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Foundational Competencies for Recreation Leaders


Recreation plays a key role in developing vibrant, engaged communities by fostering individual and community social, economic and environmental well-being. Recreation touches many aspects of our lives. It helps people grow and be healthy, builds strong families and communities, provides opportunities for those who are disadvantaged, protects the environment, stimulates the economy and adds overall to the quality of life in our communities.

In Yukon, recreation means many things to different people. Recreation serves the public good by:

  • building an understanding of the potential benefits of recreation;
  • providing opportunities for people to engage in recreation; and
  • supporting people so they can take part in recreation opportunities.

These priorities require recreation leaders and organizations who know how to use recreation to contribute to public good. This means our recreation organizations (nonprofit and government) need to:

  • gather information about and promote the individual, community, environmental and economic benefits delivered by recreation;
  • meet the recreation needs of citizens and communities, particularly needs serving the public and requiring government funding assistance; and
  • enhance leisure literacy levels so people participate in a broad range of recreation opportunities. Leisure literacy involves helping people develop the skills, interest and confidence to participate, and making sure recreation opportunities are accessible.

Yukon Government Sport and Recreation Branch funded the development of the Yukon Community Recreation Leaders Guide to strengthen capacity for recreation in Yukon’s rural and remote communities. Capacity involves the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to lead, manage and work or volunteer for Yukon recreation boards, organizations and departments.

With the help of recreation leaders throughout Yukon, the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon (RPAY) identified 13 foundational competencies essential for the effective delivery of community recreation.

The competencies describe a Recreation Leader who is able to:

  1. Promote recreation as an important part of a healthy and active lifestyle.
  2. Work with the components of the sport and recreation system to support community recreation.
  3. Administer basic budgets and carry out fundraising and grant activities.
  4. Recognize the role of recreation practitioners and volunteers as leaders who enable positive, community-wide impacts through recreation.
  5. Use recreation as a vehicle to strengthen community capacity.
  6. Contribute to the planning and evaluation of relevant community programs, services, events, and initiatives.
  7. Apply risk management strategies.
  8. Contribute to the programming and delivery of community-driven programs and events.
  9. Work with others to implement appropriate marketing strategies.
  10. Assist in maximizing the safety, use and programming of community facilities and outdoor spaces.
  11. Contribute to meaningful relationships with community groups.
  12. Contribute to effective staff and volunteer engagement.
  13. Understand and support the functions of volunteer boards.

This model shows that these 13 foundational competencies are the basis of additional core and advanced competencies recognized across Canada.

This organizational assessment tool is designed to help you identify your strengths and your areas for growth. However, RPAY and the Sport and Recreation Branch are interested in the combined results. Combining results will help to identify Yukon strengths, the potential areas for training, and the content of a long-term training plan for the territory. To maintain confidentiality, you do not need to share your name, position or community.

Click here to download the self-assessment tool.

Yukon Government Sport and Recreation Branch funded development of the Yukon Community Recreation Leaders Guide through the Yukon Active Living Strategy.

The Guide was developed in partnership between Yukon Government Sport and Recreation Branch and the Recreation and Parks Association of the Yukon.

Terms of Use

The Yukon Community Recreation Leaders Guide was developed over two years and released in June 2015. The writings and tools of this Guide come from a variety of sources with their permission, and references are cited.

This resource is intended for the day-to-day use of community leaders and organizations, and may not be sold, mass produced, used in workshops by a professional paid trainer or distributed for profit without the permission of the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon (RPAY).

Disclaimer: The Leaders Guide contains links to resources and external, third party websites over which RPAY has no control. In providing links to other sites, RPAY is not acting as a publisher or disseminator of the material, but is providing these links as a convenience to the user. Although these links were current at the time of publication (June 2015), RPAY bears no responsibility for the accuracy or content of external sites or subsequent links.


The Yukon Community Leaders Guide is a result of passion, dedication, and many long hours of writing, discussions, interviews, and brainstorming sessions. A big thank you is extended to the following individuals and organizations for their contribution:

Yukon’s Recreation Leaders, your input and feedback helped to create a useful, meaningful and relevant resource.

Authors: Caroline Sparks, whose commitment to the parks and recreation field, long term vision, and expertise moved the Guide from its initial concept through to completion, and Brenda Herchmer, whose experience as an adult educator in the community building sector and understanding of technology in leadership development were essential to the success of this project.

Writing and Development: Caroline Sparks, Brenda Herchmer, Mia Lee Carol Petersen, Anne Morgan, Pavlina Sudrich, and Inge Sumanik.

Guidance: Sue Meikle, Community Recreation/Active Living Consultant with Yukon Government’s Sport and Recreation Branch, whose encouragement and support helped this Guide become a reality.

Media and Photo: Thank you to all the Yukoners whose stories, photos and videos make the Guide interactive and interesting. You are recognized in the Media and Photo Credits.

Recreation and Parks
Association of the Yukon

Phone: 867-668-3010
Toll Free: 1-866-961-WALK (9255)

170 Titanium Way, Suite 201-C
Whitehorse Yukon, Y1A 0G1

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