American Therapeutic Recreation Association

Welcome to ATRA

Annual Award Opportunities

It's time to recognize those outstanding individuals and organizations who have supported our profession! The ATRA Awards Program is comprised of eleven awards, plus the Peg Connolly and Linda Levine-Madori Scholarships, and is open to all ATRA members in good standing:

  1. Distinguished Fellow - This is the highest recognition award given by ATRA. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments within the field of RT/TR. 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 awards criteria then complete your application. Mail applications to: ATRA Awards, 11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 350, Reston, VA 20191. Awards are presented each year at the Annual Conference. Please view recipients of ATRA Awards. The deadline to apply is May 15th.


ATRA Peg Connolly Scholarship

Applications are now being accepted!  Click here for application submission!

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 (2018).  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 (9/12/18). 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.  

Important  dates: Applications will go live by February 1st & are due April 1st. The application is a blended format combining online application and submitting additional documents electronically. It is the responsibility of the applicant not ATRA Home Office or ATRA Peg Connolly Scholarship committee to ensure application is received in full by deadline. ATRA Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan September 13-16, 2018; scholars must arrive on 9/12/18 for training prior to pre-conferences.


Application specifics: 

Your must email the following attachments to

References may be filled out here.

  1. One copy of your official transcripts 
  2. Two letters of recommendation
    1. One from a Professor.
    2. One from a Supervisor (volunteer or paid experience in recreational therapy). 
    3. Resume

Online application will include provision of demographics as well as responses to 5 essay prompts listed below. Of note, personal & identifying information will be redacted from applications prior to committee review.  

  1. “Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being. Based upon ATRA’s definition of recreational therapy, describe and comment on areas you support, as well as the areas you would change and why.  
  2. Describe your philosophy that supports your belief and rationale for recreational therapy as a therapeutic discipline overall as well as within your intended setting/population. 
  3. Discuss how your work or volunteer experience has contributed to your professional goals in the field of recreational therapy.
  4. Describe a time when you were a leader and it did/did not go as planned. How did that experience help you grow as a leader and contribute to your professional development?
  5. Discuss how you feel this scholarship & conference attendance can help you develop personally and professionally.