The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies is a division of the Faculty of Health
Are you interested in studying Recreation and Leisure Studies but aren't sure what you might do afterwards?
Read below to learn about the career paths some of our Recreation alumni have taken. See our graduation statistics to find out what our most recent graduating class is up to one year after completing our program.
After graduating from Therapeutic Recreation (TR) at Waterloo, Sharon went to Queen's University for Occupational Therapy and shortly after landed a job as a Registered Occupational Therapist with CBI Health Centre. As a co-op student studying TR, she had opportunities to work in hospitals and volunteer for health care organizations. Additionally, having the chance to work alongside interdisciplinary team members allowed Sharon to understand the different scopes of practice that exist, and eventually, find her passion for Occupational Therapy.
In her role in the Specialized Mental Health Program at Grand River Hospital, Lindsey supports individuals with a variety of mental health diagnoses; including depression, schizophrenia, concurrent disorders, and dual diagnoses. She works with each individual to figure out what leisure interventions, individual and group- based, will assist in their recovery.
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Samantha Van deMark
Samantha discovered therapeutic recreation as a hospital volunteer during high school and saw how it could have benefited a close relative with dementia. Through the Therapeutic Recreation Co-op program, she graduated with almost two years of work experience working with all ages in a variety of settings and was able to complete the course and internship requirements for professional certifications. Shortly after graduation, she became a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), was Registered with Therapeutic Recreation Ontario (R/TRO), and was working in her chosen field within a year.
In Lindsie's role as an Activities Coordinator at Luther Village, she works with older adults and coordinates activities for them with a therapeutic recreation lens. She had several summer camp jobs and worked with diverse populations which led to her wanting to explore working with seniors. Lindsie's insight for future students is that your decision is never set in stone, it's okay to change your mind. The therapeutic recreation field is incredibly rewarding, and you can make it what you want.
Recreation and facilities
Thomas Van der Hoff
Thomas discovered a passion for promoting and facilitating recreation at the municipal level through his academic and co-op experiences at the University of Waterloo. As the Manager of Operations and Projects for the Township of Woolwich, Thomas oversees the operations of not only recreation but all facilities within the Township.
Sport and event management
President of Hockey Operations
Kirt is the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager for Edmonton Oil Kings. He has previously worked as a Manager and Director of Player Development and Recruitment at Western Hockey League, and as an National Hockey League (NHL) Amateur Scout for Chicago Blackhawks. Waterloo prepared him for the day-to-day operations in the sports industry and provided a clear idea of managing large and small scale sporting events and understanding people and athletes from a recreational and competitive perspective. Kirt's advice for students is to be open to all types of roles in high-performance sports and to network within the industry.
Tourism and hospitality
Destination Project Manager
Ashley completed Recreation and Business (Tourism Option) and her master’s degree (Tourism) at Waterloo. She has been a lecturer at Humber College and the University of Waterloo, and worked as the Events & Outreach Manager at the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area. Now, Ashley is the Destination Project Manager at Regional Tourism Organization Four Inc. (RTO4), working for the region she grew up in, and a part-time professor at Durham College. Placemaking, community building, and sustainable approaches to tourism are at the core of her tourism philosophy.
Leveraging a previous co-op connection, Vince landed a position as Office Manager of OWL Rafting shortly after graduation. In this role he oversaw guest communications, hired and trained a team of 50+ staff, completed managerial financial analysis, and more. After moving to British Columbia, Vince became Assistant Manager at Sea to Sky Adventure Company, a tourism outfitter that offers guided tours, rental equipment, and lessons in mountain biking, water sports, and hiking. There, Vince oversees all guests’ relations, guides tours, and manages the day-to-day operations.
Sara is the Director of Community Impact at United Way Elgin Middlesex, a regional charity focused on poverty reduction and prevention. Her role includes planning and implementing the organization's Community Impact Strategy and allocating $6 million in community funding every year.
At Focus on Nature, an organization that runs nature photography workshops in elementary schools, Natalie is responsible for recruiting, hiring, managing, and supervising paid and volunteer staff, as well as overseeing fund development, marketing, and community outreach activities and coordinating their workshops and camps. While a student at Waterloo, Natalie participated in the Disney experience, taking courses at the University of Florida and working at Walt Disney World.
Prior to landing her position as Field Manager at marketing agency Mosaic North America, Avree was involved in the business and marketing industry in various ways. She spent one of her co-op work terms working at an experiential agency and worked at different agencies as a Brand Ambassador. Avree chose the Recreation and Sport Business program because it gave her a mix of business and hands-on experience. Avree's advice to students is to network to build up your connections.
Ian is a Partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at the law firm of Fogler Rubinoff LLP. Ian’s practice includes commercial litigation (with an emphasis on shareholder and partnership disputes), insurance litigation and coverage disputes, and construction litigation. Ian also acts for lawyers, law firms and politicians on litigation and non-litigation matters.
Tanya began her social media career with an unpaid internship as a Community Manager for a live stream internet show. After a year, through hard work, networking and a bit of luck she was recommended to work for CBC Sports for the Sochi Olympics. Since 2014 she has built her role and team at CBC and is currently working on creating the social experience for her 4th Olympic Games; Tokyo in 2021.