Temple student promotes inclusion in recreation

Kyle Chin is increasing accessibility to recreation programs at his internship.

Kyle Chin, a senior sport and recreation management major, sits outside the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management on April 25. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Growing up playing on sports teams, Kyle Chin heard people repeating racist stereotypes at competitions, which made him feel isolated. 

But athletics helped Chin, who is Jamaican and Chinese, gain confidence and a passion for helping others overcome adversity to participate in them.

Chin’s experiences as a child are a significant reason why he wants to promote diversity in sports and recreation. Chin is interning with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society’s Inclusion Committee, a parks and recreation resource association, engaging with young people of color struggling to access sports and recreation resources. After commencement, Chin hopes to continue increasing access to sports and recreation for marginalized communities.

Chin is researching the history and racial inequalities of the United States’ national parks system and creating resources for leaders at recreation centers to increase accessibility, he said. 

Since he began in January, Chin wrote a report on barriers preventing people of color from participating in public parks and recreation that will be published in the society’s magazine in June. Chin also created a toolkit for leaders at recreation centers to increase inclusivity and a listening tour for Pennsylvania recreation centers to have conversations with young people about their experiences with programming.

“I was reading up on a lot of the stuff and just finding evidence that minorities don’t feel really welcomed in public park spaces,” Chin said. ”There is kind of a feeling or a notion that public parks and the state parks are kind of white spaces.” 

Nearly 70 percent of visitors to U.S. national forests, wildlife refuges and parks are white, according to a July 2020 report by the National Health Foundation. People of color often face more economic barriers and receive fewer vacation days or unpaid leave, which can prevent participation in outdoor recreation.

Kathleen Muller, the volunteer coordinator for the inclusion committee, said Chin’s engagement with the community through the listening tour helps validate his research and makes it authentic.

“[Chin] is at the beginning of something very exciting and it’s limitless where he can go in the field,” Muller said. “I’m excited to see where [Chin] lands as a professional.”

During Summer 2020, Chin and other members of Society of Minorities in Sport at Temple University hosted a webinar where sports writer Anthony Gilbert, NBA agent Jerome Allen and Temple men’s basketball head coach Aaron McKie shared their experiences as Black men in sports.

The event inspired Chin to pursue diversity work as a possible career, he said.

“That’s kind of when I knew,” Chin said. “This is like something I could really do going on in the future.”

Debra Blair, a sports and recreation management professor, told Chin about the Inclusion Committee internship because of his experience and knowledge in diversity work, she said. 

Chin’s passion for inclusivity in sports made him a “standout student” in his sophomore year in her class Leisure and Tourism for a Diverse Society, Blair said.

“There’s a level of advocacy in him that he’s tapped into and probably more that he’s not even aware that’s bubbling up that we see,” Blair said. “I just knew that the dots were connecting and that he would be an ideal student for this opportunity.”

After his internship ends in May, Chin hopes to continue working in diversity, equity and inclusion in sports, he said. 

“I’m just really passionate about equity and making sure that everyone feels included,” Chin said. “I feel like I’m making a difference, it kind of gives me a sense of purpose.”

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