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Duties of a Recreation Assistant

by Kristine Tucker

Senior citizen centers, athletic clubs, physical therapy centers, youth camps and fitness organizations often hire recreation assistants to help with daily activities. A recreation assistant works under a supervisor who delegates tasks related to sports, games, movies, crafts, music and other recreation. Recreation assistants are often responsible for setting up equipment for an activity and cleaning up once the event is over. A recreation assistant doesn't usually need a formal education. Some facilities hire high school students to work part-time after school.

Organize Activities

A recreation assistant organizes activities for youth, adults and senior citizens under the supervision of a recreation leader. For example, an assistant creates art projects for children at summer camp, organizes board games for senior citizens and arranges basketball tournaments for athletic clubs. A manager oversees the assistant to make sure activities are well-structured, safe and enjoyable. A recreation assistant helps to facilitate events led by recreation managers. She might organize and set up tables, chairs, sports equipment, electronic equipment, musical instruments and art supplies.

Maintain Equipment

Recreation assistants clean and maintain equipment to make sure it's tidy, germ-free and safe for use. For example, assistants sanitize sports equipment, clean weight-lifting equipment, discard broken or hazardous supplies, wash dirty containers, empty paint trays, sanitize table surfaces and maintain musical instruments. Once a supervisor trains a recreation assistant on cleaning methods and requirements, he often delegates those responsibilities to the assistant. An assistant reports damaged, faulty or irreparable equipment to his supervisor so it can be replaced or repaired.

Explain and Enforce Rules

A recreation assistant helps to explain and enforce the rules for activities and events. For example, a recreation assistant might referee a ball game, oversee "Bingo Night' or teach children the rules for ping pong. According to Education Portal, recreation assistants should be comfortable working with both the elderly and youth populations and must have excellent customer service, communication and public speaking skills. A patient and positive attitude makes it easier to give instruction and help customers when they need assistance.

Qualities and Training

Employers often seek recreation assistants who have one to two years of experience, although entry-level positions are available, according to Education Portal. Education and experience are beneficial to the job, but an assistant's rapport with children or senior citizens, creativity level, socialization skills, responsibility level and friendly personality are highly valued by supervisors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that most seasonal and part-time recreation workers learn through on-the-job training or specialized training in art, music, drama or athletics. There are degree programs in recreational therapy and a certification option known as Activities Assistant Certified, but Education Portal states that most employers don't require recreation assistants to be certified.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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