Formative Experiences of Successful Recreation Professionals
Semb, Dustin Gregory
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This study aims to illuminate the formative experiences of successful recreation professionals, exploring why they have been able to succeed as employees and organizational leaders in recreation. Recreation departments and organizations are growing throughout the world; this growth has led to the need for skilled and trained supervisors to manage the growing needs in recreation. Gaining a better understanding of successful professionals may provide insight to the steps emerging professionals can take to become successful. Understanding how individuals gained success in recreation is difficult due to the diversity in the profession and the limited research on the subject. At the time of this dissertation, little research has been published regarding success in recreation; because of this, the similar fields of education and hospitality/tourism were examined. Literature in these two fields suggests that relationship focused leadership, grit, and diversity in experience may promote success in recreation. This dissertation aims to address the gap in literature regarding success and leadership in recreation. A narrative inquiry with male and female participants from public and private sector recreation provides insight to the experiences of four successful individuals. Inquiry into the formative experiences of purposively selected individuals may provide emerging professionals with an deeper understanding of the experiences in and approaches to recreation that promote success. The experiences of and actions taken by individuals in this study provide a deeper understanding of the path taken to success in recreation. The results of this study suggest that substantial weight be placed on relationship focused leadership and diverse experiences in recreation. The results also suggest a discrepancy in gender roles between private and public sector recreation. Further research is suggested relating to gender roles in recreation. This study provides insight into individual experiences and cross-analyses the experiences of four individuals who have seen success in recreation. The results may provide a starting point for future research related to success and leadership in recreation.