A Place to Go

A Place to Go

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Want to help out at a weeklong summer camp or teach three-year-olds how to play a guitar? Depending on your previous experience, your local recreation center may be the place to start.

A job at a recreation or community center can build your resume if you are looking for experience in an environment where people come to have fun and relax. Almost everyone has spent some time at a recreation center - soaking in the hot tub, practicing their puck handling or meeting friends. It's a place where everyone is welcome and the people are just as varied as the opportunities.

Whether you snag a paying gig or opt to volunteer your time, you could find yourself in a number of different situations - at the pool, front desk, restaurant or arena. In fact, there are so many opportunities available that some university professors have dedicated their studies to the matter. These profs have put together a list of the top qualities people need to land a job in recreation. According to a study in the Journal of Recreation and Leisure, people should have strong communication, organizational and interpersonal skills, and enjoy group activities such as sports or dance. It is also recommended that you get to know your local center, its different programs and some of the people who already work there. Ask questions, offer your services and be flexible to whatever opportunity is offered. The first job might not be your dream job, but it could lead you there in the future.

It's also important to remember that not all jobs pay. Volunteering your time at a preschool summer camp or helping to organize a weekend volleyball tournament gives you skills that may help you win a paying job in the future, and gets you involved with other people at the center. And, if you convince a couple of your close friends to volunteer for the same cause, it's great way to spend time together. Some grade 11 or grade 12 courses also recognize community volunteer work for credit towards high school graduation, so check with your school counselor because you might be able to apply a few hours on the weekend or after school for your cap and gown.

Recreation centers offer many opportunities for people interested in an active lifestyle. So, explore your options and get involved.

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