Charles Brightbill was one of the first scholars to acknowledge the importance of what he variously called "education for leisure" and "leisure education." He wrote that "when we speak . . . of education for leisure, we have in mind the process of helping all persons develop appreciations, interests, skills, and opportunities that will enable them to use their leisure in personally rewarding ways" (italics in original, C. Brightbill. . Man and leisure: A philosophy of recreation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, p. 188). Since the general public tends to view leisure largely through the lens of its casual form, the first goal of educators for leisure -- conceived of broadly as lifestyle counsellors, volunteers, and classroom instructors -- is to inform their clients or students about the nature and value of serious, project-based, and casual leisure, including their interrelationship.
Leisure education has a special place in the field of leisure studies: it lies between the theoretic/conceptual pole and related research in this field and the applied pole and research conducted there. This website, largely concerned as it is with the theoretic/conceptual pole, needs no further explanation on this page. At the applied pole we find the provision and use of leisure services, where people avail themselves of the sites, equipment, services, and the like they need to engage in their leisure activities. Parks, recreation centers, vendors and repairers of equipment, concert halls, cinemas, and libraries, number among the many leisure services. They also offer, occasionally, specialized leisure education, complicating somewhat the three-part scheme just presented.
Nevertheless, many a leisure educator works in the middle part, informing students or clients about leisure and helping them get involved in those activities the latter have learned are likely to be rewarding and for which they will likely need some kind of leisure service provision. For visitors to this website who are not, or have not been, students in a leisure education course or who have not sought the services of a lifestyle counsellor, the following sources, which are compatible with the serious leisure perspective (and they are but a sample), can help them bridge the two poles.
■ Olson, E. G. (2006). Personal development and discovery through leisure, 3rd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
■ Stebbins, R. A. (1998). After work: The search for an optimal leisure lifestyle. Calgary, AB: Detselig.
■ The DeepFun website of Bernie DeKoven
■ The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars
■ The Leisure Link
For a treatment of leisure education as a field of research and practice (leisure educators, as teachers, counsellors, and volunteers, also apply leisure theory and concepts), see:
■ Cohen-Gewerc, E. & Stebbins, R. A. (Eds.). (2007). The Pivotal role of leisure education: Finding personal fulfillment in this century. State College, PA: Venture.
■ Leitner, M. J. & Leitner, S. F. (2004). Leisure enhancement, 3rd ed. Binghampton, NY: The Haworth Press.
Outreach in amateur science: a new avenue for leisure education
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, based in San Francisco, is the home of a new online project called “Sharing the Universe (STU)”
(http://www.astrosociety.org/stu/index.html). The goal of the project is to enhance outreach of amateur astronomy in the United States, which will be accomplished by way of a variety of Internet sites and a set of instructional videos bearing on how to present astronomy to the public. Through outreach, the STU will communicate the love of doing amateur astronomy and recruit interested leisure participants to the science. It is also hoped that other amateur sciences will become interested in outreach and in the tools the STU has developed for this purpose. The serious leisure perspective serves as the theoretic base for this project.
Institute for learning innovation (ILI)
Learning is an essential human activity. Throughout our lives, we learn in many places and through many different activities such as reading books and magazines, surfing websites, watching television programs, and visiting museums, libraries, and parks. When individuals engage in such learning, they choose where, when, and how to access information. To ensure that these lifelong experiences are available invaluable to all, ILI aims to better understand, foster, and promote informal, free-choice learning. Visit ILI online at: http://www.ilinet.org/display/ILI/Home.