History

Strong women then. Strong women today.

Chi Kappa Rho was created from the mind of one woman with a great idea. She believed that women engaged professionally in the various fields of recreation could come together to promote unity of purpose, high standards of achievement, and a better understanding and appreciation of related endeavors for the attainment of professional goals. Such a group could also provide an opportunity to foster friendship and sociability, stimulate mutual helpfulness and loyalty, and provide professional services.

In 1935, Helen I. Pontius, shared her idea with several women at a Los Angeles Playgrounds Department Recreation Directors meeting. In 1936, Alpha, the first Los Angeles chapter, was chartered, and Chi Kappa Rho became a reality. The organization grew slowly within California between 1935 and 1967. The first National Board was established in 1964, and in 1975, the organization became a California non-profit corporation.

In 1991, the membership voted to officially change the name of the organization from Chi Kappa Rho to Women in Leisure Services, Chi Kappa Rho, Inc.  In this 21st century, WILS continues to evolve – always looking for new ways to support and develop leaders in our field.