Sunday, September 21, 2014

Treating Recreation/Sport/Activeliving like the Oil Industry!!

Alberta has some of the finest recreation/sport/activeliving infrastructure in the world. Billions of dollars have been invested by the Provincial & Municipal governments. The infrastructure includes thousands of miles of trails, swimming pools, arenas (hockey, figure skating & rodeo), curling rinks, multiplex leisure facilities, running tracks, speed skating oval, open space a wonderful parks (playgrounds to Wilderness areas), mini ski hills, golf courses, school gyms & Seniors Centres, With that kind of infrastructure you would think Alberta would be the most active jurisdiction anywhere.

The infrastructure in place, in many sports, provides the foundation component for Alberta's sport development system.

Alberta has a strong infrastructure base with the community recreation system, the Be Fit for Life Network adds key resource support through colleges and universities, the Centre for Activeliving is a valued research mechanism with a great track record. Alberta has over 100 recreation/Sport/Activeliving organizations that create a framework for hundreds of thousands of Albertans to participate in a huge selection of activities.

The challenge is that all of the above is underfunded and has limped along for years. What if it was adequately resourced? What if the jobs paid a living wage? Jobs! What if the research agenda was cranked up? Jobs! What if more Alberttans were participating? Jobs! Retail Sales up! What if there were before and afterschool programs for kids? Better Learning! Jobs! Tax Revenues! Healthier Kids = Better Learning!! Wow what would the ROI be? What would the savings be in so many areas.

In the oil industry billions is also spent on infrastructure; drilling rigs, pumps, pipe lines, refineries plus massive trucks and digging machines. If they stopped there we wouldn't have any gasoline for our cars or trucks. Oh you need people to make it work!! There are plans and check offs and rewards 
for reaching targets!! 

Massive trucks need drivers
Pump Jacks need support staff

The recreation/sport/activeliving infrastructure isn't treated the same, it is expected to run with minimal investment in people. Alberta could jump to the head of the line with key investments in recreation, sport & active living organizations and staffing (Staff all pay taxes). Add a plan! Add collaboration strategies! Add plans for low income families! Set some targets! Find a few Champions and someone to LEAD the initiative and give it your best shot Mr. Premier.

Gyms need trained instructors & trainers

Playgrounds need volunteers & people to build them
Why is it important to get Albertans Active? Healthier kids, healthy kids learn better, healthier workers are more productive and more innovative, a healthier population uses the healthcare system less, healthier adults = healthier seniors, healthier people are usually happier, healthy people usually have healthier communities. Check out the benefits!!

Seems pretty simple Mr. Premier.....don't cheap out, get good advice...this is a winner with moderate investments!

Invest $250 million in NEW dollars (no capital first three years) + target existing spending + create a common agenda across the system, penalize those who don't get on board, provide incentives for reaching targets.

Who would be post.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Adapting to Change or a Redundant Profession?

Adapting to change at any time in ones career is challenging but trying to adapt to change in ones profession at the end of a career is even more challenging.

During our careers we adapt to structural change, organizational change, government change, technological change and even the loss of wonderful colleagues.

Adapting  to changes in ones calling or ones profession is something else. When one is made to feel a profession may be redundant ( no longer needed or useful; superfluous) it is very hard to accept.

Wellness Model

How does a profession become redundant?

Is it because it did not adapt to the environment surrounding it?
- the political environment
- the shifting funding envelopes
- reduced funding overall
- the shifting community environment
- the terminology of the day
- the pressures on educational institutions
- technological advancements

Is it because its founding principles are no longer valid in today's society?
Is it because of a lack of vision? 
Is it because of a lack of leadership? 
It is because of a lack of a statistical  profile?
  • Number of jobs, Value of infrastructure, family spending patterns, number of volunteers, park acreage, etc etc
It is because it didn't use the information available to aid in decision making?
Is it because of a lack of research?
Is it because of an inability to create a common agenda with competing agendas?
  • Recreation, Sport, Active Living, Physical Activity, Wellness
Is it because of an inability to collaborate with competing initiatives?

Is it because of a lack of political awareness & visibility?

Is it because its history was lost along the way? (teaching of the past was not passed on)
(Inuit oral history is very exacting as we found out with the discovery of one of the Franklin ships 2014; not sure the written or oral history of our profession is accurately passed on)

When standing at the crest of  the hill of ones career answering all those questions is quite overwhelming.

Will the meetings in Toronto November 17th & 18th on the National Recreation Framework breathe new life & energy into the recreation profession or pronounce it as officially redundant?

I will be very disappointed if it is the latter but historians will answer the questions and assess value based on the facts they are presented with on what recreation contributed to individuals, communities, institutions, provinces and our country over the last 100 plus years and how it addressed the challenges cited above.

Recreation Connections

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recreation Visibility In Canada (Provincial Governments)

Where to find Recreation in Provincial & Territorial Governments (September 4, 2014)

British Columbia
Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Community Services

Tourism, Parks and Recreation

Municipal & Community Affairs

Parks, Culture & Sport


Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection

Tourism, Culture & sport


Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports (Quebec )

New Brunswick

Healthy and Inclusive Communities

Nova Scotia
Health and Wellness

Prince Edward Island
Health and Wellness

Newfoundland Labrador
Tourism, Culture and Recreation

and Government Services