Exploration of the views of volunteers in outdoor recreation within a social economy framework / by Carrie McClelland.
McClelland, Carrie Beth
DisciplineOutdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism
SubjectVolunteers - Psychological aspects
Outdoor recreation - Psychological aspects
Volunteers - Social aspects
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Volunteers play a significant role in providing important services to a community. Not only do these services create opportunities for community members to participate in a variety of activities, but they also offer numerous benefits for the individual volunteer. The purpose of this study is to investigate the views of volunteers in outdoor recreation regarding their contributions to community and personal well-being. This topic is investigated within a social economy framework in order to effectively understand the place of volunteering in community processes. Using a qualitative approach, 13 exploratory interviews were conducted with outdoor recreation volunteers in Whitehorse during the spring and summer of 2007. The open interview format allowed study participants the freedom to discuss how they felt their volunteer work contributed to their personal well-being, as well as to the greater community. A modified snowball sampling technique was easily applied combining community referrals and systematic cold calling. Interview transcripts were coded to organise passages under common themes. The findings from this study are grouped under five areas of interest; Lifestyle and Sense of Identity, Personal Benefits, Community Benefits, Pressure, and The Influence of Money. It was found that individuals receive benefits such as increase knowledge, social connections, and empowerment from volunteering in outdoor recreation and that the community receives these benefits through their work. These benefits relate to the social economy through their contributions to community development and exchanges in social capital.