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The Leisure Link and Alison Link have worked with a broad range of individuals and organizations on widely varying initiatives, workshops and seminars, and counseling.

Correctional Facilities in New Jersey

Project: Four years work in different capacities, including leisure education director for two correctional facilities, one of which is a half-way house. Though the idea of leisure in prison is counterintuitive, the work included many successful components: creating a leisure education program for residents and training staff on the content and facilitation style for the program, weekly leisure education lectures, facilitating leisure education groups with residents and developing indoor and outdoor recreational activities and schedules with committees of residents and staff.

What the Residents/Inmates Said:

The way I looked at leisure before is that it was just time to watch TV or go to sleep. Now I look at leisure as doing something to motivate myself.”

“I've learned now to relax and escape my environment and get in tune with my inner self and to be able to do positive things when out in the world.”

“We need leisure education more often and it should be a major component in treatment of addicts and other cons because most people don't know what to do with their free time, especially me.”

Guidance Counselors Association

Project: Leadership workshop for executive committee and board, focused on how leisure concepts relate to why people become and stay involved in organizations. Discussed bringing more guidance counselors into the organization and keeping participation fun, interesting and motivating.  The client then asked that I be the keynote speaker at the organization’s regional conference, where I spoke about “Time, Turbulence and Transitions.”

What the Client Said: “…thank you for facilitating our retreat…You certainly got all of us engaged…and your questions generated stimulating discussion among all the participants. The closure activities you utilized were [a] great…springboard for integrating the concept of leisure into our consideration of why and how we stay involved in organizations. Your energy, creativity, sensitivity and dynamic leadership style kept the positive energy flowing all day.”

Ray Martinez, Past President
Western Suffolk Counselors Association

Social Justice Organization

Project: This was a seminar for those participating in a faith-based service corps program. Management asked us to conduct a seminar that would give participants tools to help them prevent burnout. We also sought to encourage communication and spirituality.

What the Client Said: "We invited Alison to kick off an urban retreat for AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. She led a workshop … that touched on the themes of leisure, work -life - community balance and Shabbat, the Jewish leisure concept. She was a fantastic addition to our program. Warm, dynamic and very knowledgeable. A real pleasure to work with."

Dasee Berkowitz, former AVODAH Program Director

Camp for Teenagers

Project: Two years (three summers) of camper leisure education and staff development. Taught classes for the teenagers and infused leisure education into the recreational programming to heighten camper awareness of how they spend their free time and to help them feel a sense of choice.  In the staff development program, counselors choose topics for their own professional development, as well as choosing leisure activities for their own free time. Emphasis was placed on valuing their own time and knowing that they needed to give to themselves if they were to give to the campers. These skills helped the college-aged staff not only in the summers but also in college life. A few of the staff went on to study recreation in college.

What the Client Said: “When Alison introduced me to the concept of leisure education, I realized we had discovered a natural addition and enhancement to the camp program. Introducing these concepts had a real impact on our entire community - campers, counselors and staff. Everyone felt empowered and more able to contribute. Leisure education provides lifelong skills that every camp should be including in their programming.”

Rabbi Glynis Conyer, Past Director, URJ Kutz Camp, Teen Leadership Academy Chief Operating Officer, Core Consulting Solutions

Youth Empowerment and Neighborhood Services Program Aimed at Eliminating Teenage Idleness

Project: Infusing leisure education into the client’s youth training curriculum. Helping to revise the pre- vs. post-employment evaluation based on the goals and outcomes they want to achieve. Created an assessment tool which was immediately put into use. TLL continues to consult with the organization on a larger project which includes: mission statement, staff training, revamping curriculum, creating a resources center, strategic planning

Therapeutic Recreation Staff at Veteran’s Hospital

Project: A staff development day to improve staff motivation and creativity for therapeutic recreation staff at this hospital. The day started by helping staff think about their own leisure lives in new ways, and then moved to how they could implement some of their new learnings in working with their client population. We discussed identifying and addressing obstacles to leisure, and strategies for making changes. Evaluations were very positive, and the staff developed many new ideas to use in their program.

What the Staff Said: “It was truly an inspiring class and we all raved about it afterwards. Now I am in need of your expertise and sense of creativity [again]…I liked your teaching method and …want to learn more from you."

Jinny Mullen, Recreational Therapist Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Northport, LI, NY

Woman Working in Social Justice

Counseling: Alana had always felt the need to be doing something at all times, but had reached a point where she needed to replenish herself, as well. Soon after our work together, she chose to go on a week long meditation retreat. She found she could walk away from her cell phone at times, as well. We found ways for her to feel more free and put less pressure on herself.

What the Client Said: You are just amazing—on another plane!”

Alana Alpert, community organizer

Artist with “Creative Block”

Counseling: This artist was stuck on a project and couldn’t figure out why she wasn't working on it. We discussed the concept of obligated vs. unobligated time, and reviewed some techniques to help her find a flow state. We looked at factors to increase her motivation, including increasing her skill, or thinking about the process of finding a specific challenge for her within the piece. In addition, we looked at practical factors that were affecting her, such as end-of-day fatigue and a preference for working by day light.  As a result of this work, she was able to get back into the art, with a high level of satisfaction. Her mood changed through her activities and engagement, which lead her to be more pro-active in how she was choosing to spend her time.

Couple with Young Children

Counseling: This couple wanted to spend their limited time away from their kids in different ways. Their motivations differed in part because one spouse had a salaried job and the other spent days with the children. We discussed the reasons why people use recreation, and helped them become more aware of each other’s motivations. They came up with a balanced compromise and set goals, recognizing their needs for individual leisure as well as leisure as a couple.

New Man in Town

Counseling: This man had just moved to town and did not yet have a job. Discussions included the relationship of lifestyle to jobs, given that in some firms one is “always on”--the possibility of something coming up makes it a challenge to make plans.  We discussed effort in the job search and making sure he was still doing things he enjoyed. He gained perspective on the process and transition that he was in. He is now exploring what he would like to do, what the work atmosphere is like and what the demands are. He is coming up with a way that his leisure can be better and his life will work better for him.

What the Client Said:

"I took a lot of what you said and I've been mulling it around …inside my head… What kind of environments make me feel in the "zone" (you used a different word)? And without even intending to, I also took some very good ideas and concepts to help me and my parents think more strategically about their own decisions now that they are in "retirement.” I'll certainly keep you in mind in this regard too!"

“I’ve realized. . .that leisure time should be structured. . .so it doesn't flitter away or dissipate into thin air…It's not enough to just relax but rather to explore new languages and skills, develop old ones (and friends) and to filter out the extra things that I really don't want to be doing…”

Eric, job seeker