Hart Devenney

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The following article was researched and written by Richard Devenney. More contributors.


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Hart Devenney: a Canadian Physical Educator

Researched and written by Richard Devenney © R. A. B. Devenney on February 16, 2008

“For over forty years Hart Devenney has labored on behalf of Canadian young people through the vehicles of physical education and recreation. He has been an innovator and fighter in those early days when physical education and recreation were struggling for their place in the sun. To those of us who were privileged to work with him, he was a wise friend and helpful associate.”
(from the CAHPER - Dr. R. Tait McKenzie Honour Awards - Program - 1973, Calgary, Alberta


Introduction

This essay has been prepared from the personal knowledge and recollections of the author (Richard Devenney), and from records, documents, photographs, notebooks, writings and other materials, including personal memorabilia, of the family of Hart Devenney. The author is his youngest son.

Hart Devenney was a man shaped and defined by the huge social changes brought forth by the ideas and developments of the late 19th century and the first seven decades of the 20th century. From very humble beginnings, he developed a personal philosophy of the value of service to the community on all levels.

He had learned from, among other sources, the valuable work of other notable physical and recreation educators such as Lord Baden-Powell and Robert Tait McKenzie. The Young Men’s Christian Association (“YMCA”) movement of the early 20th century also played a seminal role in his life. And so after being apprised of the merits and value of the pursuit of physical activity and recreation education, he himself choose to go on and follow a life of being an educator, mentor, leader and administrator in the field.

In doing this, he used the modality of physical and recreation education in each of the communities in Canada where he was to work, striving to make those communities better places for people to live and thrive.

He also did this for 5 years during WWII, (through the auspices of the Canadian YMCA Special Services), to run a broad variety of physical and recreation services for the overseas service men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force wherever he was posted, and they were serving in those difficult times.

The following is a description of that interesting lifetime journey.