Indiana State University professor Nathan Schaumleffel and students in his RCSM 345 course (Community Organizations and Leisure Services) are working toward launching an Indiana Rural Recreation Development Project (InRRDP) in Rockville. The eventual goal is to develop sustainable local recreation and leisure services through collaboration with organizations and individuals in a variety of rural communities.
Currently, Schaumleffel, assistant professor of recreation and sport management, and his students are working with the Rockville Town and Park boards to develop and implement a Recreation and Leisure Needs Assessment for teens. Once that is completed, the plan is for students to use next semester to work on developing funding mechanisms for public park and recreation programming and possibly even facility development.
Rockville Town Board President Lona Lucas said the call from Schaumleffel initiating the partnerships was a blessing in disguise. Teens in the town had a habit of hanging around town with no real place to be and nothing to keep them occupied in a positive way, she said.
“We wanted to do something for them [teens] so they didn’t feel left out, but we didn’t really know how to go about it,” Lucas said. “We don’t have the resources to develop things like this on our own, so the call from Dr. Schaumleffel was a godsend.”
Schaumleffel, whose main research area is rural recreation development, served as project manager for the Illinois Rural Recreation Development Project (IRRDP at www.ilruralrec.uiuc.edu) while working on his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. He hopes, with the help of his students, to keep that momentum going at Indiana State.
“I spent three years playing a central role with the Illinois project, from providing rural communities with day camps into a true community development project — master planning, grant writing, etc.,” he explained. “I plan to continue in that direction with the Indiana project.”
Students involved in this effort (all recreation and sport management majors) include Emily Allen, Hobart; Maureen Crockett, Indianapolis; Michael DeChant, Indianapolis; Lindsay Dunlap, Mooresville, N.C.; Edward Hastings, Noblesville; Megan Lesar, South Bend; Matt McCurdy, Terre Haute; Joshua Peltier, Terre Haute; Joe Pittman, Brownstown; Lynda Sturgis, Poland; and William Woolery, Brazil.
Depending on the success of the teen program implementation, Schaumleffel and his students may venture into community-wide, long-term community park and recreation master planning to improve public services for all Rockville residents.
“This is a baby step in establishing a comprehensive InRRDP,” said Schaumleffel, who hopes, with the proper funding and staff, to be able to work with 15 to 20 communities a year on different recreation and leisure projects.
“He [Schaumleffel] knows the steps to take, how to engage the students, and his students know very well how to engage the teens,” Lucas added. “It’s helping not only the students at ISU but the students and teens in our town. We’re very excited about it.”