This document is a summary of a regional Parks and Recreation conference attended by the local Community Programmes representative E.V. Ross. It includes a schedule of events, and Mr. Ross's commentary on various sessions and their implications for programmes in Northwestern Ontario.

A typed document detailing the proceedings of the Mid-Continent Conference

[Handwritten] F.W. Community Programmes file

Mid Continent Regional Parks and Recreation Conference
Huron, South Dakota
March 10, 11, 1950

The opportunity to attend the above conference held at Huron, South Dakota, March 10-11, proved to be one of the bright spots of the year for the two representatives of the Northwestern Ontario Office of the Community Programmes Branch. With the feeling that a sharing of information by anyone attending a conference of this sort is a responsibility, the following observations are submitted:

Although this conference was officially a Parks and Recreation Conference, it was quite evident from the discussion that the greater emphasis is being given to recreation.

It appeared that recreation interpreted as sports, still occupies most of the thinking. There was evidence however that knowledge gained only through definite study is being recognized as a necessary part of the recreation programe. In fact, there is a realization that the impact of recreation on the social and cultural life of the nation is the first challenge for Recreation personnel.

It was apparent that recreational problems facing communities in the United States were very similar to those facing Communities of equivalent size in Ontario. Development in some fields, such as athletic coaching and area leagues, is more advanced in the States. Almost every community of 1000 and upward seem to possess a lighted stadium.

A typed document detailing the proceedings of the Mid-Continent Conference

Conference Agenda

Friday, March 10

10:00 A.M. - Parks Panel Discussion: Topic:
"Trees and their care for the Midwest"
"Tree Feeding"

11:00 - 11:30
Topic: "Lawn Soils"

11:30 - 11:45
Discussion Period

11:45 - 12:00
Huron Park Department, Slides on Parks

12:30 Luncheon
Speaker's Topic: "Missouri River Development Park and Recreation Facilities it will provide"

2:00 p.m.
Tribute to L.H. Weir, National Recreation Association, by Charles E. Doell, Superintendent of Parks, Minneapolis:
Seven Cardinal Principles of Recreation
1. Constant urge in child for Physical Activity
2. Desire to Do something with their hands
3. Communicative Instinct
4. Insatiable Desire to Know
5. Expression of Instinct of Beauty
6. Social Instinct
7. Spiritual Instinct, Kinship of Great Powers Outside Themselves
Recreation serves all people regardless of all ages or race, No boundries
As expounded by Mr. L.H. Weir to Mid-Continent Regional Parks and Recreation Conference, Winnipeg, Canada, 1948.

Recreation Panel Discussion
Topic: "Budgets & One Man Recreation Departments. How to secure Volunteer Workers."

  • 3:00 P.M.
  • Recreation Panel Discussion. Topic: "Recreation Other Than Athletics."
  • 3:00 P.M Executive Board Meeting. No. 1 Room of the Marvin Hughitt Hotel
  • 5:30 - 7:00 "Social Hour
  • Saturday, March 11
  • 9:00 A.M. Recreation Panel Discussion
  • Topic: What's Wrong With Our Girls and Women Programme"
  • 10:30 - 12:00 Parks Panel Discussion
  • Topic: Mosquito Control in Parks and Recreation Areas"
  • (Strip Film and Movie)
  • 12:30 Saturday, Blue Room, Noon Luncheon
  • Speaker: Carl Rahmeir
  • Topic: "Hats Off to the Past; Coats Off to the Future"

A typed document detailing the proceedings of the Mid-Continent Conference

2:00 P.M. Parks and Recreation Joint Panel Discussion
Topic: "Coordinated efforts of park and recreation departments"
Topic: "Maintenance of Areas and "Equipment Necessary to Maintain These Areas"
Topic: "Planning of Playground Areas. Their design, equipment, size, location and features"
Topic: "Operation of swimming pools"

3:00 P.M. Elks Ballroom
Business meeting of conference


A typed document detailing the proceedings of the Mid-Continent Conference

Missouri River Development

The speaker, District Manager Missouri River Development Bureau of Reclamation outlined the engineering plans for the flood control and irrigation in this area.

He emphasized the fourfold factors governing this development:
1. Flood control
2. Irrigation
3. Hydro power
4. Recreation areas

It is of considerable significance that the whole development will be carried out with recreation areas as one of the governing factors.

It is of further significance that the development is being given a good deal of consideration by the Federal as well as State and local authorities.

2. A very fine tribute to Mr. Liebert H. Weir, former Field Secretary, National Recreation Association, by Charles E. Doell, Superintendent of Parks, Minneapolis. Mr. Doell pointed out that Mr. Weir might be considered as "The Father of Recreation in the United States". This he mentioned in passing inasmuch as Mr. Weir was a well known figure at Recreation Conferences in Canada during the past few years.

3. From the Panel "Budgets and One Man Recreation Departments, How to Secure Volunteer Workers," it is evident that the problems being experienced in the smaller communities in the United States are almost identical with those being experienced in the equivalent communities in Ontario.
(i) Budgets are limited and provided little more than the salary of the Recreation Director.
(ii) As a consequence of (i) volunteer workers are a necessity.
(iii) Outside of National Recreation Association Courses, there is little provision for training of volunteer leaders.
(iv) The cost of such leadership training make it rather difficult for the average community to train these volunteers.
(v) It was the feeling of both of us that the pattern through the Community Programmes Branch for leadership training on a shared basis with the community is likely to give a much greater service to needy communities, than is possible in the States.
(vi) A good deal of emphasis was placed on the need for harnessing and coordinating the facilities, leadership and efforts of all community agencies - e.g. school, service clubs, adult education bodies, State Depts. (Forestry, Agriculture, etc.) etc.
(vii) It was a matter of concern in the panel that there was no source of revenue for the purpose of hiring a female assistant who would be responsible for the women's and girls' recreation. From this we deducted that the programmes in a good many instances are largely physical in nature. we felt that were the directors concerned with stimulating and directing a balanced programme, this deficiency would not assume the same degree of importance.

4. Recreation Other than Athletics:
This panel dealt largely with playground craft programmes and recreation for older people. This subject was not explored sufficiently.

5. What's Wrong with our Girls' and Women's Programme:
Positive suggestions arising from this panel included
(i) Teen age girls need some place where they may go for association with others of the same age, even if it's "just a place to have a coke" and chat.
(ii) Some emphasis was put on the need for the family to take an interest in recreation as a family. For example, the whole family may take an interest in the Mothers weaving and before long "try their hands" at it.
(iii) The experience of most recreation people seems to indicate that women and girls don't want to be too highly "organized" but want some help in carrying out the things which they want to do. The whole discussion seemed to indicate that there is a definite need for careful consideration being given to the women and girls and their needs.

A typed document detailing the proceedings of the Mid-Continent Conference

7. Luncheon Address: "Hats Off to the Past - Coats Off to the Future" Carl Bauhmeier (Sec. S. Dakota Bankers Association.) This inspirational address by a young man provided a great deal of material for thought for recreation directors and committees. The speaker dealt with the importance of the development of Democratic Ideals in youth and stated that in his opinion the present ills of our society could be cured only through right ideals inculcated in our youth. He placed the responsibility for a good deal of this squarely on the shoulders of recreationists, by stating that theirs was the greatest opportunity for fostering right ideals. Play or recreation, being a part of the heritage the North American People can be the training ground for democratic living. This is assured if Recreation Directors and those promoting recreation can comprehend the full meaning of Recreation and accept the challenge thereby offered.

8. Coordinated Efforts of the Park and Recreation Departments:
From the discussion it was quite evident that in most communities represented the Park and Recreation people work in very close cooperation so as to prevent duplication of equipment and areas. In some States the Park and Recreation Administration is in one Department. In other States they are separated. Regardless of this there seems to be a liaison through which the emphasis is on the recreation needs of the community.
The feeling expressed was that Recreation was the "Raison d'etre" for Parks - staff and equipment.
For example in one community, recreation groups, particularly youth groups, participated in park planning and in the execution of projects such as tree planting, area development, etc. In fact, one such organization is known as the Junior Foresters.

9. Operation of Swimming Pools:
Climatic conditions in many areas seemed to make the provision of swimming pools a very definite responsibility of Parks and Recreation. Longer swimming periods during which these pools may be kept in operation, greater densities of population, and lack of easily accessible natural facilities, all contribute to this need.
Two pertinent observations were made and supported by those operating such plants:
(1) this is a need for larger sunbathing areas, surrounding the pools, than was previously thought.
(2) Regardless of location, swimming pools operate at a financial loss.

E.V. Ross
District Representative, Community Programmes.

Title: Mid Continent Regional Parks and Recreation Conference, Huron, South Dakota
Date: March 1950
Creator: E.V. Ross, District Representative of the Ontario Department of Education, Community Programmes Division
Series: 121, Fort William Parks & Recreation Files
Location: TBA 4802-23

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