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CHART IV

PUBLIC (TAX) SUPPORT AND PRIVATE (ENDOWMENT AND CONTRIBUTION)*

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*Support of the three major divisions of social work in Cleveland, in thousands of dollars. For comparison, dotted lines are inserted to show what the figures would be for a city of Cleveland's size with income equal to the average per capita for the nineteen cities studied.

COMMUNITY RECREATION: ITS SIGNIFICANCE, OBJECTIVES,
MACHINERY, AND STANDARDS

Eugene T. Lies, Special Representative, Playground and Recreation
Association of America, Chicago

In view of the fact that it was not possible to get in hand before the opening of the Conference the material which was being prepared in Cleveland, setting forth especially the recreation and character building agencies in that city (which material I was supposed in this paper to analyze and evaluate) it seemed to me it would be of some value to offer instead a dissertation embodying some important aspects of the field of community recreation. This has been done with the approval of the chairman of the division on Organization of Social Forces. From this presentation it is possible that hearers and readers may be able to make their own critique of almost any city's achievement along community recreation lines.

As a preliminary to an understanding of the first-rate importance of this field of civic and social endeavor, however, it is necessary for us to realize very clearly what have been the dynamic forces behind its rapid development in America. Without this realization we cannot hope to come anywhere near a proper evaluation of what is going on. After I have described these forces as best I can within my time limits, I shall try to explain the significant objectives of the movement, the types of machinery through which community recreation functions, their merits and demerits, and cite recognized tests or standards by which to judge a community's status in this field.

Why the rapid development in community recreation in the United States?Nearly every year for the last nineteen years, in the annual compilation of facts and figures regarding community recreation prepared by the Playground and Recreation Association of America, there has been a showing of consistent progress. For example, expenditures of nearly $1,000,000 in 1907 reached a total of $18,816,000 in 1925; whereas in 1907 there were only a few score of paid workers, last year 17,177 were reported, the increase in the last three years alone being 6,210; in 1925 there were, as far as known, 748 cities which conducted recreation programs under leadership, while in 1913 there were 342, an increase of 406 in twelve years; the number employing all-the-year-round leaders increased from 83 to 320 in this period, a really significant mark of progress; the total valuation of property utilized for recreation purposes in 1925 was upward of $100,000,000.

While all this is true, the impression must not be given that America has reached its goal of ultimate achievement in respect to recreation for all of its people. It has not, for there are possibly 400 cities of 8,000 and upward that have done practically nothing as yet, and several more hundred of lesser size that have nothing to boast of. And yet the progress indicated is so great as to merit

the conclusion that it does signify that some determined thinking has been behind it all as a driving force. It is not so difficult to understand the backgrounds of this thought, for one simply needs to observe and analyze what is going on. Our urban population has been growing rapidly. With it comes congestion. With congestion comes occupation of open areas, harassing living conditions, menaces to health, character, and happiness. Wise men declare that this is dangerous, and that the city itself must provide places for play and recreation for its people if it would not reap a whirlwind from its sowing of the wind. Furthermore, we are a strenuous people, and we are proud of it. Does this characteristic not account for the covered wagon adventurers, moving ever westward in the olden days, seeking new worlds to conquer; for the marvelous achievements in the mechanical and commercial fields? Is there not a sign of it in the ownership by Americans of 20,000,000 automobiles, 15,000,000 more than are in existence in the rest of the world, and some of them capable of going 100 miles an hour if hard put to it? And what about the seaplane that last year negotiated 245 miles an hour?

But the other side of the ledger shows that there are some 290,000 persons in our asylums for the insane, and that the number of private sanatoriums for nervous breakdowns is increasing out of proportion to the population increase. Then, too, while the germ diseases are being conquered, the organic diseases accompanying sedentary life are rapidly increasing. No wonder, then, that the insistent demand for parks, play areas, athletic fields is heard in the land.

If we take pains to inquire we shall find that both the captain of industry and the organized labor leader are concerned about what is happening to industrial workers as a result of the rapidly spreading use of the automatic machine and of the fine division of labor processes. What they see is deterioration of physical stamina, blighting of spiritual nature, plugging up of creative outlets, repugnance to the job; and what they are saying is that obviously, off the job in his free hours, the worker must get those opportunities and experiences which will balance him up again, give him exercise and blood circulation, tone his mind and spirit, and give him hope if he is to be saved to his family and to good citizenship and not become a mere robot, a clod. No wonder, then, that the American Federation of Labor, many state federations, and craft bodies have in the last few years been passing resolution after resolution calling for increased and better community recreation programs in all our cities; and that business and industrial leaders are active in cooperative efforts to get facilities established for service to adults as well as to children.

But these citations of fact do not tell the whole story. There is the revelation brought to us through the draft examinations in the Great War, that one-third of our young men, supposed to be at the most robust period of their lives, were physically defective to such degree as to be incapable of effective service, and that at a time when civilization hung in the balance and no man dared say which way it was going. Here certainly was indicated the need of a renaissance in phys

ical education and training in the United States. Coupled with this showing, we cite the results for years of the physical examination of school children, revealing a shocking state of affairs.

What the educators, the workers with juvenile delinquents, the thinkers in the social hygiene field, and in the church have been saying in these latter days about the all-round developmental and character building values in constructive play under trained guidance, amounting, seemingly to a thrilling rediscovery, has been of great value as reinforcement to those agencies professionally engaged in aiding cities and towns to do their duty by providing more adequate facilities and right leadership for leisure time activities. With greater unanimity, and more clearly than ever before, they see in the play urge something spiritual to tie to and to utilize in preventing human waste and moral dereliction, while at the same time contributing to the wholeness of life. They would use it as a stabilizing factor in an era more complex and distracting by far than any which ever preceded it.

It is our judgment that much of the progress in the community recreation field is due to the second thought of the American people, that after all, what we get out of our work goes pretty much into our pockets, and what we get out of our leisure goes into our characters; that life can, and ought to be, less grim and more joyous; that living means more than merely existing; that the child's proper business is play, and if we deny it to him we shall deserve what we'll gethuman wreckage-and that we shall be doing a criminal thing.

Objectives of community recreation.-One element in the theory upon which modern programs of community recreation are based is that all the people, young and old, need it. In the early days we thought only of the needs of the youngsters in the congested areas of great cities, whereas now we know that rich and poor of all ages and of all races everywhere require this life-giving, lifeenriching and life-saving influence.

Then, too, we are thinking that in a materialistic age nothing is more important than a continuous injection of the creative spirit, which is the spirit of play. Not merely to fill free hours with pastime, but to draw out, through selfparticipation, the inner powers of human beings in ways that give a glow of satisfaction, a sense of enlargement, is one of the great motives in the play leader's effort. Thus does he tap talents and cause them to flourish; thus does he enable children, youth, and adults to get more out of life. Under the stimulation and guidance of those who know their job, the child will get, through adapted, progressive, and varied types of physical play, what he needs for the development of those 13,000,000,000 neurons which we are told he possesses at birth and without which he is doomed to come to the adolescent period subnormal in body and nerve stamina. He will receive that development of muscle and vital organs so basically necessary for mental progress.

Furthermore, the highest type of leaders have keenly in mind the real possibilities in group activities for the training of social attitudes such as fairness,

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