Parents, pack your children. Beleaguered moms and dads can now rest easy and bring their brood to the upcoming Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, because day care has been added back into the show's repertoire.
After a four-year hiatus, Outdoor Retailer is resurrecting a child-care program to help parents be more efficient on the show floor. "We are responding to industry demand," said Kenji Haroutunian, group show director for Outdoor Retailer, who also noted that a recent OIWC column on this topic which ran in SNEWS® (click here to read) helped call up the issue.
"Things have changed a bit since four to five years ago," he added. "Back then, very few people took advantage of the day care; now, there are a lot of working moms and dads in the industry."
A preponderance of aisle-jamming strollers and attention-requiring kids was also part of the impetus. "Because we didn't have day care, we allowed kids on the show floor," said Haroutunian. "But, it's become an issue because of the number of strollers on the show floor that block pathways and, in turn, interrupt business. Plus, if your child is there with you, it's distracting and tougher to get your business done."
While kids will still be allowed on the show floor at this Summer Market, they will likely prefer to be part of the fun at the show day care, which will feature parties, picnics, games, snacks and movies. What's not to like? "There will be an outdoor theme, plus an arts and crafts area, and pirate-themed parties," said Julie Freedman, Outdoor Retailer's operations manager.
The day care will be run by KiddieCorp, a national company with two decades of experience offering high-quality child care at meetings, conventions and trade shows. Children six months to 8 years of age are allowed.
"They are the best at doing convention-based kid care. We did the research and there is not anyone even close to being able to do what they do," said Haroutunian.
KiddieCorp will set up camp in a special room at the Energy Solutions Arena that is already equipped for day care -- the space is also used for child care for the Utah Jazz and other teams that are playing at the arena. "We don't have any space in the Salt Palace (Convention Center); we use every meeting room, hallway and dark corner already," said Haroutunian. "We have 100 companies exhibiting in the Energy Solutions Arena as well, plus we're holding seminars, the industry party, and Project OR there."
Haroutunian also noted that the day-care program at Summer Market is a use it or lose it situation, so parents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. "We have to commit to a fairly high minimum of kids because KiddieCorp has to ramp up to meet specific rules that exist in every state about how many adult day-care facilitators are necessary for different numbers of kids. We have to budget the spending on this and we hope that people will use it," he said. "In the past, literally about seven people used it. If it continues to not get much traction, then it will get pulled."
For more information, click here. Show attendees can register here for day care. Pre-registration will help Outdoor Retailer determine the number of child-care professionals needed during the show. Parents who do not pre-register can also register on-site at the childcare area in the Energy Solutions Arena -- but space is limited and handled on a first-come first-serve basis.
Who: Your kids -- 6 months to 8 years
What: Daily childcare offered at Outdoor Retailer by KiddieCorp
Where: Dressing Room 3, on the show floor level in the Energy Solutions Arena, across the street from the west entrance to the Salt Palace.
When: August 6-7 (during the Open Air Demo): 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
August 8: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
August 9-10: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
August 11: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Why: Outdoor Retailer aims to help parents have a productive and fulfilling show
How: Provided by KiddieCorp (www.kiddiecorp.com), the day-care program is subsidized by Outdoor Retailer.
Cost: $10/hour per child
This monthly column, a partnership between OIWC and SNEWS®, aims to address the issues that concern women in the industry most -- anything that is controversial, topical or newsworthy relating to women and the outdoors. The goal is to help, educate, inspire and grow. We welcome your ideas, gripes, thoughts and comments. Bring it on. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erinn Morgan is an award-winning magazine editor from New York City who has relocated to Colorado to pursue her outdoor passions and a freelance writing career. Her work -- which focuses on outdoor sports, adventure travel, gear and sustainability -- has appeared in publications from National Geographic Adventure and The New York Times to Outside and Mountain Bike.