What is a Recreo?
Young or old, people like to travel. While the individual interests may vary, the desire to travel and socialize with one’s peers is strong within most of us. It is well known within the travel industry that retirees like to travel; with that in mind, PASR conducted focus groups of individuals still working in the school system who were nearing retirement and heard the recurring statement, “I’m looking forward to traveling in retirement.”
Realizing the importance and benefit of helping to fill this desire, PASR created the Recreo program in 1964. The word “recreo” means recess in Spanish. Started as a statewide travel program that focused on educational experiences, the Recreo program has now grown to have a local presence in nearly every chapter of the Association.
An emphasis of the organization is to grow and strengthen Recreo programs at the chapter level. Having a local Recreo program has many great benefits to the persons involved and the local PASR chapter.
Some of the primary benefits for a chapter to have and conduct a local Recreo program include:
- Social opportunities for members
- Increased involvement and activity in the chapter
- Generates revenue for the chapter
Events organized by local PASR chapters across the state add a significant social element to the travel adventure that is tough to describe and impossible to quantify. Typically, when you ask people who have taken a trip somewhere to tell you about their experience, they will tell you about the sights they saw, the activities they did, the weather conditions, etc.
Ask individuals who have taken a Recreo trip to describe their experience, and they will undoubtedly also talk about the people with whom they traveled. “We met a great couple from the Centennial School District.” “I had fun swapping classroom stories with this retired kindergarten teacher from Pittsburgh.” These are the kinds of comments you hear from members who have taken a Recreo adventure. The camaraderie that is developed and exists on PASR state trips is like no other experience and cannot be found anywhere else!
Increased Involvement and Activity
Time and again, studies have shown and PASR’s experience has proved that the more activities a chapter has to offer, the more involved and connected to the chapter local school retirees become. The most successful chapters within this organization regularly offer many opportunities for members to become involved, whether it is just time to socialize, be productive in their community, or simply to travel with one another. A Recreo program can be a major factor in helping a chapter be a successful and active organization!
It seems as though everyone is offering some form of group travel opportunity, so while the profit margins may not be large, the majority of these events can be successfully conducted and still net a decent profit for the local chapter. Of course, not all chapters need additional operating revenue; they do not conduct these programs to bring in additional money, but some should be garnered if nothing else to help grow and expand the chapter’s Recreo program. Some chapters are able to add thousands of dollars to their annual budget. Just a few dollars added to the cost for each attendee doesn’t add much individually, but if enough people participate it can be a great boon for a chapter.
As an added benefit, these additional funds can help to create more activities, having a domino effect and thereby strengthening the chapter. These funds do not necessarily need to be used for general chapter operation. Instead, some chapters use the money garnered from their recreational events to provide for scholarships, educational support grants, or even additional resources for social service aspects to help retirees in need. This way, not only do members get to have a wonderful travel experience with their friends and colleagues, but they are also contributing to worthwhile causes!