You will take an active part in a community outreach activity of your choosing; this will enable you to connect with the needs of the community (e.g., work at a shelter, a camp, a recreation center, tutoring younger children, etc.). This can be purely voluntary, or it can be an activity related directly to your employment. Typically, the observation will last between 2–4 hours. However, the observation may take longer, and enough observation must be done in order to complete all aspects of this assignment.
Upon completion of your observation, you will write a 3-page paper explaining the experience and what was learned from the experience. Using the information about sociology gained from the course, you will answer the following 4 questions in detail (Note: these questions must be your subheadings when writing the paper):
1. What was observed during the experience?
2. How did the experience affect you?
3. What are the needs of the population that you interacted with for this assignment?
4. How can you help make a difference with this group?
What was observed during the experience?
Over the course of the week, I decided to take part in recreational activities in my community by visiting the local recreation center. There were many people in the recreation center mainly because it was during the weekend. The recreation center features youth game rooms, gymnasiums and cardiovascular equipment, swimming pools, weight rooms, indoor play structures, and other facilities. The recreation center offers more than gyms and swimming pools; it has programs and scheduled events for all ages. In some programs, one is required to register at an earlier period. Some of the scheduled events are archery, movie nights, and family events such as ‘daddy daughter dance’.
The experience was quite enthralling. All people were engaging in different fun activities. Some came as families while others were in groups of friends. In the park, there were more males than females. Majority of those in the park were adults in the age bracket 20 – 35 years. The park had more males than females in all age groups. The population segment with the lowest number of people was the elderly, or those above 50 years. Most of the adults were utilizing the tracks in the recreation center. The swimming pool and gymnasium also had a relatively high number of adults. Most children engaged in various fun activities such as the jumping castles, and were in the company of their parents.
How did the experience affect you?
The experience made me feel socially connected with others in the neighborhood. During the visit to the recreation center, I interacted with many people, both from the neighborhood and others from far-flung areas. There were people drawn from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. I interacted with a number of individuals and even made new friends. One thing I noticed is that people were friendly irrespective of the differences between them. This had a positive effect on my self-esteem. It was easy to make friends and additionally, various social groups were willing to welcome me to take part in the activities they were conducting. For instance, I joined a group of young men who were competing on the tracks.
My visit to the recreation center positively affected my mood. Due to participation in fun activities and the great social experience, I felt happier than I were when going to the center. This indicates that recreation centers can lower stress and depression levels on an individual. In the evening, I felt fatigued but took this positively knowing that exercise is good for one’s health. Visiting the recreation center often can help me improve my health by adopting an active lifestyle.
Related: Gang Violence
What are the needs of the population that you interacted with for this assignment?
The population segments I mostly interacted with were teens and young adults. One the needs of these groups are to feel loved through belonging to a certain group. Those in their teens need to feel loved by others. Acceptance by other group members is of significant importance to each of them. Since many of teens belong to certain cliques or groups, they must adhere to the moral values prescribed by the group. As such, all members in such cliques engaged in similar activities. For instance, they could all be swimming or on the tracks. This shows membership to such groups is of great value to them.
For the younger adults, their specific needs seem to be socialization with members of opposite gender. Most adults were not in cliques unlike the teens. A large share of the adults was keen on keeping fit. They mainly engaged in physical activities that are directly associated with improved health. For instance, they comprised the largest number utilizing the gymnasiums and cardiovascular equipment. This means that they are conscious about their health. Another section of adults was interested in having their children play at the recreation center. Children need to play in order to lead healthier lives and to develop social connections.
How can you help make a difference with this group?
I can make a difference with the teenage group in a number of ways. It is worth noting that teens have a higher risk of engaging in criminal deviant activities due to peer influence. Engaging in recreational activities can help prevent teens from engaging in criminal activities. It is also important to provide counseling and training to this group. Providing training on various topics such as drugs, sex, and crime can help keep this group from engaging in deviant behavior. There is also need to provide opportunities to young individuals. For instance, older teens can be provided with job opportunities when they are done with school.
With regard to the adults, there is need to provide them with employment opportunities. It is also critical to offer career guidance to such a group. Providing career guidance can help most individuals in this group to learn important life skills that can enable them earn a living. I can also make a difference with this group by providing information on dieting and living healthier lifestyles.