The Value of Ethnic History Studies to Cultural Competence in Organized Youth Recreation


  • Daniel Theriault Benedict College
  • Rasul Mowatt Indiana University



diversity, inclusion, leisure, out of school time, youth development


Several scholars have argued that cultural competence is an important component of youth recreation service. Although history is a critical element of culture, knowledge of ethnic history has received little attention within discussions of culturally competent youth recreation service. Ethnic history studies—histories that emphasize the experience of minoritized populations—can both fill this gap and build awareness of the complexity and nuance of cultures. Radical healing is described as a framework to think about potential applications of ethnic history to organized youth recreation. Radical healing seeks to build the capacity of young people to create the communities in which they want to live. We recommend that practitioners develop activities that both connect youths’ present with their past and balance wounds with strengths. Such activities further youths’ understanding of their present while creating opportunities for community engagement. Even though ethnic history knowledge does not reveal the true nature of youth, it may allow practitioners to see minoritized youth in a more holistic manner; to see that past events have created limitations and possibilities for who young people are and who they might become.Subscribe to JPRA