Strategic Plan 2009-2014 - Leisure: Enhancing the Human Condition
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The World Leisure Organization’s new strategic plan, Leisure: Enhancing the Human Condition – Priorities & Strategies 2009 – 2014, was completed and has been disseminated to the organization’s membership. The strategic planning process, established in 2006, was a process involving international goal setting in order to guide the work of the organization in the future. The process involved several steps aimed at gathering information, examining current and past experiences and reviewing new expectations as a way of focusing the resources of the organization toward selected goals and priorities for the future.
To begin the strategic planning process, a series of discussion papers were prepared related to preparing dialog on current topics and issues of concern to the organization. Discussion papers focused on a wide range of topics and were presented at the World Leisure Organization’s Board of Directors Meeting in 2006. Following this conversation, a subcommittee crafted a draft document outlining the basic moral and philosophical principles of the organization, including its views on leisure and a call for a new focus linking the work of the organization to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This was followed by a review of the draft document by the World Leisure Organization’s Executive Committee in 2007. In 2008, the revised document was presented to the World Leisure Organization’s Board of Directors in Quebec City, Canada and an open session was held to receive input from the membership as a whole. The final document was prepared for distribution in January 2009.
The new World Leisure Organization’s strategic plan views leisure as “... a central focus in enhancing the human condition” (Leisure, in this context, is viewed as “ ... universal, and a vital component to experiencing life at its fullest... what is clear is that leisure can support the creation of global civil society as it is integral to the social, cultural, economic and sustainable development and the well being of individuals, communities and nations.” The strategic plan identifies leisure as “... a unique human activity born from enlightened personal freedom depending on goodwill among all people ... [and] ... as a pro-social public policy, leisure is a means of achieving a happy and good life and is consistent with the aims of environmental stability." Further, leisure contributes “... to quality of life and wellbeing, the enhancement of social relations and social capital and as a place of expression and engagement in democratic life." As such, leisure is seen as “... important for social and voluntary involvement as well as the expression of solidarity and a sense of belonging.”
There are six key goals and priorities established in the new strategic plan. A number of these goals and priorities have been extended from the previous World Leisure strategic planning initiative, A World Fit for Living: World Leisure Priorities for People 2004-2008 (2003). This linkage was intentional in order to promote continuity between the current and previous strategic planning initiatives. New priorities and goals are as follows:
• To align and link the efforts of the World Leisure Organization to affirm, complement and support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG) project. By identifying with the United Nations, the World Leisure Organization has a moral imperative to reflect and participate in its goals. The MDGs provide a framework, enabling the World Leisure Organization to operate in the context of an international effort; thereby linking to the broader world community.
• To explore through research and scholarly activities the relationship of leisure to the concept of identity, the process of transformation and ways in which leisure contributes to enhancing the human condition. The World Leisure Organization provides a focus for researchers and scholars to address and disseminate findings as a way of improving, enhancing and informing professional practice, as well as gaining understanding of the phenomenon of leisure.
• To advocate for leisure by creating and disseminating policy statements, model legislative acts and information regarding leisure benefits. The World Leisure Organization’s advocacy activities are focused on creating and disseminating policy statements, model legislative acts and information regarding leisure benefits. Advocacy activities bring greater attention, visibility and interest to the importance of leisure and its value in improving the human condition.
• To provide educational opportunities and other learning venues focusing on ways in which leisure contributes to identity formulation, transformation and improving the human condition. Providing educational opportunities to better understand the nature and value of leisure is increasingly important. Leisure education in its many and varied formats is carried out by schools, government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations and serves the public as a whole, as well as professionals, government officials and policy makers.
•To strengthen partnerships, collaborative relationships and cooperative activities and ventures with related agencies, organizations, institutions, associations and societies. We live in a world that requires the blending of organizational resources, the building of partnerships and the creation of cooperative programs and services. Leisure, in its many and varied forms, engages individuals in a large number of groups, organizations, associations and societies which, when connected, enhance and promote effective use of resources and community building.
•To expand the membership of the World Leisure Organization in numerical and geographical terms. Seeking new members for the World Leisure Organization will provide enhanced opportunities for advocacy, networking, educational opportunities, collaboration and partnership building as well as providing a means for extending our influence in underserved areas of the world. A particular emphasis will be placed on encouraging the involvement of practicing professionals, policy makers and officials, community lay leaders, students and other interested individuals, and especially affiliate agencies and organizations.
Translating these priorities and goals into action, the new strategic plan identifies a number of very specific activities to be implemented during the plan’s timeframe. Such activities will provide specific opportunities for the World Leisure Organization to advance its new priorities and goals.
The World Leisure Organization’s strategic planning initiative was lead by Dr. Christopher Edginton and Dr. Roger Coles. They were assisted by Dr. Gerald Fain, Dr. Larry Neal, and Dr. Derek Casey. Members of the World Leisure Board of Directors contributed to the document, including Dr. Ricardo Uvinha, Prof. Peter Chen, Dr. Susan Koch, Prof. Francis Lobo, Dr. Jeong Myung Gim, Mr. Ram Lolllchand, Dr. Karen Barak, Mr. Collin Tilley, Dr. Ling Ping, Dr. André Thibault, Prof. Atara Sivan, Mr. Leif Almö, Dr. Bob Robertson, Mr. Andrew Williams, and Mr. Jack Agrios. Staff support included Ms. Kimberly Heffernan Moss and Ms. Carol Bean. We are grateful to the World Leisure Organizations membership for their input and suggestions.