Exploring the Properties of Community among Charity Sport Event Participants
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The purpose of this research is to analyze the sense of community derived among charity sport event participants by exploring and applying the six structural and cultural properties of Gemeinschaft among participants: dense and demanding social ties; social attachments to and involvement in insti- tutions; ritual occasions; small group size; perceptions of similarity with others; and common beliefs in an idea system, moral order, institution, or group. Specifically, an assessment of the structural and cultural properties of community was made allowing for an initial exploration of the extent to which this community can achieve desired social outcomes on behalf of a charitable organization. Semi- structured interviews ( n 5 46) were conducted with 2009 Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVE- STRONG Challenge participants. Results reveal that five of the six properties of community were present among participants. While a sense of community was found to be present, challenges within this community are identified that may constrain the charity from achieving the desired social change. These concern consistency in participant involvement with the charity as well as simi- larities and common beliefs creating too much sameness within the community. Suggestions are made for charitable organizations to provide training and mentoring to event participants to facili- tate consistent and effective advancement of the charity's mission. Specific actions are outlined to confront these challenges and assist the organization in advancing social change.
© 2013 Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in Managing Leisure, Volume 18, Issue 3, 2013, Pages 194-212. Managing Leisure is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL of your article.
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