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(1) This figure includes outdoor playgrounds, recreation buildings, indoor recreation centers,
play streets, athletic fields, bathing beaches, golf courses and summer camps.
(2) Indoor centers open for the first time are not included.
(3) 26,498 of these leaders were paid from Emergency funds.
(4) $32,341,777.87 of this amount was Emergency funds.
Community Recreation Leadership, Facilities
and Activities in 1936
HE RECREATION YEAR BOOK has special significance in a period of marked change in the community recreation movement, affording as it does a basis for determining the trends in personnel, expenditures, facilities, and activities. The YEAR BOOK for 1936 is of particular interest because it indicates to what extent a general improvement in business conditions during the year was reflected in normal recreation service and also the extent to which Federal funds and personnel have contributed to recreation programs in local communities.
During recent years local recreation facilities and programs have been made possible, or extended, in many American communities because of the funds which have been made available by Federal emergency agencies. Because of this fact the YEAR BOOKS for 1933, 1934, and 1935 have been published in two sections. The main section recorded work in cities which provided local funds for recreation, although in many cases they were supplemented from Federal sources. The other section contained reports from communities in which recreation service was made possible entirely through emergency funds and which otherwise would not have been included in the YEAR BOOKS.
This year, however, because the Works Progress Administration authorities decided to make a study of the recreation work carried on under its auspices in 1936, cities reporting emergency funds only have been omitted from the YEAR BOOK. It records only service in communities which either partially or entirely financed their recreation programs from non-relief funds. It is therefore comparable in scope to the main section of the three preceding YEAR BOOKS and, except for the fact that many of the cities listed secured supplementary funds from emergency sources, it affords a fair basis for comparison with the earlier YEAR BOOKS issued by the Association. In the following pages, where references are made to data for previous years they take into account only reports from cities which provided some local funds.
The YEAR BOOK for 1936 contains reports of recreation service in 1,122 communities.* This number represents a slight decrease as compared with 1935, although this difference is more than accounted for by communities in a single state. which, in 1935, carried on a limited recreation program largely financed by emergency funds, but with small local appropriations which entitled these communities to appear in the main body of the YEAR BOOK. Otherwise, there is no marked change in the number or general distribution of the cities submitting reports. There is little evidence that in 1936 many cities took over responsibility for financing programs supported by emergency funds the previous year, or that many communities which carried on a regular program in 1935 transferred the burden to emergency authorities last year.
Because of the importance of leadership and because the number of recreation leaders paid from regular funds has decreased during the depression, it is of special interest to note an appreciable increase in the number of such workers. in 1936 when 20,052 leaders were reported employed from regular funds. Even more significant is the fact that the number of workers employed on a full time year round basis, namely 2,792, was greater than reported in any previous year. The contribution which the Federal government made to local recreation service in 1936 is suggested by the fact that 26,498 leaders supplemented the work of the workers paid from regular funds, in the cities reporting. Nearly 12,000 of these emergency workers were serving on a full-time basis. Without doubt the availability of this large number of workers paid from emergency funds accounted for the further decrease in the number of persons serving as voluntary recreation leaders.
* Reports from the following were received too late to be listed in the statistical tables although the information which they contained has been included in the summary figures: Mansfield, Ark.; Pasadena, Calif. (City and Park Department); Norwalk, Conn.; Miami Beach, Fla.; Twin Falls, Idaho; Peoria, Ill. (Recreation Commission); Oswego, Kans.; Cliffside Park, N. J.; Bend, Oregon.
Additional evidence that a start has been made in the restoring of recreation budgets is given by the figures relating to recreation expenditures. A total of nearly $24,000,000 was reported spent in 1936 as compared with nearly $21,500,000 in the preceding year. It appears that much of this increase was devoted to the development of new facilities and areas rather than to the extension of operating budgets.
Figures also indicate that local funds were supplemented in 475 cities by $32,342,000 supplied from emergency sources. The amount of money spent from emergency funds for community recreation leadership, facilities, and service in 1936 was considerably greater than the amount from local sources. These figures emphasize the magnitude of the problem which is facing local communities as to how they can increase their local budgets and maintain existing recreation services in case Federal funds are withdrawn or materially curtailed.
There was a marked increase in the number of playgrounds, recreation buildings, and indoor recreation centers conducted under leadership in 1936. In fact the number of these centers was greater than in any previous year. Total average daily attendances at summer playgrounds, namely 3,158,907, represent an increase of two-thirds over the 1935 figure and are exceeded only by the attendances reported in 1930. The total reported attendances at playgrounds throughout the year were 320,474,216, an increase of nearly 40% over 1935 and a new annual attendance record.
The total participation in programs afforded in recreation buildings and indoor centers totaled 85,880,000, an increase of 33% over previous years and by far the largest attendance ever recorded for indoor facilities. These considerable increases in the number of persons making use of outdoor and indoor centers doubtless reflect a greater use of these facilities by youth and adults and also longer periods of operation due to the availability of large numbers of emergency workers.
The tremendous extent to which community recreation agencies are serving children, youth and adults in their leisure time is further reflected by the reports of special facilities and of special recreation activities. Increases are recorded in the number of most types of 'facilities and likewise in the number of individuals taking advantage of them. To a similar extent the number of cities reporting various activities is considerably greater than in 1935 and the number of individuals participating indicates that increasingly people are taking advantage of enlarged opportunities for recreation activity.
On the whole the YEAR BOOK for 1936 presents a most encouraging picture. At the same time it offers a very definite challenge to localities to prepare for the time when they must assume more responsibility for the financing of the greatly enlarged program which is now made possible only because of Federal funds.
A total of 20,052 recreation workers were reported paid from regular funds in 702 cities in 1936, or an increase of 1,556 workers over the preceding year. It is less, however, than the number of leaders reported during the early years of the depression when fewer emergency recreation workers were available.
The total number of full time year round workers in 1936 was 2,792, a gain of 186 over 1935, and is the largest number of such workers ever reported. This figure doubtless reflects an increase in full time employment by local recreation authorities, but it also includes a few golf professionals and managers of golf courses who were not previously reported. A few cities employed
full time year round workers in 1936 for the first time. In the case of both year round and seasonal leaders, the men outnumbered the women to a greater extent than in previous years.
Cities which provided recreation service through regular funds also utilized a large number of emergency leaders in 1936. The number of such leaders, 26,498, exceeds by 5,465 the comparable number reported in 1935 and is also greater than the number of workers paid from regular funds. In other words, in the 702 cities reporting leadership paid from regular funds, there were more leaders paid from emergency funds than from other sources. Less than one-half of these emergency leaders worked on a "full time" basis.
Number of outdoor playgrounds for white and mixed groups (717 cities) Open year round (206 cities) ...
Open during summer months only (591 cities).
Open during school year only (75 cities).
Open during other seasons (141 cities)..
Average daily summer attendance of participants (5.679 playgrounds in 527 cities)...
2,101,416* 724,262* 816
In addition to the foregoing, outdoor playgrounds for colored people are reported as follows:
Average daily summer attendance of participants (290 playgrounds in 105 cities).
Total number of playgrounds for white and colored people (718 cities)..
Total attendance of participants and spectators at playgrounds during periods under leadership for white and colored people (8,402 playgrounds in 581 cities)....... ..320,474,216 Total number of playgrounds for white and colored people open in 1936 for the first time.
* In addition to this number, 5 cities report an average daily summer attendance of both participants and spectators at 523 playgrounds totaling 245,395.
** In addition to this number, 1 city reported an average daily summer attendance of both participants and spectators at 1 playground totaling 400.
One thousand three hundred and forty-seven recreation buildings were reported open under leadership in 1936 or 304 more than the previous year. Of this number, 180 were open for use under leadership in 1936 for the first time. Some of these buildings are structures built in 1935 or
1936 and others are existing buildings which were equipped and operated by personnel paid by emergency funds. The total attendance of participants recorded at 916 recreation buildings was more than fifty-five million.
Number of recreation buildings for white and mixed groups (306 cities)
Total yearly or seasonal attendance of participants (824 buildings in 217 cities).... Number of recreation buildings for white and mixed groups open in 1936 for the first time (89 cities)
In addition, recreation buildings for colored people are reported as follows:
Number of recreation buildings for colored people (88 cities)
Total number of recreation buildings for white and colored people ((321 cities)...
Total number of recreation buildings for white and colored people open in 1935 for the first time