newly Elected Terms- Carla Carmichael (Washington, DC-At Large), Davis Cox (Massachusetts-At Large), Kate Fisken (Maryland-At Large), John Shinnock (Ohio-At Large), and J.D. Wood (Texas- Coordinator).
  • New Officers Election- Kate Amack, Board Chair; Kyle Case, Vice Chair, Mark Schmitz, Treasurer.

“We are pleased to see our Annual Conference continue to grow and improve, and that attendees are giving us positive and helpful feedback,” NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. “We’ve listened closely to membership about what they want and need to take away from this annual opportunity, and it’s rewarding to hear that they are learning new things, gaining new ideas and are taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with each other on common interests. This will undoubtedly help all of our member games to improve the athlete experience and attract new participants to The Senior Games Movement.”


About NSGA

The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is a nonprofit Multi-Sports Council member of the United States Olympic Committee that promotes health and wellness for adults 50 and over through education, fitness and sport.  NSGA governs the biennial National Senior Games, the largest qualified multi-sport event in the world for seniors. NSGA is comprised of 53 Member Games across the country and in Canada who conduct multi-sport competitions which serve as qualifying events for the National Senior Games. The 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana will be held in Birmingham, Alabama from June 2-15, 2017. For more information, please visit


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