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Expanding Citizen-Professional Partnerships: ''Grass Roots'' Community Development of Leisure Opportunity

Jane Tindell

Abstract


The process of "community development" for increased citizen participation in service delivery takes on new meanings when looked at for its contribution to public recreation/leisure services. This article briefly reviews the origins of this movement, and stresses the importance of training park and recreation professionals to serve as the catalyst for involving interested and concerned citizens as more fully equal partners in providing services.

Public tax revolts and "Reaganomics" have created public fiscal resource shortages, limiting the abilities of many public agencies to continue to provide direct service in the future. Involving citizens as equal partners in the provision of leisure opportunities is increasingly a financial necessity. Using the techniques of "community development" can provide a public park and recreation agency with expanded monetary and human resource support to assist with ongoing program and facility operations.

In addition to operational support, the recruitment, training, and supervision of citizen involvement makes a valuable contribution to the concept of "building community." People gain specific skills and work together to accomplish their community's collective goals. This process of "people empowerment" is an important vehicle for the personal development of responsible and concerned citizens actively involved in controlling their own lives and directly changing the environment in which thctY live to a more positive one.

The city of San Jose, California is presented as a case study, illustrating ways collective goals are being accomplished through unique cooperative ventures, involving community residents, local officials, and human service professionals.


Keywords


citizen involvement, community development, partnerships, empowerment, actualization, neighborhoodism, catalysUfacilitator, stewardship, self-help/-advocacy

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