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Leisure Education, Poverty and Recreation Participation

Chelsey Hiebert, Jacquelyn Oncescu, University of Manitoba, Canada.


Individuals living in poverty face a number of challenges that interfere with their ability to create or engage in meaningful leisure and recreation experiences. Although limited access to finances is often the most cited constraint to leisure and recreation participation among those living in poverty, there are a wide range of other constraints on participation: limited leisure skills; knowledge and interests; discriminatory policies; feelings of guilt and shame; and poor physical, social and mental wellbeing. Despite the vast array of policies, subsidized programming and supports that the recreation profession and allied professionals have made available, low-income families continue to struggle to access and create leisure experiences. This case study highlights the innovation of a community-based leisure education delivery system to help low-income families learn about leisure, develop the necessary skills, knowledge, capacities and resources, and gain access to a wide range of leisure and recreation experiences to enhance their leisure repertoire. The success of the agency is embedded in their invested stakeholders, their ability to utilize existing community leisure recreation resources, and their focus on teaching for and through leisure. Because of this agency’s unique approach, the application of leisure education at the community level has positively impacted not only the child, but the family unit and community as well.


Vancouver Island University World Leisure Centre of Excellence


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