Applying Leisure Research in Community
I know that ‘leisure research’ is not the most familiar term out there. Over the years, I’ve had the discussion with many of my colleagues, collaborators, and friends as to whether or not the language I’m using resonates with people (and the organizations they represent) with whom I work (and/or want to work) – and for now, I’m keeping it. I like applying research to the projects that I’m working on – best practices, academic articles and studies, reports from innovative companies and communities, surveys, focus groups, conference sessions, journals, and case studies are some of the ways in which I gather information. Taking that research and applying it to my own community projects is exciting to me as a Sociable Scientist! Being part of interdisciplinary projects that overlap with passion projects that overlap with proposals that I’m writing reinforces my commitment to strategically leading The Sociable Scientists in the realm of innovative leisure research and my personal goal of being a lifelong learner.
As an example, today, I was part of a grassroots team that presented to the City of Campbell River’s Committee of the Whole on completing the Greenways Loop here in my home community. I brought in research from the Campbell River Community Foundation’s 2018 Vital Signs report (of which I was on the research & community engagement team), Trails Strategy for BC (from my thesis writing research), Parks and Other Green Environments: Essential Components of a Healthy Human Habitat and Report on an ‘Initial Conversation’ about the Health-Recreation Interface – A Conversation led by Bob Yates, Dr Trevor Hancock, Dr Susan Hutchinson (both also used in my thesis research, and in a number of recreation projects to which I’ve contributed), and personal experience from being an active user of trails across BC.
Another example is The Visitor Experience Survey (VES) project that I’ve been working on with Destination Marketing Organizations (and Vancouver Island University for four years) across Vancouver Island (over the last six years) have informed many of surveys I’ve led since – regardless of the audience (visitor, resident, stakeholder, etc.), a correctly-designed survey question is very different from a poorly-designed survey question. Through reading and analyzing over 12 000 visitor experience responses, I am also broadening my understanding of how and where tourism destination development, marketing, and stakeholder training affect community and economic development.
Applying my leisure research to private, not-for-profit, and public organization projects keeps me both sociable and scientific. And it satisfies my quest to be a lifelong learner, which makes me happy!