Student profile: Manager of recreation services, Joe Dixon

KSR graduate certificates helped Dixon begin a new career path in sport and recreation.

Tarwinder Rai - 08 July 2022

Joe Dixon had been working in event production for the last 20 years. Looking for a career change that allowed him to continue in sport, a Google search led him to the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation’s graduate certificates.

He connected with Jill Cameron, manager of international and community education at the faculty and by the end of that conversation, Dixon knew exactly where he was headed.

“After that initial call with Jill, I knew that the program would be a fit for my career goal,” says Dixon, who applied to the program days later.

Dixon completed both the Indigenous Sport and Recreation Graduate Certificate and the Sport and Management Recreation Graduate Certificate over the last two years. 

Today, thanks to the scope of these certificates, he has been able to seamlessly marry his experience in event management, leadership and supervision with his love for sports, and land the job he had been hoping for.

He is now working as the manager of recreation services for the Fraser Valley Regional District at the Hope Recreation Centre in British Columbia.

“This was the exact role I was seeking to obtain when I started the program in 2020, my dream job,” says Dixon, who will be applying for the master’s in sport and recreation stream this fall. “I did a lot of research and compared the programs available across Canada, and you get incredible value with these certificates. It’s geared for success.”

Dixon grew up in New Westminster, B.C. Having been heavily involved in sports in high school and then as a triathlete and runner as an adult, Dixon saw the certificate program as an opportunity to both broaden his knowledge and build on his existing expertise. 

“In a 24-month period, I went from someone starting my program to landing a role in recreation management,” he says. “The programs were entirely new to me and they allowed me to gain a completely different perspective on programming, building Indigenous relationships within the community and being a manager within a recreation setting.”

Dixon says the Indigenous sport and recreation graduate certificate was the most impactful and offered diverse in-depth knowledge for him personally. 

“I grew an appreciation for enhancing and building community programming that is heavily based on consultation with the Indigenous community, rather than basing it on what I feel they need,” he says. “If you are in the field of sports and recreation or even to be an effective leader in recreation, this certificate is crucial to developing and having the lens to be working in the field today.” 

Dixon credits his success in the program to the diversity of his cohort and the instructors, and the flexibility the program offers. Most of all, he is thankful for the network of recreational experts he was able to build connections with during his time in the program. 

“The ability to talk about real-time issues with current recreational professionals and world-class instructors is priceless,” he says.