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Teenagers have a lot of leisure time, and not much framework for handling it.

Most teenagers reach adolescence without having had the opportunity to think about leisure and their preferences - what is satisfying to them, what is available, what skills they need, and how their leisure choices affect others. Into this vacuum of thought and knowledge, they pour a risky combination of adolescent energy, impulse and idle time.

Leisure education responds to the varied needs of youth. Some youth are over-programmed, stressed and eager to improve their resumes for college. They need to learn life skills of healthy balance. Youth with fewer resources and less motivation, may need a comprehensive program. Still others can benefit from guidance in handling their free time within the leisure barriers in their environment. In either case it requires a light touch; teens don't like to be "taught."

The Leisure Link's work with youth and with those who work with youth, benefits both the teens and their community, by:


  • Giving teens tools and their own process for assessing personal time-use. This is a first step towards making positive contributions to society throughout their lives.
  • Familiarizing youth with socially acceptable leisure pursuits that satisfy their needs and help clarify their values and interests. Giving them as much exposure as possible to new activities and places, while also nurturing their creativity.
  • Reducing stress and increasing well-being.
  • Developing specific skills that many teens lack, such as cooperation and teamwork, self-control in competitive situations, and a sense of fair play
  • Providing a framework for thinking about choice and control in leisure. This helps teens increase their sense of autonomy and of responsibility for their actions
  • Helping those who are already using drugs and alcohol to make deliberate, conscious decisions about how they are using their time, and how to use it in a positive and pro-social way. Guiding them in reconsidering their negative attitudes towards 'uncool', substance-free, or non-risky activities.
Properly tailored programs may include group coaching, hands-on activities, and "leisure buddy" programs. In addition, TLL creates leisure activity programs that build in leisure education in a fun and interesting way for teens (ex. Beatboxing mouth percussion workshop with leisure education goals infused)-tailored to the organizations needs

Agency programs for youth may be strengthened by training staff members to be leisure educators. Programs will often benefit from guidance on the design and layout of recreational space and resource centers.

Learn how services from The Leisure Link can Reduce Recidivism

See relevant TLL case studies

See references on leisure education and recidivism

See references on leisure education and substance abuse