This is an excerpt from Introduction to Recreation and Leisure 4th Edition With HKPropel Access by Tyler Tapps & Mary Sara Wells.
By Juan Tortosa Martínez, Daniel G. Yoder, and Mary Sara Wells
Charged with the task of providing leisure and recreation opportunities, leisure and recreation professionals must first understand how leisure and recreation take place.
- Who participates?
- How do they participate?
- What are their motivations?
- What are their constraints and limitations?
- What are the benefits of recreation?
- Are there direct consequences or indirect consequences that will not be evident for years?
Armed with the answers to these questions, we can design programs, facilities, and open spaces that make it possible for people to flourish.
For example, knowing the demands and limitations placed on single mothers, recreation and parks professionals must offer programs that allow them to participate. Perhaps that means that some fitness programs take place in the middle of the morning and the agency offers a toddler play period at the same time. Given that money is often in short supply for this population, the agency must also subsidize the program so the mothers do not have to choose between their own physical fitness and paying the utility bills. This must all be accomplished without perpetuating the stigma that single-parent households are inferior and a societal burden that must be dealt with as conveniently as possible.
But even these efforts, as challenging as they are, are not enough. On another level, leisure and recreation professionals must be educators. They must continue to drive home the point that leisure and recreation are essential; they are so important that all people, regardless of their lot in life—color, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or class—have a right to participate. Showing the current benefits and extolling the future benefits of leisure and recreation for all will strengthen the case. The world can be better today and tomorrow for all of us through equal leisure and recreation opportunities.