With the ever growing percentage of the retired age population compounded with an increasing longevity and younger retirement ages, older citizens today are afforded much more leisure time for recreational pursuits than were their parents. What will they do with this extra time? This is but one group leisure educators must consider in their professional responsibility. Teenagers, another group, are said to be abusing their leisure privilege in many instances by turning to substance abuse or other inappropriate leisure habits. They too need leisure counseling and instruction. Additionally, children are now labeled as increasingly passive and physically unfit due to poor leisure choices and guidance.
Leisure professionals can assist in these and other similar situations through their specific career assignments. Not just these mentioned groups of people, but all men, women, and children need constructive challenges to pursue during their leisure time. Without such mountains to climb, life can be much less fulfilling and thus many times people tend to supplement these gaps with less than desirable pursuits. It is with this in mind that the leisure service professional must accept the challenge of attempting to direct people toward appropriate leisure choices, educate them as to where these needs can be met, and when possible, teach them specific skills that allow for pleasurable participation.
This challenge to the leisure professionals of the TAHPERD can be and is being met through such vehicles as YMCA programs, church recreation ministries, schools, community recreation programs, boys clubs, girls clubs, private health clubs, corporate recreation centers and many more. Participation in such recreational programs and pursuits has the potential to contribute significantly toward self-fulfillment, self-worth and overall happiness.
It is therefore the position of the TAHPERD Recreation Division that the association accepts the responsibility to assist the above-mentioned organizations and professionals more effectively meet their respective challenges. This mission will be accomplished through the vehicles of the TAHPERD Journal, the annual TAHPERD convention and special workshops throughout the state.