Organizational Cultural Competency and Leisure Delivery

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Randy BURTZ, Western Washington University, USA
Leisure contributes to the development of strong communities, but what happens when the cultural insensitivity of agency employees creates a barrier to participation in those leisure opportunities? How do we ensure that all cultures are represented in our leisure programming, and that our leisure delivery staff are culturally competent? Cultural competence recognizes, affirms, fosters, and values the strengths of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the worth and dignity of each. Operationally defined, cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services, thereby producing better outcomes pp. 11-12. National Association of Social Workers. (2001).

Municipal leisure service agencies are charged with the formal and institutional delivery of leisure opportunities. However, these agencies and the participants in their programs are very often not represented by the sociodemographics of the publics they serve. The delivery of leisure to these varied cultures is often negatively impacted by cultural incompetence of the municipal employees of leisure services. Data was obtained from a series of 6 focus group meetings which gathered information regarding what agencies were doing to ensure that they are culturally competent, and what resources they felt were needed to aid in the delivery of culturally competent leisure services. Further, 453 employees of municipal agencies were surveyed regarding what agencies are doing to address this issue, and what challenges the employees see as paramount to delivering leisure opportunities to all groups. Results highlight the impact on the development of community through leisure opportunities explored and discussed in the context of cultural competency. The results of this study may enable other agencies to gain insight to the delivery of culturally competent programs and leisure services.