Recreation and Leisure Studies overnight retreat

 Students working on team building activity in the forest

Written by Jon, student

I didn’t originally choose Waterloo for my education. I transferred to Waterloo after studying engineering at another university and finding that it wasn't for me. I began to research my options related to sports and business. Luckily, I stumbled upon Waterloo and the Recreation and Sport Business program. It’s one of a kind with a recognizable history with co-op and courses that really suit my interests.

Jon participating in a group activity at the YMCA camp.

The Recreation and Sport Business major is ultimately what drew me in when considering altering my academic pathway.

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies offers fantastic courses in a variety of topics. One of the first courses I took was REC 120 — Program Management and Evaluation. During my time in the class, I was fortunate enough to be instructed by the department chair, Troy Glover. This introductory course allowed us to learn about recreation program design and evaluation.

As part of the curriculum related to the introduction of programming, we were given the opportunity to experience a professional program and evaluate it firsthand. This was done by having the 130+ students in the course attend the overnight REC 120 retreat. The retreat was hosted at the YMCA Camp Ki-Wa-Y just 20 minutes away.

A group of students catch one of their group mates as he swings over an obstable.

At the retreat we were immediately immersed into activities led by both our professor and YMCA staff. The YMCA staff led us through three sections of activities which included, high ropes, low ropes, and team building. Over the course of the 22 hours, we enjoyed a few meals and snacks that the YMCA provided.

Overall, we enjoyed a great weekend away from our textbooks in the sun while experiencing the YMCA programming. Upon conclusion of the experience, we wrote up a program evaluation from the perspective of a consulting firm as a course assignment.

The REC 120 retreat was a great experience that provided us an introduction to the course material. It helped us prepare to design, implement, execute, and evaluate our own recreation program, the Waterloo West Neighbourhood Fest, toward the end of the course. This was a free event hosted for families in the local community.

Discover if Recreation and Sport Business is right for you.


I’m in the middle of my second term at Waterloo, and I’m currently in the process of finding my first co-op job.  My interests lie in marketing, communications, and media. In my career, I hope to gain skills and knowledge in the sports industry from co-op work terms that will lead to a position with a sports team, brand, or organization that suits my interests.

The Faculty of Health and the Recreation department are such a tight-knit community that have played a big part in my enjoyable experience. The environment is so friendly — from the students that I have formed friendships with to the faculty members that have become role models and advisors. 

Overall, I couldn’t have made a better decision in selecting Waterloo and the Recreation and Sport Business program.

The other tip I have is to get involved in your first year because this is a fantastic school with so many opportunities to experience and grow from!

Helmets and safety harnesses used for the high ropes course. 


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