The presence of others helps to create arousal and drive to perform tasks (Gill & Williams, 2008). There seems to be a strong correlation with task achievement when people are surrounded by others. In order to increase physical participation and performance, one must incorporate activities that will help develop interest and sustainability of the program. In designing a program to increase family membership to a local park and recreation department, it will be important to identify activities that will not only enhance physical fitness, but will increase a participant’s self-perception, self-confidence and self-efficacy. Theories of social influence should be investigated to determine proper methodology of implementing an effective program to enhance participation.
Exercise and activity programs through park and recreation departments are often geared toward family participation and cooperation. There are three main types of social influence that have influences on performance. Social facilitation deals with the influence of others on performance, social reinforcement occurs via evaluative comments and modeling is how we learn through observation (Gill & Williams, 2008). It seems social influence plays a large part in the behaviors or activities we engage in during our daily lives. The more participants present in exercise settings greatly influenced the percent of completion (Giles-Corti & Donovan, 2002). Increasing the number of participants will show an increase in overall success of the program. Those cities that have state of the art recreation services are those who don’t push for performance, instead, they strive for increasing positive attitudes and self-perception. Social support plays a significant role in activity adherence and compliance (Carron, Hausenblaus, & Mack, 1996). While there may be an increased cost of participation for family memberships, the overall positive effect it will have on family cohesiveness, physical fitness and positive attitudes should be deemed cost worthy.
Increasing the number of family memberships to a park and recreation department will beneficial for performance and positive attitude. Using Bandura’s social learning model, social behavior is learned by direct reinforcement and observational learning (Gill & Williams, 2008). The Families Together and Active program will be centered on increasing both inter and intra-family cohesiveness. Many activities will be incorporated into the program to effectively increase athletic and cognitive ability and performance. By pairing families together with other families, the process of modeling is used. Modeling affects performance by four measures: attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation. The first two processes deal with acquisition of desired skills and the latter two with performance. (Gill & Williams, 2008). Parents have often taken part in many different activities in their lifetime, and being able to compete, instruct and reinforce their child directly will help increase the retention and ability of skill development.
Activities in the program will include skill and cognitive development, competition, and cohesiveness. “Family Feud” style question and answer games, followed with physical challenges will increase both cognitive and exercise ability. Family style sporting events such as football, baseball, softball, basketball and swimming relay races will be available. Fun game activities such as big tennis, monkey ball, walley ball, punt-pass-kick contests will also be used to keep children from becoming bored, but allow for skills to be acquired outside of normal bread and butter activities. Retention of skill will occur as parents show their children how to accomplish a task, and the children then practice and self-correct to the image of successful completion (Gill & Williams, 2008). Carron, Hausenblaus and Mack (1996) agree, but state that influence and modeling may occur more from non-family group. It should be stressed that families interact with other families on a regular basis. In order to keep membership up and families interested in participating in the program, there will be a group of prizes for different achievements. Two children that make the most progress in the program in each month will receive gift cards to different businesses or events such as sporting events. A prize for the most improved family will include prizes to local restaurants or sporting events. One grand prize drawing will occur at the end of the “program year” and will be a 3-day to be determined resort vacation package as a prize. This competition will be a stimulus but also an interactive process of cooperative behavior. (Gill & Williams, 2008). This stresses the importance of family participation with other families and groups, and a desire to improve.
The proposed fitness achievement program will help to increase family adhesion and also promote healthy living. Actively participating in this program will help adults and children stay active as well as help children increase their exercise ability and positive attitude. This improvement will occur using different theories of social influence. Modeling, reinforcement, self-observation are important factors in how a child learns how to properly complete activities. Social involvement of parents, peers, instructors makes a large contribution to program adherence and learning (Carron, Hausenblaus & Mack, 1996). The activities involved will push both parents and children to improve physical and cognitive ability. Rewards associated with the program can be used as positive reinforcement for participating and achieving goals. Reinforcement and rewards can help to increase intrinsic motivation to complete activities (White, Mailey & McAuley, 2010). This reinforcement will hopefully aid in the success of the program. Creating a situation where families can become closer with each other and with other families while increasing physical fitness, knocking out two birds with one stone.. This program will help increase membership and adherence to exercise.
Carron, A. V., Hausenblaus, H. A., & Mack, D. (1996). Social influence and exercise: A meta-analysis. In D. Smith & M. Bar-Eli (Eds.), Essential Readings in Sport and Exercise Psychology (pp. 372-377). Location: Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Giles-Corti, B., & Donovan, R. J. (2002). The relative influence of individual, social, and physical environment determinants of physical activity. Social Science and Medicine, 54, 1793-1812.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
White, S. L., Mailey, E. L., & McAuley, E. (2010). Leading a physically active lifestyle: Effective individual behavior change strategies. Health and Fitness Journal, 14(1), 8-15.