Understanding Young Carers and their Leisure (UYCL): A Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) Initiative
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As of 2012, Statistics Canada estimated there were a minimum 1.2 million young Canadians supporting a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, disability, or as an older adult (Statistics Canada, 2012). Young carers voices and perspectives are predominantly missing from representations of their lived experiences in research, social policy, and support services. Leisure may have important implications for supporting young carers in their care roles; however, little attention has been brought to understanding young carers’ meanings and experiences of leisure. This critical participatory action research (CPAR) project partnered with young carers and staff supporting them to expand our understandings of young carers' experiences of care and how those care experiences shape leisure. Our team, made up of staff from two young carer organizations in Ontario and four, bright young carers, collaboratively and critically explored dominant conceptualizations of young carers and their leisure to better understand how to support young carers in their care roles. Drawing on critical youth studies and an authentic partnership approach, our CPAR process brings attention to the possibilities of involving young carers in actions and decision-making throughout all phases of the research. Our CPAR project brought attention to four key themes: There is Nothing Unnatural About Being a Young Carer: It’s About Just Being Human; Tensions in Understandings and Experiences of Young Carers; Leisure as Relational Moments of Rejuvenation in Everyday Life, and; Being Acknowledged as Relational Beings. Through privileging the perspectives of young carers, our findings contribute an alternative conceptualization of young carers and their leisure, filling gaps in research, policy, and practice.
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Rebekah Norman (2022). Understanding Young Carers and their Leisure (UYCL): A Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) Initiative. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18670