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Scholarships & Awards
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The ATRA Awards Program is comprised of eleven awards, plus the Peg Connolly and ATRA Annual Conference Scholarships, and is open to all ATRA members in good standing:



The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is excited to provide the opportunity for ATRA Student members to receive the Peg Connolly Scholarship. Named in honor of Dr. Peg Connolly, the first ATRA president and former Executive Director of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, this program provides tremendous personal and professional benefits and rewards.  Not only do students gain professional knowledge from sessions, students have the opportunity to network with professionals from around the country. ATRA believes the future of our field depends on the continuing growth of students. Today, many former scholarship recipients prove this belief by serving vital roles within our profession.

Basic Info: This scholarship is available to undergraduate, graduate and PhD members of ATRA who are enrolled in a therapeutic recreation program during the conference year.  You must be able to attend a mandatory training the day before the Annual Conference, pre-conference sessions as well as the ATRA Annual Conference in its entirety. Scholarships include full package conference registration, accommodations, and a meal stipend ($100). Students are responsible for transportation to/from the conference and are expected to arrange travel to arrive day prior to conference. Should there be a lack of qualified applicants in any of the categories, scholarship priority will be given to undergraduate students. This scholarship is a “working scholarship”. Students assist in various aspects of implementing the conference such as room hosting, registration and monitoring social events.  

Learn more about the Peg Connolly Scholarship.


ATRA First-Time ANNUAL Conference Attendee SCHOLARSHIP

Applications will be taken February 1 - June 1 2020

ATRA is pleased to begin offering scholarships to help professionals and students attend our annual conference. We value broad-based participation in the conference and are committed to providing as much assistance as we can to keep registration fees and travel expenses from serving as barriers to conference attendance.  

The mission of ATRA is Empowering Recreational Therapists.
These scholarships are intended to help ATRA members participate in the Annual conference to ignite their RT career and ensure inclusivity in our professional community.

As a professional organization dependent on registration fees to fund most the conference, we are asking for support from individuals and organizations to help with this endeavor.  For those wishing to donate, you can do so by clicking the donations tab of choice (student scholarships and professional scholarships). Note that 100% of the money you donate will be used for the scholarships you designate


Our goal is to reach $2000 for each scholarship fund. 

The number of scholarships and amount of scholarship awards will be based on the donations received to support this initiative. Awards up to $500 will be provided based on the application that features applicant’s job, financial need, and the benefits of professional development to the applicant. 

If you have questions or need further information, contact the ATRA membership team.


Give back; Learn How to donate to this great cause



  1. Distinguished Fellow

    This is the highest recognition award given by ATRA. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments within the field of recreational therapy. It will not be given each year unless all designated criteria are met.

  2. Outstanding Professional

    This award may be made annually to one member of ATRA. It is the second most prestigious award of ATRA.

  3. Member of the Year

    This award may be made annually to one member of ATRA for outstanding contributions to the organization.

  4. Individual Citation

    This citation may be made annually to one non-member of ATRA. A person is eligible to receive the citation one time only.

  5. Organization/Institution Citation

    An organization is defined as any group who advocates, promotes and/or supports the delivery of services to persons with disabilities. This includes any public, private, or voluntary group organized under a charter, permit, certificate, or incorporation. An institution is defined as agency, primarily residential in nature, but which also provide day or outreach services. The institution’s purpose is to provide health, treatment, rehabilitation, or other human services, including recreation, to persons with disabilities. Only one award will be given each year. This award is not based on the quality of an agency’s recreational therapy department, staff, or services, but rather on external recreational therapy services that meet qualifications.

  6. Certificate of Recognition

    Awarded for meritorious service that promotes, develops, or implements innovations, expansions, or improvements to RT/TR programs, services, and/or education. This is for such service not provided under “Member of the Year” or “Distinguished Service” awards.

  7. Frank N. Basile Clinician of the Year

    This award will recognize the recipient’s outstanding contribution to recreational therapy through creative and innovative programming in a clinical setting through promotion of the profession and service to developing professionals.

  8. Excellence in Education

    This is awarded to a clinical agency or institution of higher education that has distinguished itself through outstanding contribution(s) to the RT/TR profession.

  9. Scholarly Achievement

    This is awarded to one member of ATRA who has contributed significantly to the field of knowledge of recreational therapy.

  10. Chapter Affiliate of the Year

    This award may be made annually to an outstanding chapter affiliate of ATRA.

  11. Advocacy 

    This award may be made annually to recognize the advocacy efforts of an ATRA member on behalf of the recreational therapy profession and ATRA. The Federal Public Policy Team will review all applicants for this award and make a recommendation.



Review the criteria for each award by clicking on the award name in orange. Ready to nominate or self-nominate? Complete your form at the bottom of this page. Awards are presented each year at the Annual Conference.


To view Past Award Recipients click here




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