Video Clips to Promote the Experience

Farm Pond Bass Flats in Spring from Kevin Root on Vimeo.

Multi-media has no doubt grown in amazing ways. Embracing the opportunity to create small clips of your experiences, is one sure way to entice the public to take part in your services.

Creating and editing clips is now easier than ever. Give it a try and see the immediate emotional impact these media experiences bring to your potential customers.
Cheers, Ken

The First Annual Ken & Chris Terra Otium Car Rally!

Saturday, October 23

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

CSU East Bay Parking Lot H
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA

In cooperation with the CSUEB Department of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism and CPRS District 3

Calling all recreation/leisure students, professionals and enthusiasts– Grab your friends and come on out for the first ever Terra Otium (Latin for Earth Leisure) Car Rally. This rally is a hunt to find various park & recreation attractions and locations around the CSUEB Hayward Hills campus. Teams of up to three people must use clues to find the checkpoints within a specified time limit. Each team must have a digital camera or camera phone and vehicle to make their way around the Hayward area and document each checkpoint in the rally.

At the end of the rally, we’ll meet at Bronco Billy’s Pizza above campus to check team results and celebrate with prizes and pizza. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow students as well as network with outstanding recreation professionals.

Cost: $5 entry fee person for prizes and food.

Questions: call Dr. Chris Chamberlain at (510) 885-2101 or email at
The Planet is our Playground!

Built Environment with New Eyes

It doesn’t take a journey around the world to open your eyes. It does however take a willingness to want to see the world through “different eyes.” Take a stroll outside and look at the neighborhood with a fresh intent; that intent being one of inquisitiveness. Look at the ordinary. Find the extraordinary. A simple discovery can stem from fences and their use of “line design.” Your neighborhood is a canvas and the artist’s tools of pattern, shape, size, texture, and color all play upon the senses. Here are a few illustrations from a recent walk…………

It's recreation. It's "re-creation." It's a walk with open eyes, different eyes.

Enjoy your neighborhood and see what you've been missing.

Communication Packages

Are you looking for an exercise to help your staff become better communicators? We have a fun, creative, and introspective exercise that prompts participants to embrace communication. The experience builds upon written and verbal skills.

The Task: Sell yourself as a toy or a game

The Package: Create the word imagery that best describes your recreation & leisure lifestyle

Meet the Team: Collect all the descriptions. Redistribute them so everyone has someone else’s package. Have each team member share the package description with the group. Have the group try to identify the original author.

The exercise encourages each participant to recognize the following:

1. the power of “wordscapes”

2. a greater appreciation of projecting oneself

3. an understanding that communication often builds upon word imagery

4. the simple fact that “words count”

It also promotes the group to communicate as a team to analyze prospective choices.

Use this experience as a springboard. Create your own variations on the theme. It’s been a positive tool for us and hopefully you’ll find it to be the same.
My take on Jake (and Rocket)- Entry #2

A popular line of clothing has the slogan, “Life is good”. I have several of their hats and shirts and recently picked up their book, “Life is good: Simple words from Jake and Rocket”. Being a Jake and Rocket fan, I thought I’d share my thoughts on their simple words from time to time in an effort to further the quality use of our leisure time. So here is another…

Whatever you are, be a good one.

I once attended a private holiday party at the Blackhawk Auto Museum hosted by a house developer that my wife’s office worked with. It was a glitzy affair- lot’s of big wigs, attorney’s and their spouses. As a recreation guy, I clearly did not fit in. As my wife was swept away in some high end cocktail deal making meeting, I wandered the museum entertaining myself. Every so often, I’d be staring at a fancy car and a couple would ask who I worked for or what I did. My answer was always the same- “I work for the recreation department” and their response was always the same too, “Oh”, and they’d walk away. At first I was offended by their comments and thought that maybe I shouldn’t have come to the party in the first place. But after a few times, I learned to be okay with it as I knew I was being authentic and proud in who I was- the hell with them, I thought. But, later on I still thought twice about applying for law school so maybe I could drive that expensive car, wear the expensive clothes, or live in that mansion like many others attending the party. I even went so far as to take the law school entry exam but then thought about who I really was and what I really enjoy doing. What was I thinking? Thankfully I came back to my real self.

We all have big dreams when we are young- to become an astronaut, own a company, make a million dollars, or even be the President. For some perhaps those dreams can come true. For others, reality is different and we end up doing something else- hopefully something you’d really enjoy, but whatever it is, Jake and Rocket have it right- be a good one. Excel in your chosen profession or job, regardless of what it is. Excel in your personal life and live with no regrets- be the best friend, spouse, parent and human being you can be.

I keep a book of notes and quotes I come across in my travels and found this one which seems appropriate for this discussion: Don’t worry about making a difference, just take responsibility for making a contribution. But I’d add, whatever it is, make it a good one!

Live Well- Chris

My take on Jake (and Rocket)- January 17, 2010

A popular line of clothing has the slogan, “Life is good”. I have several of their hats and shirts and recently picked up their book, “Life is good: Simple words from Jake and Rocket”. The artwork that adorns the clothing typically includes a stick figure guy, named Jake, and his faithful companion- a yellow labrador named Rocket, involved in a variety of activities that embody the “life is good” slogan. Being a Jake and Rocket fan, I thought I’d share my thoughts on their simple words from time to time in an effort to further the quality use of our leisure time. So here it goes…

Not all who wander are lost

Are you a wanderer? I am. There is nothing better than to grab my camera and maybe my dogs Duke and Ranger and head off on a hike. I usually know where I’m going but will sometimes let the dogs guide me on the adventure of the day. Probably one of my favorite activities is to find a rock, or a quiet meadow, pull up a stump to sit on and just be. I think we spend so much of our daily existence in the act of human doing that we forget to just sit and practice human being.

I have a colleague that I went through the doctoral program with-Vincent- he was a wanderer. He’d walk in circles during some of our work/study sessions, chewing on problems we were working on in his head. We learned to let Vincent go wander around for a while, knowing he’d come back when he’d figured out a solution to offer to the group. Vincent would also chew on his words when presenting his ideas, as if he mouth was out of sync with his brain that seemed to be working at light speed. We’d joke that Vincent was a professional wanderer but he was never lost. He wandered with a purpose and I think there’s something instructive about that.

We've all known or seen people that just seem to wander aimlessly, with no clear sense of direction about where they are going or what they're experiencing- they appear lost. That said, I think that’s the point- to be fully engaged in the activity, whatever it is, and let it take you for a ride wherever it goes. You’re not lost, you’re just present. Try it and let yourself go... wander on…

Live Well,


The Holidays: Celebration or perhaps Confrontation

We've entered The Season. You know -- big holidays, big fun, and big stress. Stress is the Grinch and your staff is vulnerable. Your guests and clients are vulnerable as well. It's not about competition. It's not about profits. It's about celebrating experiences and relationships. Every day offers a chance to make someone feel better about being with your organization. How about trying to create a "Holiday Stress-Free Zone."

No crushing lines. No 70% off at midnight. Become the alternative to seasonal mania. What's the alternative? It's another opportunity to celebrate life and our communities (rather than make a mockery of The Season).

Great smells. Great tastes. Great sounds. Great imagery. Great camraderie. Great experiences. Holidays have all the potential. Your organization has all the potential. Be the alternative. Everyone you touch will appreciate the effort made.

The Jar of Life

I was asked the other day to explain what "recreation" and "leisure" is and this is what I came up with...

Think of life as a glass jar and in that jar you fill it with rocks. Each rock represents a aspect of your life- a "have to" thing such as a job or family, school or whatever. In no time at all you'd fill up your jar with rocks- geez- in some cases you'd over fill your jar. As you look at the rocks in your jar of life you'll see there are many nooks and crannies- spaces around the rocks in the jar. If you pour sand into the jar you'll see that those empty spaces, no matter how tiny, fill up to make the jar complete and full. Think of the sand as your recreational and leisure opportunities in life- those things that you don't have to do but help full up your jar of life and make you a more complete individual.

Got sand?

Sometimes You Need to Step Back

I’ve just returned from conducting my annual clinics in Southeast Alaska. It’s a special place to be sure. The wildlife is nothing short of breathtaking. Close encounters are both heart-thumping and mind-numbing all at once. I – love – this – place!

The biggest challenge for me was handling a few guests who seemingly didn’t value the uniqueness of wildlife viewing in this ancient arena. How is it that I can have the back of my neck tingling just from the prospect of another whale encounter, while these very same guests “couldn’t care less if we ever saw another whale.” I mean, can you fathom what I’m saying here? They couldn’t care less!

I had to step back. I had to take a long deep breath and basically meditate for the moment. As a recreation leader, a guide, a mentor, all I can do is try to facilitate opportunities and run a safe program. So with that in mind, I had to adjust my approach to provide what these guests wanted and not fixate on what they were missing. It was a challenge. I was again reminded that being a professional in this field often requires that “ego be set aside.”

Each guest got what they wanted. They were all smiles and compliments. They couldn’t wait to put down a deposit for next year. In fact they did just that.

I have mixed emotions about the outcome. I need to take “another step back” and accept that the choices my guests made were the choices they valued.
Cheers, Ken

Dog Loyal or Cat Loyal?

An instructor once asked the following question to his students: In your job, are you dog loyal or cat loyal? The students looked puzzled.

"Think about it," the instructor said. "Are you loyal to the boss (dog loyal) or are you loyal to the company (cat loyal)?"

Often times as we journey through jobs and careers, the answer to that question varies but remains very telling. Dog loyal employees will follow the boss- to them what the boss says is golden, much like man's best friend. These bosses are often the leaders in an organization- those transformational people who gain more by giving others the training, ability and know-how to be leaders in their own right. Such folks know how to get the best out of others and value teamwork. In general, employees like going to work because they feel they are contributing to something greater than themselves.

Cat loyal people are loyal to the organization and its ideals. Much like a cat, they'll always come back to the house for a meal, but don't necessarily care much for the boss. Such people are typically not as emotionally invested in the journey that dog loyal people are. For them, the meal is the paycheck.

So ask yourself this: Are you Dog Loyal or Cat Loyal? Which do you feel fills up your cup the most, and if you're not where you'd like to be, endeavor to be the master of your own destiny and set goals toward achieving that perfect place- where work doesn't feel like work.

Carpe Diem- Sieze the day!