Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is recreation too competitive?

This afternoon I had a conversation with Dean Tice, and he reflected that recreation may be loosing it primary purpose by becoming too competitive.

First a bit about Dean Tice. He is a former head of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). He is also a retired three star general, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. He is a brilliant person with interesting insight on the field of park and recreation. You can read more about General Tice at the link below.

The central point of General Tice's comment is that recreation has a real purpose, and that purpose is to relieve stress. In his military experience, when soldiers were burnt out, recreation was used to provide the mental relief needed to help them recover.

With people working more and recreating less, stress is a serious issue in modern life. While a little competition can be fun and exciting. Perhaps we should focus more on activities that are truly stress relieving.

I just recently read a study that compiled the increasing volume of scientific research on the mental and physical benefits of spending more time in a natural environment. My own experience is that time in nature is one of the best stress relievers that I know of.

1 comment:

John Houser said...

I enjoyed reading your comments about Dean Tice and his thoughts on the purpose of recreation.Back in the 90's a gentleman named Fred Engh looked around the youth sports landscape and realized we were letting our youth down in the arena of sports and recreation. He realized that over 90% of youth stop playing organized sports by middle school because they are not having fun, or have been told they are not good enough.Why would we design programs to service the 10% and neglect the 90%? So he started the National Alliance for Youth (NAYS), an organization that trains adults to organize leagues and programs that put the kids first, teaches sports as a life long pursuit of happiness and trains coaches to put team building and self esteem first. Some states have adopted NAYS training and require it for all recreation youth coaches.Go to www.nays.org to read more about what positive youth activities can do for this country.

John Houser