International Recreational Therapy Month

By: Heather Andersen, EdD, CTRS

Happy Recreational Therapy month! Recreation therapy is sometimes a hidden gem among service professions. Recreation Therapy began after World War II and has continued to grow with the advancement of the profession. Recreation Therapy can be defined as, “a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations by an illness or disabling condition (American Therapeutic Recreation Association, 2014).” There are many benefits of recreation and leisure including physical, cognitive, social and health benefits. There are 30,000 plus therapeutic recreation professionals with over 15,000 active Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (NCTRC, 2016). Recreation therapists can work in a variety of settings from community recreation, clinical, schools, with veterans, to correctional facilities. For more information on becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, visit the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Where Can You Earn a Degree?
There are over 50 colleges and universities where you can earn a degree in recreation therapy, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level. For a list of schools, visit the ATRA page.

Event Highlights
February is International Recreational Therapy month! There are many celebrations and educational events going on this month to celebrate, advocate, and educate about the benefits of and what recreation therapists do. Below are a few event highlights.

Florida International University
Florida International University Recreation Club’s events held two events earlier this month. One was a social connected to the school’s alumni week. FIU alum returned to campus to network with current students in their respectful field. The second event was a modified bean bag toss for any student to play for a prize. The Recreation Therapy club is hoping to hold a social media campaign along with a photo contest using the hashtag, #IamAfutureRT. You can find out more or follow the club on their social media pages:

Texas Recreation Therapists Meet at the Capital
On February 22nd from 10:30a.m to 3:30p.m., recreation therapists from across Texas will be gathering at the capital in Austin to advocate for the profession. If you are planning on attending, please email the names of your state Representative and Senator to
You find your representatives by going here. The group will be meeting online on Thursday 2/16/17 which if interested you can request to join the Texas CTRS Network Facebook group. They will be hosting an online Q&A session regarding the event.

Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University’s Student Therapeutic Recreation Association planned and implemented an informational wheelchair scavenger hunt in the student union; those who participated could win gummy snacks with recreation therapy facts on them. The student association also had a booth with additional information.

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