Jul 16, 2018

By Janet Ready, Instructor

swim lesson

I’ve been hanging out at the pool a lot in the past two weeks.  My kids are in swimming lessons. Their swim instructors make it look easy and a whole lot of fun – but I know better…

In recreation there is sometimes a perception that we are the “fun and games” people.  People working outside of the recreation profession (and even some within) don’t always see or understand the importance and diversity of recreation work.  These swim instructors, camp leaders and soccer coaches are so much more than “fun and games”, they are community builders, role models, health and wellness educators, they provide safe environments for youth to push boundaries and explore, provide support and resources for new immigrants and new families, educate and celebrate cultural diversity within their communities, they organize special events that create memorable events for people...and the list goes on.  It is up to these leaders to be aware of their roles and their importance within the community and to call attention to it.

“Leisure service professionals must believe in the power and potential of leisure programs to affect change in the lives of individuals and society.” (Jordan and DeGraaf p. 14).  Believing this and connecting it to leadership is what makes authentic leaders in recreation.  “Leisure service professionals must also believe in their own ability to make a difference in the world.”  (Jordan and DeGraaf p. 15).  Do you believe you as a leader in recreation can make a difference in the world? 

“Leisure services are critical components of society, not just the frosting on the cake.  Leisure services can contribute to the creation of an environment that nourishes the human potential.”(Dustin,McAvoy & Schultz, 1995 in Jordan and DeGraaf p. 15).  These swim instructors work in a powerful field, what they do makes a difference. 


Jordan, DeGraaf and DeGraaf.  2005.  Programming for Parks, Recreation and Leisure Services:  A Servant Leadership Approach.  Venture Publishing.  State College PA.