Kyle Chin, a senior sports and recreation manager, sits outside the JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS School of Sports, Tourism, and Hotel Management on April 25
Kyle Chin grew up on sports teams and heard people repeat racial stereotypes at competitions, which made him feel isolated.
But the athletics helped Chin, who is Jamaican and Chinese people gain trust and passion to help others overcome adversity in order to participate in them.
Chin’s experiences as a child are a key reason why he wants to promote diversity in sports and leisure. Chin is an intern on the Inclusion Committee of the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, a parks and recreational resources association that works with young blacks who have difficulty accessing sports and recreational resources. Once started, Chin hopes to further improve access to sports and recreation for marginalized communities.
Chin explores the history and racial inequalities of the United States’ national park system and is creating resources for senior management staff in recreational centers to improve accessibility, he said.
Since starting in January, Chin has written a report on barriers preventing people of color from participating in public parks and recreational activities, which will be published in the Society’s magazine in June. Chin also created a toolkit for recreation center executives to increase inclusivity and a listening tour for recreation centers in Pennsylvania to talk to young people about their programming experiences.
“I’ve read a lot and I’ve only found evidence that minorities don’t really feel welcome in public parks,” said Chin. “There is a feeling or an idea that public parks and state parks are a kind of white space.”
Nearly 70 percent of visitors to U.S. forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and parks are white, according to a July 2020 report by the National Health Foundation. People of color often face greater economic barriers and fewer days of vacation or unpaid leave, which can prevent participation in outdoor recreation.
Kathleen Muller, the Inclusion Committee’s volunteer coordinator, said Chin’s commitment to the community during the listening tour helps validate his research and make it authentic.
“[Chin] is at the beginning of something very exciting and there is no limit to where he can go on the field, ”said Müller. “I’m curious where [Chin] ends up as a professional. “
In the summer of 2020, Chin and other members of the Society of Minorities in Sport hosted a webinar at Temple University in which sports writer Anthony Gilbert, NBA agent Jerome Allen, and Temple men’s basketball head coach Aaron McKie shared their experiences black men in sports.
The event inspired Chin to pursue diversity work as a possible career, he said.
“That was kind of when I knew,” said Chin. “It’s like something I could really do in the future.”
Debra Blair, a professor of sports and recreation management, told Chin about the Inclusion Committee internship because of his experience and knowledge of diversity work, she said.
Chin’s passion for inclusivity in sports made him an “outstanding student,” said Blair, in his sophomore year in her Leisure and Tourism for a Diverse Society class.
“There’s a level of advocacy in him that he’s tapped and probably more that he doesn’t even know what we’re seeing is gushing,” Blair said. “I just knew the dots would connect and that he would be an ideal student for the opportunity.”
After finishing his internship in May, Chin hopes to continue working on diversity, equity and inclusion in sports, he said.
“I’m just very passionate about justice and making sure everyone feels included,” said Chin. “I feel like I’m making a difference, it gives me a sense of purpose.”