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A recreation worker is any person involved in the broad field of recreational activities. This includes professionals like camp counselors, activity specialists, and directors of parks and recreations. Some recreation workers work in places like camps and cruise ships while others work in offices. The experience requirements needed to become a recreation worker depend on the type of work being done, but it is typically possible to gain entry into the lower levels of this field before graduating high school.
One of the most common types of recreation worker is the camp counselor. These employees are often former campers who are familiar with camp practices and are old enough to be responsible for other children. Activity specialists are also common, and these workers usually are responsible individuals who are skilled in a particular area, such as a sport or craft activity. Given that these employees often work with children, it is typically valuable for the worker to have some experience in child care and good interpersonal skills.
While being skilled at a particular activity is important for a recreation worker, much more of this type of job involves managing people and keeping group activities running smoothly. Being friendly and professional even in stressful environments is essential. A recreation worker during a summer season may work in inclement weather for many long hours, and it is important to be able to handle even the worst weather conditions. The attitude of the recreation worker can affect the attitude of people engaging in recreation, and part of the worker's responsibility is keeping people calm and happy.
In many cases, a recreational worker's job is seasonal or only part time. High-level employees such as directors are typically employed all year round. In some cases, recreational workers can move from season to season or work on various activities on the same resort in order to create a full time job. This type of job is unique in that it may involve very different activities depending on the season.
Some recreation jobs involve working with groups of a specific type, such as the elderly or special needs children. These jobs often have additional duties and responsibilities relating to safety and awareness, as the worker must pay more attention to the health and needs of any participants. In some cases, a recreation worker may require training in order to perform life-saving maneuvers such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or emergency wound care. This is particularly true when the activity being performed is potentially dangerous, such as swimming or rock climbing.