Many higher education institutions incorporate service-learning programs because of the positive outcomes they produce for students. However, limited research has assessed the outcomes of service-learning for students working with older adults in a sport setting. Using a discourse analysis approach, this study examined the outcomes of volunteering with the Greenville-Pitt County Senior Games for 55 students enrolled in a physical activity and aging course. The results revealed that students’ perceptions about older adults’ Physical Abilities and Competitiveness and their view of Sport as a Social Event changed as a result of the service-learning experience. Students also cited Humanizing the Older Adult Experience and Learning by Doing as positive outcomes of the experience. The research findings suggest that service-learning with older adults in a sport setting can help better prepare students to serve the aging population. The implications and opportunities for Sport Management instructors are highlighted.
Tiesha Martin is with the Center for Sport Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. Stacy Warner and Bhibha Das are with the Department of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.