The demographic trends indicate that the growth of population for the ethnic and racial minority groups in the United States hence the increase in their use of urban recreational facilities such as parks and sports complexes. Delivery and development of effective urban outdoor leisure and recreation services require concerted efforts by the park managers and authorities to assess and provide for interests and recreational needs of ethnic and racial minority groups such as the Latino (Gobster 2002). The article focuses on comparison of recreation participation and visitation patterns among the Latino ethnic group in relation to a study conducted at three urban outdoor recreation places of different nature. This paper provides both detailed insight and critique of the article "reaction participation patterns and physical activity among Latino visitors to three urban outdoor recreation environments" by Kimberley, Monica and Monika.
There is emphasis on the physical activities that normally take place in the different outdoor recreation environments in relation to the Latino men and women. The study conducted in the three recreation sites and facilities, which include outdoor sports facility or complex in Aurora, Illinois, two different community parks located in Elgin, Illinois and a specific location within the Lincoln Park, Chicago that have extensive and elaborate trail system. The examination of physical participation and recreation among the Latino men and women in the three locations indicating differences in gender participation among the Latino since in all the three environments of study, the Latino men tended to participate in LTPA than women except for walking , where the Latino women engaged in more than the Latino men.
The article "reaction participation patterns and physical activity among Latino visitors to three urban outdoor recreation environments" by Kimberley, Monica and Monika assumes that Latino women engaged more in walking because of child-care activities within the park or the preferences of walking as a low impact exercise and physical activity ( Monica 2010). The articles outline the gender aspects and differences in the use of recreational facilities as well as issues of access to such facilities.
It is however important to note that the Latino women generally tend to engage in passive activities irrespective of whether they have child care responsibility or not and thus walking is a better option according to the Latino women because it is less demanding in terms of physical activity (Gobster 2002). Of significance is the statistics that many Latinos work in high impact physical occupations. The Latino men still proceed to participate and prefer the physically demanding recreation activities while the Latino women exhibit little interest in such high impact physical activities thus the question,
The study concerning the trail use for various activities such as walking, cycling and jogging does not consider the preferences of the trail users or the diversity of the amenities. Challenges such as few policy guidelines and existing research findings concerning recreation habits of minority affect the content of such a study though it is evident among the previous studies and researches that there are existing differences between whites and the minorities concerning visiting sports complexes and facilities or visiting parks.
However, the task is daunting and difficult to achieve especially in the urban areas where there is limited available green space and the fact that the demand for recreational activities varies compounded with users of such facilities coming from diverse ethnic, religious, cultural and racial backgrounds. The article "reaction participation patterns and physical activity among Latino visitors to three urban outdoor recreation environments" by Kimberley, Monica and Monika fails to consider such dynamics as it lays emphasis on Latino racial group (Monica 2010). It is equally difficult to come up with a public recreation facility admitting only Latinos as such a move only amplifies the problem of racism.
Some of the gender concerns outlined by the article such as the gender participation equally transcend other cultural and racial groups other than the Latino. The idea or notion that women prefer to participate in passive recreational activities as compared to the physically demanding recreational activities does not only affect the Latinos, but equally affects other minority groups such as Hispanics and black racial groups in the United States of America.
The failure by the authors of the article to base their study and research of this article to represent the broader Latino society in reference to their social and economic status as well as geographic location is a major limitation of this particular article as making any authorities generalization regarding the participation patterns can be quite misleading. The sample used in the study is not representative of the upper and middle class Latino community regarding LTPA Engagement and other participation patterns.
The park managers can make serious attempts to offer trail and park facilities that visitors and users can find enjoyable. However challenges of access, safety and security perceptions, multiplicity of functions of urban parks and the expectation to serve and largely satisfy multicultural visitors with conflicting needs continue to characterize the urban parks and other recreational facilities.
In an attempt to provide a solution to the minimal participation of women in the physical recreational activities, the article highlights practical solution that can improve the participation of women in physical recreational activities. For example coming up with programs that can help women with childcare responsibilities as this makes them free to engage in the physical recreational activities (Monica 2010). In this case, park managers provide facilities that enable the visitors to engage in soccer, volleyball, badminton and other games as a family. The Latino women are supportive in the physical activities that individuals participate in as a family. It is therefore important for parks and recreational centers to develop facilities that promote the participation of all family members as this will encourage the women too to play with their children and the rest of family members.
Encouraging walking groups that include children and coming up with a particular day and time within the week when mothers bring their children in strollers while the older ones in scooters and bikes. Dancing is a physical recreational activity that is equally enjoyable and can boost the participation of all family members especially women. The location of a recreational facility is of influence to the demand and use of a particular facility because in all the three environments both men and women of Latino decent walked to the locations thus improving access to parks and the sports complex can improve the level of participation of Latinos in recreational activities (Monica 2010).
Providing information to the visitors on the health, physical, psychological and social benefits of engaging in physical reaction activities is a motivation for families to participate in such physical recreational activities. Such information includes the aspects of longevity and quality of life to children visiting the parks and their parents. Physical activities for example are able to help the participants control their weight in order to avoid cases of obesity, diabetes and other health complications associated with being overweight.
In conclusion, it is important to note that park managers ought to consider cultural issues and importance of family when initiating programs that seek to promote participation of a particular racial or ethnic group. The Latinos have a dedication and commitment to family thus it is important for park manager to establish facilities that promote joint participation of both men and women in the physical activities as a family. The study indicates that men are likely to engage in physically demanding activities than the women who instead prefer to engage in passive recreational activities such as talking, socializing, barbequing and walking.