Recreation and Sport Pedagogy Alumni Spotlight
Look at where our alumni have landed in their careers!! Proud to spotlight our Recreation Studies alumni each month!!
James Gant, Director of Prairie Township Community Center, earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in Recreation Studies at Ohio University. When he first considered studying recreation, he saw it as a way to make a positive impact on youth. As Mr. Gant put it: "I wanted to be able to work with kids outside and teach them about nature. Teach them about all kinds of things, whether it be how to be part of a community, or how to be a good friend, and recreation was a great avenue for me." Another motivation for studying recreation was his love of the outdoors: "I just loved being outside, whether it was backpacking, kayaking, or rock climbing. I loved all of it and was excited I could pursue a job that would allow me to do those things."
As Director of Prairie Township Community Center, Mr. Gant has many responsibilities: "I oversee our community center as well as our park development. Currently, we are building a 110-acre sports complex, and I oversee some of the construction, programming, maintenance, and operations of that facility." Even with all these responsibilities, Mr. Gant states his favorite part of the job is simply working with people, helping them get healthy, and getting them to connect more as a community.
Reflecting on his time in the Recreation Studies program, Mr. Gant states: "I think the program was really good at teaching me the skills I needed to work with people and the skills I needed to change and adapt and be able to continue learning. Having professors who genuinely cared about me, wanted the best for me, and challenged me to do things I maybe would not have done or didn't think that I was cut out for, but they would see it for me and push me in those areas." Aside from professional development, Mr. Gant reflected on his more personal experiences while at Ohio University: "I think one of the biggest things was the connections with friends you make in school. I just loved the people. I loved the community of Athens, and I learned so much about myself there. I made so many friends that were life long, and I still connect with them regularly. It's the place I met my wife, and it was a great time in my life where I learned a lot about myself, who I was, and getting clarity on how I could impact the world. I just loved the whole experience of OU."
When asked what advice he would give current students Mr. Gant responded, "Take advantage of all the opportunities you have to volunteer and gain as many different types of experiences you can, and get involved with Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. Connect with as many different professionals as you can, as the recreation community is a very small community, and it's very interconnected and other professionals will help you in so many ways."
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Author: Emma Fisher