Optimal Work Experiences as "Flow": Implications for Seasonal Staffl


  • Karla A. Henderson
  • M. Deborah Bialeschki


Flow, optimal experience, camp, seasonal staff, recreation, work.


Part-time and seasonal staff are important for the success of many recreation organizations. The theoretical construct of optimal experience, as embodied in "flow," provided the basis for this exploratory study to examine the work of seasonal staff. Data were gathered from summer staff at a private outdoor camp in the southeastern United States. Individuals were asked to record their involvement, attitudes, and feelings during randomly selected work times. The results indicated that optimal experiences as measured by flow and psychological states were found to varying degrees at camp. Specific leadership tasks provided the greatest potential for flow. The implications of these results for recreation, park, leisure services, and tourism supervisors who work with seasonal summer staff are discussed with a focus on relating the theoretical construct of flow to an application in recreational employment settings.





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