Jan 22, 2019

By Jen Folkersen, Recreation Leadership Alumni 

Recreation is an essential component to the betterment and happiness of the people in our communities. When handling the gift of recreation services for people, we need to understand the importance of our role as leaders in our communities. There are a bazillion reasons why leadership in recreation matters, here are my top 3. As recreation leaders;

  1. We improve outcomes, by improving lives
  2. We create a culture of connection and purpose
  3. We create deeper, more meaningful experiences resulting in greater life satisfaction

In very simple terms, recreation could be described as all the fun things we do in our regular lives that make us happy. These fun things might range from group fitness, painting, singing, theatre sports, skating, and/or cultural activities. It could be snowboarding or RV’ing, soccer or knitting and if you ask any of those pottery people, they’ll tell you, taking a hunk of ugly, messy mud and molding, painting, firing and turning it into a beautiful painted pot, enhances the quality of their lives.

You see, leaders in recreation hold an important responsibility. They are the cultivators of the magical spirit of what recreation is all about. It is not a task to be taken lightly; they are mentors, skill builders and friends who inspire people to expand their circle of comfort and believe and expect the best of themselves. These ground floor superstars lay the foundation through strong recreation leadership skills which results in healthy, happy, socially connected people. Torjam (2004) wrote, “Participation in cultural and recreation programs have been found to promote social connectedness in communities which shapes civic behaviour later in life” (p.6). This to me, is the purest form of leadership.


Torjman, S. (2004). Culture and Recreation: Links to Well-Being. Ottawa, Ontario: Caledon Institute of Social Policy.