What does a Recreation Supervisor do?

Jessica Ellis

A recreation supervisor works to create, coordinate, and implement recreational programs. A skillful and creative professional, a recreation supervisor may work with community centers, schools, churches, or parks and recreation departments. This job takes both excellent management skills and a flair for creating exciting and popular programs for a targeted group of the community.

A recreation supervisor may be tasked with reviewing the performance of a camp or park's workers.
A recreation supervisor may be tasked with reviewing the performance of a camp or park's workers.

Some recreation supervisor jobs require a four-year college degree, but some may allow relevant experience to qualify a candidate for a job of this type. Those with schooling typically have a background in physical education, teaching, or hospitality and leisure management. Candidates must often demonstrate managerial as well as creative skills in order to land and maintain a recreation supervisor position.

Depending on the job description, a recreation supervisor may be the head of a recreation program or may report to a project or division manager. The more authority the job offers, generally the more ability the supervisor has to be creative and create the message or emphasis of the program. If serving under a project manager, the job may involve more implementation and supervision than actual creation of recreation programs.

As a supervisor, it is important for a person in this type of job to ensure that programs are efficiently implemented and running according to plan. A recreation supervisor may train the teachers, guides, and helpers that run the actual classes or programs. For hired workers, the supervisor may be required to monitor job performance and give performance reviews. Since many who work with recreation programs are volunteers, a supervisor can be instrumental in instilling a love of the career and the program in these workers.

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Types of programs a recreation supervisor may be involved in vary widely. He or she may be hired to create after-school programs for at risk kids, activities for seniors, wilderness exploring adventures for summer camps, or activities that provide religious education for children. It is important for a supervisor to have a clear understanding of the aim of the program and the available budget and resources.

Scheduling is also a major part of many supervisor jobs, as several activities may be scheduled for different groups all at once. Supervisors must be able to allocate available staff, resources, and working spaces for each activity based on the size of the group, the need for space, and the length of the activity. In addition to ensuring that participants are having a good time and staff is performing correctly, this turns being a recreation supervisor into a complex, though often rewarding, juggling act.

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