Please People…Its About the Big Picture

I recently read an email posted by a recreation student on a pan Canadian listserv geared to academics. I taught recreation at the college level and am especially interested in emerging professionals and their areas of study. However, in this case I was left somewhat dismayed.

The student was working on her master’s thesis and was seeking Australians, age 18-35, who had traveled to Canada, and made use of social media.

Really? Call me crazy but who signed off on that topic as being thesis worthy?

Don’t get me wrong, and maybe I’m missing something because there might be a few Australians or Canadians somewhere who might be interested in the research that evolves, but what a wasted opportunity to tackle issues and opportunities that the field of recreation has identified as being of critical importance to all Canadians.

It is especially disappointing because recreation is one of only a few fields in Canada that has worked to consult, research, and articulate a clear vision and strategic direction.

A Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015: Pathways to Wellbeing includes a vision stating that “We envision a Canada in which everyone is engaged in meaningful, accessible recreation experiences that foster individual wellbeing, community wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our natural and built environments.”


It goes on to describe five strategic goals:

1. Foster active, healthy living through recreation.
2. Increase inclusion and access to recreation for populations that face constraints to participation.
3. Help people connect to nature through recreation.
4. Ensure the provision of supportive physical and social environments that encourage participation in recreation and build strong, caring communities.
5. Ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the recreation field.

That’s it people - that’s the big picture. Simple. Now all we have to do is align our resources and activities.

Simple to say, harder to do because it will mean stopping some of what we’re currently doing while adding new initiatives. But just as our complex fast moving world is rapidly changing so too must we.

Regardless of one’s sector, now more than ever we need to focus on the “forest” and not just jump to the “trees”, or in some cases the leaves on the tree and even the veins on the leaves. The path and the possibilities are clear.


Posted on 04-07-15

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