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Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers

Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers

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    The baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—are a generation that consists of nearly 76 million Americans. Beginning in 2011, this large and influential population will begin their transition out of the workforce. As baby boomers enter retirement, they will be looking for opportunities in fitness, sports, outdoors, arts and cultural events, and other activities that suit their vibrant lifestyles. With their varied life experiences, values, and expectations, baby boomers are predicted to redefine the meaning of recreation and leisure programming for mature adults.

    Though many researchers have forecast the boomers' impact on the future, only Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers addresses key information that recreation and leisure professionals need in order to make program decisions with baby boomers in mind. The authors combine their research, programming, and marketing expertise to provide insights into the values and lifestyle choices of boomers and offer programming and marketing strategies to reach this large and influential population.

    Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers will help you move beyond the traditional offerings of bingo, art classes, and social dances to capture the attention and imagination of your baby boomer community. This comprehensive guide offers these features:

    -An in-depth review of current research to help you understand the values, interests, and needs of the boomer generation

    -Guidance in adopting a “boomer lens” so you can more easily recognize the opportunities in working with this group and create and market programs that appeal to the values of this unique generation

    -The Cochran Baby Boomer Quiz, a tool that can be used not only in assessing the programming preferences of the boomers in your community, but also in testing your staff's knowledge of boomers and preparing them to work more effectively with this group

    -Strategies, guidelines, and ready-to-use ideas for boomer-specific programming in arts and culture, outdoor recreation, education, wellness, and tourism

    -Marketing templates and strategies that will attract boomers and keep them coming to your programs

    With Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers, you'll discover what distinguishes the baby boomer generation from previous generations in regard to their demographic makeup, gender differences, cultural influences, brand loyalty, consumer behavior, and spending patterns. Based on current research, Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers explains the boomer generation in terms of five value areas specific to recreation and leisure programming: cultural influences, healthy aging and society, retirement, leisure pursuits, and economic levels. Using this knowledge, you'll learn how to consider these generational values to create effective marketing messages and plan appropriate programming.

    Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers presents a range of detailed program ideas and formats that fulfill the interests of this new clientele so you can start offering new programs right away. It also offers guidelines and examples that will help you plan your own programs to meet the needs of your community. You'll find all the tools you need to market your new programs, including techniques for attracting boomers to your programs and marketing templates that make implementing your marketing strategies simpler. Information on key topics such as marketing psychology; advertising beyond the brochure; motivating, recruiting, and communicating at the front lines; and creating and maintaining a focused image will help you better understand how to market programs.

    In this demand-driven occupation, recreation professionals must be prepared to market and deliver a wide range of leisure opportunities to serve the boomer generation. Is your recreation or leisure program ready for the baby boomers? Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers will help you understand the unique profile of the boomer generation and respond with creative programs that will add value and quality to the leisure lives of this new generation of mature adults.


    Reference for recreation and leisure professionals, fitness and active aging communities, and specialists working with outdoor, sports, arts and culture, and fitness and aging organizations to design program offerings targeted to the baby boomer population; supplemental text for recreation and leisure programming courses.

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Are You Ready for the Boomers?
    Chapter 2: What Drives Boomers?
    Chapter 3: Marketing to Baby Boomers
    Chapter 4: Adopting a Boomer Lens
    Chapter 5: Getting Groovy: Arts and Culture Program Ideas
    Chapter 6: Pursuing Pathways: Education Program Ideas
    Chapter 7: Life Is an Adventure: Outdoor Adventure Program Ideas
    Chapter 8: Move to the Beat: Healthy Living Program Ideas
    Chapter 9: Hit the Road: Travel Program Ideas
    Chapter 10: The Boomer Future

    About the Author

    Lynda J. Cochran, PhD, CPRP, is an assistant professor of recreation and leisure studies at the State University of New York, College at Brockport. A certified park and recreation professional, Cochran has over 10 years of practical experience as a recreation programmer and manager in both municipal and military settings.

    As a researcher, Cochran has focused on the study of the leisure values of the baby boomer cohort and applied philosophy in leisure programming methods. She has made several presentations at the local, state, and national levels on programming for baby boomers.

    Cochran is a member of the National Recreation and Park Association; New York State Recreation and Park Association; American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; and the International Council of Active Aging. She is an active Kiwanis member. In 2002, Cochran received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, one of the highest civilian honors awarded by the Department of the United States Navy.

    In her free time, Cochran enjoys traveling and the outdoor pursuits of golf, swimming, biking, hiking, camping, and geocaching. She and her husband, Thomas Sperazza, reside in Buffalo, New York.

    Anne M. Rothschadl, PhD, is an associate professor of sport management and recreation at Springfield College in Springfield, Masssachusetts. Rothschadl has been researching trends and issues of the baby boomer generation for more than 10 years.

    Rothschadl has served on the board of directors of the Leisure and Aging section of the National Recreation and Park Association. She has spoken on trends in leisure programming for baby boomers at state and national conferences, including National Recreation and Park Association, National Council on Aging, American Society on Aging, and Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association. She is also a facilitator of retirement preparation workshops for Myera, a company that provides planning services for those who are approaching retirement or have recently retired.

    In her free time, Rothschadl enjoys traveling, cross country skiing, and Cape Breton-style Scottish fiddling. She resides in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

    Jodi L. Rudick, MAS, is president of ADvisors Marketing Group in Oceanside, California. Rudick is a leading marketing consultant, working with everyone from nonprofit organizations to Fortune 500 companies. She is dedicated to promoting participation, advocacy, and support for park and recreation organizations. In 1995, she created the Parks and Recreation: The Benefits Are Endless campaign for the National Recreation and Park Association.

    Rudick has spoken at more than 250 recreation-related conferences and workshops, including National Recreation and Park Association, and was twice named Speaker of the Year by the Promotional Products Association.

    Rudick served on the Oceanside Park and Recreation Commission for six years and currently serves on the City of Carlsbad's Sister Cities Committee. Rudick has also served on the boards of Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Meeting Planners International.

    In her free time, Rudick likes to watch movies and spend time with her son. She resides in Carlsbad, California.


    “Finally a book that provides comprehensive information with specific, immediately useable program and service ideas for the baby boomer generation.”

    Barry E. Weiss, Parks and Recreation Director, San Carlos, CA