TRENTON — When Craig Murray needed a project, a sports tourism conference turned out to be the ideal topic.
Murray, who grew up in Trenton and is in his third year of a five-year recreation and management program at Dalhousie University, organized the one-day conference that took place on December 6 in Antigonish and drew nearly 30 people from throughout the Highland Region.
“It’s a school project,” he said at the time. “I have to do a project outside my school work.”
Speakers for the conference included Chris Larsen from Sport and Entertainment-Atlantic, who he already knew.
“Chris has taught at my class before,” Murray said.
Highland Region director Rae Gunn provided addresses for Murray to bring in the other presenters.
“They were willing to help in any way they could,” he said.
Murray devised a budget for the conference that included a nominal $10 fee for the delegates.
“He pulled this together very well,” Larsen said.
Gunn said the conference benefited from the mix of municipal, sports and recreation representatives.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for professional development for municipalities with high-quality speakers on a timely topic,” she said.
Cindy MacKinnon, who manages Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores (DEANS), praised Murray’s perceptive view of sport tourism as he planned the conference and what groups and communities need to do to take full advantage of sports tourism.
“He’s awesome,” she said. “It’s really nice to see a young person recognize the importance of sports tourism. He sees the gaps. He has a natural passion to fill those gaps.”
Murray hopes he can fit future projects into a setting where Pictou County stakeholders can participate.
Chris Larsen, left, has been a valuable mentor for Craig Murray. Larsen was among speakers at the sports tourism conference Murray organized as part of his university studies. (Goodwin photo)