Emily, in her mid-twenties, works at a seniors centre in Toronto. She has her BA in history from the University of Waterloo and then took the George Brown College diploma program in activation and gerontology.
Stephanie: What made you decide to become a Recreationist/Activationist?
Emily: I have always enjoyed working with people and I had the opportunity to volunteer with the recreation department in a nursing home in Alberta while participating in a Canada World Youth exchange in 1997. That experience influenced my course choices at university after the exchange and eventually I went to college to gain some practical skills and theoretical knowledge to work in this field.
Stephanie: How did you become a Recreationist/Activationist?
Emily: After finishing at the University of Waterloo, I attended George Brown College for the Activation Co-ordinator and Gerontology diploma program. The program gave me practical skills in volunteer placements as well as theoretical knowledge about different theories of activity related to aging.
Stephanie: What do you like about your job?
Emily: Presently I work at in a seniors centre in Toronto. The centre is open to seniors who live in the community; they come to take courses (fitness, languages, card games), have lunch, participate in a clinic or attend a special event. My job is mostly administration - I love that part of my job because I enjoy organizing and planning events and new programs. I enjoy each day because I never know exactly what I may be doing. I also enjoy interacting with seniors from my community.
Stephanie: What is your least favourite part of the job?
Emily: Sometimes I get frustrated because of the constant interruptions while I try to get some of the paper work side of my job completed - but I know I need to be flexible and take advantage of the quieter times at the centre to complete my paper work.
Stephanie: What advice do you have for someone considering becoming a Recreationist/Activationist?
Emily: The job market for recreationist/activationist is very large - you could be working with children or adults with disabilities or seniors. If you think this is something that interests you, volunteer in the different settings (a daycare or nursing home or senior adult centre) to figure out where you feel most comfortable. You also need to enjoy people, be organized, flexible and creative.
Stephanie: What kind of an education do you need to be a Recreationist/Activationist? What kind of education did you get?
Emily: Different jobs have different educational requirements. For my job, I needed a college degree in activation or recreation. Having some experience in the field was an asset. Different programs focus on different aspects of the field, such as children or adults with disabilities or seniors.
Other jobs may require a university degree and two or three years of experience. Since the field is so new and ever-growing, the educational requirements continue to change. I did my BA in history at the University of Waterloo and then completed the Activation Co-ordinator and Gerontology program at George Brown College.
Stephanie: What is your favourite colour?
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