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Bachelor of Arts Degree

Leisure, Youth and Human Service courses at the University of Northern Iowa are designed to encourage students to learn and participate in hands-on activities about youth and human development, leisure and youth programming, and help all people live healthy, enjoyable, active and meaningful lifestyles.  If you are passionate about improving lives and communities, we will help you gain the knowledge and resources you need.  As a Leisure, Youth, Human Services major you will be active in the classroom and in the community.

Leisure as a profession focuses on the principles underlying recreational and leisure activities, and the practices involved in providing indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and services for the general public.  These leisure services take place in outdoor recreation, parks and recreation, therapeutic recreation programs for people with disabilities, campus recreation, commercial recreation, travel and tourism, and youth serving organizations.

Leisure Service professionals lead, supervise, and manage recreation facilities and promote leisure education for individuals and groups in public, private and non-profit agencies.  Employment settings include municipal parks and recreation departments, private resorts, county, state and federal agencies; non-profit organizations; hospitals; military installations; colleges and universities, and travel and tour companies.

Youth Services as a profession focuses on engagement of children and youth in structured and unstructured activities that contributes to individual development and community enhancement at the local, national and international levels.  Youth services provide quality opportunities for children and youth in peer mentoring, academic enrichment, leadership development, health promotion, clubs and interest groups, service learning, vocations and career development, life skill enhancement, character education, arts and literary activities, adventure education, outdoor pursuits, and discovery, geography and science.

Human services as a profession focuses on addressing individual and community needs by providing services centering on prevention as well as remediation of human and community problems, as well as improving overall quality of life.  Human service professionals work in all sectors of society, however the Division of Leisure, Youth and Human Services focuses on working with populations in the nonprofit and public sectors.


Program Highlights


  • Internships, service learning, and visits to local programs

  • Learning broad opportunities that relate to youth services, such as Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services, Just for Kicks, Special Olympics, Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, Dance Marathon

  • Opportunities to volunteer and work with local youth programs


Potential employers include


  • American Red Cross

  • Before and After School Programs

  • Big Brother/Big Sisters

  • Boys and Girls Club

  • Boy Scouts of America

  • Camps

  • Church and Religious Organizations

  • Community/City Parks and Recreation Departments

  • County Conservation Organizations

  • Department of Natural Resources (State Parks)

  • 4-H/Extension Programs

  • Girl Scouts of the USA

  • Group Homes

  • Habitat for Humanity

  • Hospital recreation (therapeutic recreation)

  • Humane society

  • Junior Achievement

  • Military Child and Youth Services Programs

  • Salvation Army

  • Shelters

  • Social Service Organizations

  • Special Olympics

  • Tourism and Convention Bureaus

  • United Way

  • US Department of Defense/Morale, Welfare and Recreation

  • US Forest Service

  • US National Park Service

  • United Service Organizations

  • YMCAs and YWCAs

  • Youth, Teen, and Family Camp Programs