Recreation Leadership

Want a career focused on helping people enjoy their “free time?” Recreation Leadership will prepare you to design and manage recreation programs that are beneficial to the mental and physical well-being of participants and recreation professionals alike! Imagine working with a group of kids on a ropes course and helping them to be more confident or running a guide service that provides access to remote area such as sea kayaking in Alaska! The world is your office and your product is unique experiences!

The Recreation Leadership program is founded on the principle that healthy recreation and leisure pursuits are critical to the development of the complete individual with a holistic approach to living. The recreation professional, regardless of the specific sector, is crucial in delivering high quality recreation and leisure experiences that impact individuals in meaningful ways. Through experiential and traditional learning environments coupled with direct application of theory and best practices, the Recreation Leadership student will develop core competencies and build on the leadership, critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for success in a broad range of career settings.

Two minors are offered through the Recreation Leadership program to provide specialized knowledge and skills to further prepare students for future careers in the recreation and tourism industry. 

Outdoor Recreation

Use of the outdoor environment and Ferrum Outdoors is an integral part of the Outdoor Recreation minor. By providing opportunities for the student body to participate in adventure pursuits, Ferrum Outdoors affords the Outdoor Recreation minor the opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate programs while gaining valuable technical and leadership skills.


One of the fastest growing and most significant trends of today’s tourism industry, Ecotourism is defined as sustainable tourism responsible to natural and scenic areas that encourages environmental and cultural conservation while promoting local economic development. A minor in Ecotourism will equip Ferrum students to be industry leaders in a rapidly expanding field.

Coursework in Recreation Leadership

The curriculum incorporates a variety of topics to prepare students for opportunities in the fields of Recreation Leadership, Outdoor Recreation, and Ecotoursim and includes courses such as:

  • REC 165 World Ecotourism Destinations and Cultures
  • REC 260 Foundations of Recreation and Leisure
  • REC 331 Community Leisure Services
  • REC 334 Commercial Recreation
  • REC 341 Program Planning and Leadership
  • REC 350 Risk Management, Safety, and Legal Issues in Recreation Administration
  • REC 360 Recreation Leadership Theory and Philosophy
  • REC 410 Recreation Administration
  • REC 413 Recreation Facility Planning, Development and Maintenance
  • REC 440 Recreation Seminar
  • REC 499 Internship


Experiential & Hands-on Learning Opportunities

The very nature of Recreation Leadership lends itself to learning through experience. As such, the curriculum utilizes an experiential education model in which students and faculty engage in meaningful and dynamic exploration of topics critical to success in the field of recreation. While students learn the principles and skills of the field, many discover and develop life-long recreational pursuits that ultimately become an integral part of their career. It is from this passion that leadership springs. From leading activities with youth to developing and implementing a special event to crafting a business plan for a recreation or ecotourism business, leadership is a primary focus of the curriculum. Multiple avenues exist for students to develop and hone their leadership skill, including:

Ferrum Outdoors

Students have a unique opportunity to develop and hone their outdoor leadership skills by organizing and leading adventure programs for the campus community. With direction and oversight from the coordinator, student leaders organize and lead winter sports, rock climbing, caving, canoeing, backpacking, and kayaking trips. Seeking improvement, student leaders are constantly evaluated by the coordinator, program participants, co-leaders, and themselves.

Campus Activities

Students in a variety of recreation classes are constantly involved with events and programs on campus and in the community. Examples include Folk Life Festival, disc golf tournaments, Panther Productions, and other campus organizations. Also, the Recreation Club provides a variety of leadership development opportunities.

Experiential Term

All students are required to participate in at least one E-term. During these intensive three-week courses, students and faculty explore a topic through direct and dynamic interaction with the content. E-term course destinations include South Africa, Alaska, Costa Rica and Peru with new destinations developed continuously.


The internship is an important component of the student's journey toward professionalism and frequently serves as one of the student's most rewarding college experiences. Typically completed the summer between the junior and senior year, internships enhance student learning by putting theories and concepts into practice with hands-on experience under the direction of a professional.

What can I be with a Major in Recreation Leadership?

A major in Recreation Leadership leads to traditional career paths, as well as less expected fields. For example:

  • You could be a(n) ...
  • Camp Director
  • College Outdoor Program Director
  • Community Rec Director
  • Ecotourism Provider
  • Natural Historic Resource Interpreter
  • Nature Center Director
  • Outdoor Adventure Guide
  • Outdoor Recreation Specialists
  • Park Manager
  • Park Planner
  • Recreation Programmer
  • Ropes Course Manager
  • Travel Consultant
  • Travel Planner
  • YMCA Director


Recreation Leadership Faculty

Professors of Ferrum College are active participants in the intellectual growth and development of the students.

Daniel Caston, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Recreation Leadership
Coordinator of Ferrum Outdoors Program
Christopher C. Mayer, Ph.D..
Assistant Professor of Recreation Leadership
Program Coordinator for Recreation Leadership
(540) 365-4494 


Administrative Support

Kathy Fletcher
Academic Secretary to Recreation Leadership
School of Social Sciences and Professional Studies
(540) 365-4514 - Office
(540) 365-4408 - Fax


Find Out More

Contact Dr. Christopher Mayer at cmayer@ferrum.edu or Dr. Dan Caston at dcaston@ferrum.edu
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