The National Benefits Hub

Research that Supports Recreation

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Leadership Team

Between mid 2008 and mid 2009 the Benefits DataBank Leadership Team researched journals, articles and books around the world to locate quality ‘evidence’ citing the benefits or outcomes of recreation, fitness, sport, arts, culture, parks and open spaces. The resulting access to this valuable research - both academic and grey literature - was ultimately made possible as the result of a number of individuals and organizations.

This update of the Benefits Catalogue was part of the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association's (APRA) ACE Communities initiative ( led by Rick Curtis, Brenda Herchmer, Carol Petersen, and Dianne Clark. Funding and in-kind support was provided by the Rural Alberta Development Fund (RADF), Encana, Cenovus Energy, and Canwest Media.

We are indebted as well to the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) and the Provincial and Territorial Partners across the country for their willingness to collaborate and build upon previous versions of the Benefits Catalogue (1992,1997).

Brenda Clarke of RETHINK (West) Inc., primary author of the 1997 Benefits Catalogue feels privileged to have facilitated and authored this 2009 online version of the Benefits Databank and to have worked with ARPA/ACE Communities team to manage the overall project.

The front line RESEARCH and SUPPORT TEAM that worked with Brenda Clarke from across Canada and who scoured the world for evidence consisted of:

  • Ken Balmer of RETHINK (west) Inc. who provided strategic thinking and overall support to the executive of the team
  • Dianne Clark of Trendspire Canada Inc. who led the way envisioning/operationalizing the information technology used and in determining how best to organize and integrate the data for the end user;
  • Lea Alcantara of Lealea Design, a passionate webmaster who applied new branding, used creative multi-media approaches, and crunched code to achieve record breaking speeds.
  • Kenneth Renton of Trendspire was invaluable with editing and performing FileMaker database technology and sourcing assistant duties
  • Elizabeth Keurvorst and Kelsey Johnson of the Creative City Network of Canada researched academic and grey literature in the area of arts, culture and heritage
  • Agnes Croxford of the Lifestyle Information Network (LIN) who was supported by Clem Pelot and helped with researching the foundations and other related bibliographies such as the Canadian Index for Well Being, and assisted with the final editing of the DataBank
  • Rosanne Prinsen and Judith Down of the Alberta Centre for Active Living provided expertise primarily in the area of physical activity searching the ACAL library as well as University of Alberta research reports
  • Tourism, Parks and Recreation research was provided by Janet Fletcher with the Alberta Government's Sport and Recreation Division in the area of sport benefits research. She also did a review of the 2008 World Leisure Congress proceedings which covered several other international areas of related research
  • The University of Waterloo and Bryan Smale provided ongoing support in many ways; particularly with the initial planning and scope of the DataBank, and in connecting us to the quality sources researched by PhD graduate Agnes Nowaczek in the area of the environment, parks, eco-tourism, planning, management, design and community development. Luke Potworka assisted with the pilot review of the DataBank.


A number of volunteers served as pilots to review and critique the first draft of the 2009 Benefits DataBank. During the month of August 2009 these pilots completed a survey of 15 questions which asked for feedback on the proposed draft version of the Benefits DataBank. Their areas of focus included:

  1. web layout and ability to access the records/catalogue
  2. content /research of each record; quality review of 750 records using different searches
  3. exit questions asking about ways to use the DataBank, potential users, providing advice on copyright, and suggestions for training and accessibility

The following 14 PILOTS came from across Canada and provided the "First Cut Feedback" on the 2009 Benefits DataBank; they are listed in alphabetical order below:

  • Doug Brimacombe
  • Tim Burton
  • Agnes Croxford
  • Janet Fletcher
  • Judi Frank
  • Sue Garland
  • Kelsey Hicks
  • Brenda Herchmer
  • Punch Jackson
  • Lara Lauzon
  • Anita MacLeod
  • Heather O'Hearn
  • Carol Petersen
  • Luke Potworka

Many thanks to all the experts noted above for their valuable research, review, critical eyes and feedback. 

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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