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Module One: Meanings, Concepts, and Values

On-line Lesson

Chapter One - Meanings and Concepts

Time and Leisure

Recreation occurs during leisure and the amount of individual time available for recreation, for many, has increased. Time may be divided into three parts.

1) Existence time - physiological/biological needs such as sleeping, eating, and personal care, approximately 10 hr/day.

2) Subsistence time - work activity required for acquiring necessities, approximately 9 hr/day.

3) Free time - unobligated time remaining after meeting the Existence and Subsistence needs, approximately 5 hr/day.

Perceptions of Time

Ancient Time was measured by natural cyclic changes (tides, seasons, animal and bird migrations). Time could not be lost since events that made up time would return again forever.

Modern Time is viewed as being linear (straight line). It was made possible by the invention of time keeping devices. Time is a commodity that one has only a limited amount of and has to be spent prudently. Time can be spent and thus gone forever.

Active participation on the Kennebec River , Me.

I would rather be ashes than dust !
I would rather
     that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
     than it should be stifled by dry rot.
I would rather he a superb meteor,
     every atom of me in magnificent glow, 
     than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man (or woman) is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time.                                      

JACK LONDON 1876-1916

Recreation means many things to many people. To create a common understanding the basic concepts of recreation, leisure, and flow must be reviewed.

Four Factors Used to Define a Leisure Experience

  1. Perceived Freedom: implies that an individual has choices in the pursuit of a leisure experience.
  2. Perceived Competence: are the skills an individual believe they possess, that relate to a satisfying leisure experience.
  3. Intrinsic Motivation: leisure is sought for internal not external factors.
  4. Positive Affect: one’s ability to exert influence or control over their leisure experience.

Leisure: An experience, a process, a state of mind. It is not something one has, nor something one does, but something one experiences or something one becomes. To leisure means to be oneself, to express one's talents/capacities/potentials. The experience of leisure is subjective and happens within the mind of the individual. Leisure can be experienced anywhere, at any time, therefore it is not antithetical to work. The central defining elements are perceived freedom and intrinsic motivation. Leisure is being at one with yourself and your world.

Flow: "The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it" (p.4). Flow Theory was developed by Csikszentmihalyi, (1990), to describe what can only be a pure state of leisure.


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Slide Rock State Park

Elements Used to Define Recreation


an activity


wide range of activities (episode or lifetime)




socially redeeming (example: recreational drug-use, does not meet this definition for recreation)


potential for many desirable outcomes - fun is the goal, but not purpose of recreation


takes place during free time, not the activity one pursues but the reason for participating in the activity.

Definitions of Recreation: 


Recreation: From the Latin recreare, to create anew, or to refresh.


(Kraus): Activity or experiences carried on within leisure, usually chosen voluntarily by the participant, either because of the satisfaction or pleasure gained from them or expected personal or social values to be derived from them.


(Gray): An emotional condition within an individual that flows from a feeling of well-being and self satisfaction. It is characterized by feelings of mastery, achievement, exhilaration, acceptance, success, personal worth, and pleasure. It reinforces a positive self image. Recreation is a response to an aesthetic experience, achievement of personal goals, or positive feedback from others. It is independent of activity, leisure or social acceptance.

Misconceptions about Recreation and Leisure

1) Recreation and leisure are the antithesis (opposite) of work. An old Japanese saying goes, "if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life." So it is with recreation and leisure, they may be incorporated into every aspect of ones life, even work.

2) Leisure and recreation are synonymous (the same). Recreation always takes place during leisure time, but not all recreation is leisure.

3) Recreation is only a way to escape personal and community problems. Recreation and leisure promotes human growth and development. They contribute to ones quality of life.

4) Recreation can be most accurately defined in terms of specific activities. An important difference between recreation and leisure is that recreation is externally motivated and leisure is internally motivated. Therefore the result of the activity will determine if it is recreation or leisure.

5) Recreation, unlike education is essentially without purpose or discipline. Many forms of recreation require high level physical and mental skills. The trend of X-treme games is one example.

Classification of Recreation Pursuits

Recreation activities may be classified on a continuum:
Resource-oriented: depends on the use of natural resources and occurs in natural settings.
Intermediate: activities that take place in a natural setting, but require technical/mechanical equipment and personal skill.
User-oriented: take place in man-made or modified areas and facilities.

Five Components of Outdoor Experiences


Pursuing, obtaining, and displaying physical/natural objects.


Feeling of isolation in nature


Fresh air and scenery.


Perceptions of natural processes.


Sense of husbandry.

Objectives of Outdoor Recreation


Appreciation of nature


Personal satisfaction and enjoyment


Physiological fitness


Positive behavioral patterns

The Total Recreation Experience

There are five phases of a recreation experience.

1) Anticipation; the information gathering stage, reviewing options and opportunities, usually based on the amount of time and money available.

2) Planning; making the decision and organizing resources (equipment, clothing, training, etc) for the event.

3) Travel to and from the destination; an important part of any experience are the events related to the travel to and from the destination.

3) On-site Participation or Activity; the actual activity. and

4) Recollection; telling the stories and showing the pictures or video.

Chapter Two - Values of Outdoor Opportunities

The indigenous peoples of North America integrated their lifestyles into the environment and were intricately linked to it. Their beliefs viewed the earth as a sacred mother.

But these cultural beliefs have not been passed on to the majority of the population of the United States. According to Roderick Nash (1967); wilderness has been viewed differently over the years from the time of European settlement to the present as:

bulletWilderness, a wild and dangerous place to be feared.
bulletRomantic view, a place for observing the natural process.
bulletUtilitarian, wilderness was to be used and developed providing raw materials for manufacturing.
bulletPreservation, to protection of the global ecosystem by preserving areas of wilderness.

Pueblo Dance

Outdoor Recreation Values


Cultural values. Appreciation for the natural wonders revealed through poetry, books, songs, and dance.


Psychological benefits. Creates opportunities to develop an individual's potential and increased life satisfaction.


Sociological values. Opportunities to participate in socially redeeming activities as opposed to low-quality recreation activities (Nash's Pyramid). Provided opportunities for socialization.


Physiological benefits. Increased opportunities for fitness and improved health.


Challenge and adventure. Opportunities for self-discovery and increased self-esteem.


Educational benefits. the out-of-doors offers a unique and challenging educational setting. 


Spiritual values. The outdoors promotes a powerful experience of freedom, serenity, and humility.

[Mod 1] [Class]

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