Safety Concerns – ATRA cancels conference due to Hurrican Irma

Howdy friend –
I received this email (below) from ATRA regarding the cancellation of the conference for safey concerns.
I feel regretful to hear that the conference has been cancelled and yet I think it is a good thing for safety concerns. I imagine it would be near impossible to reschedule this event. I sure hope they can.
Here is the message: 
The ATRA Board of Directors Executive Committee met tonight to discuss the ATRA Annual Conference. It is with much regret that we announce ATRA is cancelling the conference due to safety concerns affiliated with Hurricane Irma and its potential path into Florida.
Please understand that this decision was made with your safety as our primary concern. It is our responsibility to act to ensure that we maintain the safety of the attendees and vendors (and their families) who planned to join us next week. The uncertainty of the weather coupled with potentially difficult travel situations brought us to this decision.
We will be meeting as a Board again this week to discuss how to deliver our planned content to you by rescheduling the conference at a later date. As decisions are made we will communicate those to you via our website, Facebook page, Twitter and email.
Regarding your travel plans and registration:
  • ATRA will begin to process registration refunds next week.
  • You many cancel your hotel room beginning now, without penalty. The Hilton has made this promise to us, and will not hold people to the 72-hour cancellation policy.
  • Don’t forget to contact your airline and rental car company.
ATRA will have a statement on the website’s home page explaining the cancellation. If your airline carrier or others request proof, you should be able to use that statement.
We greatly apologize for this inconvenience. We were all looking forward to an amazing Annual Conference next week. Thank you to those who worked so hard on the program and events.
The ATRA Board of Directors and Conference Committee members appreciate your understanding of these circumstances. Please take good care and be safe.
Marilyn Radatz, ATRA President

Why do students want to join ATRA?

We asked students in Rec Therapy degree programs to tell us –

Why would you want to join the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)?

Please note that Danny Pettry, Founder of Rec Therapy CEUs is a Lifetime Member of ATRA. Pettry is not an elected official or paid representative of ATRA. Pettry is simply a member of the association who encourages others to get involved in ATRA.

Here are some of the reasons why students wanted to join ATRA:


I believe it would be a valuable asset for me as I begin my career in the field of recreational therapy

I believe the ATRA membership would be an added benefit for my resume as well as my performance as a CTRS.

I know that an ATRA membership would be well needed in the near future with my degree
so that I can have the tools to help me grow professionally.
I believe that it is very important to be involved in ATRA as a TR student.
I can continue to network with professionals in my field and increase my knowledge.
I can use all of their resources. I think that it would be very beneficial for myself and my future clients if I have a close connection with ATRA
because I want to be a part of a great networking opportunity. I am also taking part in a research and becoming a member could benefit me if we are able to present our findings.
I attended the 2016 Fall conference in Chicago and fell in love with the association. I hope to attend the 2017 conference in Orlando
it will give me the opportunity to create a professional network as well as teach me the fundamentals about being the best recreational therapist I can be. It will give me the ability to seek out and potentially connect with professionals who can help myself better as an aspiring therapist
I  would take full advantage of the membership. I would use it to gain additional knowledge about the RT field and would use it to network to further my career.
 I would like an ATRA student membership so I can experience what it’s like to be a part of a professional organization.
It’s my first semester as a transfer student at the university and in the major. Learning about the career Therapeutic Recreation makes me love it more and would like to know and learn a little bit more and learn different ways to support the program.
to gain knowledge about the Therapeutic Recreation Association. I am also interested in presenting and attending the annual conference 2017 in Orlando.
I would like to be more involved in the recreation therapy field. Being a part of ATRA would allow me to stay at the forefront of changes in our field and make it more possible for my voice to be heard, especially in legislative matters.
I have been wanting to join and get involved in ATRA since my first semester in the program


I want to become more involved in the national organization through attending conferences, having access to the articles, and being able to have access to the national community of more experienced RT/TR specialists.

I strongly believe in the guiding principles and vision statement that ATRA follows. I believe that ATRA empowers young professionals like myself to further the field by providing quality resources and encouraging things such as evidence based practice and attending conferences.
 This would help me out tremendously!
I am incredibly passionate about therapeutic recreation. I am eager to get as involved in the field as I possibly can.
To be more involved within my profession and improve my growth to becoming a Recreation Therapist.
Because I want to be an active member of the TR community!
Once I graduate with my degree I want to become a member. I recently found out that as a student you can join and I would love to be a part of this organization.
because I believe that the field of Therapeutic Recreation relies heavily upon professionals, interns, and students uniting together and communicating with one another; this can be done through professional organizations such as ATRA.  Being a graduate student and working toward soon becoming a CTRS, I believe that becoming a member of ATRA will help keep me connected with current news involved in the TR field.  Additionally, I believe a student membership will help me to become a better individual who is committed to bettering and expanding the future of TR.
I am passionate about TR and would love to further my knowledge in the field as well as contribute my knowledge to enhance the profession.
I think it is important to have a membership to ATRA because it will help me get to meet other people in the field and learn from their knowledge and experience. Eventually, it will also be a place that I can share my experience others as well.
As senior graduating in May and doing my final internship this summer finding a job and serving as a TR specialist and hopefully CTRS is quickly approaching  As I look for jobs I believe not only would ATRA look good on my resume but also keep me well informed and up to date with topics and opportunities in our field.
I graduated fall 2017 and plan to attend ATRA to keep up with my CEU’\S , network within the recreation field, and continue to increase my knowledge base from experienced veterans in the field.
it would help further my inclusion and participation in my field.
I want to be more involved in my profession. Once I graduate, I would like to be a part of the board.
I believe it is good to stay connected to people that you will be working with in your career path.
I would love to be professionally connected. I start graduate school in the Fall, and I’ll be writing a thesis. It will be great to have this connection because I will be able to network and help spread the word of my thesis, and hopefully get help on it.
because I am a strong advocate and advisory within the disability community
I want to get more involved in the TR field and I think winning an ATRA membership would help me do that!
Between working full time and school part time money is tight and this would be a huge boost to have this network of knowledge available.
I know how valuable ATRA is and I cannot wait to become a CTRS soon. I presented a practice poster at ATRA in the fall of 2016 and I loved how welcoming everyone was in the organization. The tools supplied by ATRA help facilitate better programming and allow for more resources than without the organization.
Because I have always wanted to be a


I think it would be a great attribute to my recreational therapy degree, I feel like you never stop learning and every day I continue to learn.

I think this would give me a step up in the field of recreational therapy and help me in finding job opportunities and internships in the future
This would give me an opportunity to better myself as a professional.
I believe this membership will be a great career opportunity to network and get involved for my future TR degree.
I have a passion for TR and working with individuals with disabilities. I feel that ATRA is an incredible resource for students and therapists. I have hopes to continue in the field of working with individuals with disabilities and to focus on enhancing quality of life. I feel that being a member of ATRA is very beneficial.
I would like to win an ATRA student membership because I know being a part of this organization will allow to me to grow in the field. It will also allow me to network and gain knowledge from others that have the same passion for the field.
To get more support during my studies.  I believe that this can guide me when completing papers and give me new ideas.
because I wish to have a bigger voice and part in this field. I am unable to pay for a membership myself but have dreamed of joining ATRA for a while now.
ATRA student membership: because I want to be able to learn as much as possible and stay current in my knowledge in the field of Recreation Therapy.
People ask me why I do what I do. Why I’m going to become something called “Recreation Therapy”.
I am extremely passionate toward the field of Therapeutic Recreation and am always using ATRA as a resource of information in regards to my studies.
I would like to know about any future career opportunities.  In addition, I would like to know more tips about the CTRS examination.  As I am aiming towards working with children and adaptive sports.  It will be extremely beneficial to learn about more updates in Recreational Therapy.  I would also like to know about CEU opportunities that are available to maintain my certification once certified.  I would like to have opportunities to network with other professionals in the same field as myself, which will enhance the services to my clients.  Having publications about the Standards of Practice will also help me deliver activities/programs that will deliver best practices for my clients.
get information that may only be open to members.
As a student, I am always looking for more resources and networking. An ATRA student membership would allow me to learn more about what other recreation professionals are utilizing in practice and bring more knowledge to my studies.
I love recreational therapy, and I want to receive as much education on it as I possibly can. Someday I’m going to develop a therapeutic riding program.
because I want to become active in the RT profession and being a member of ATRA would be a great way to do so. I want to help advocate for Recreation Therapy and grow the profession so that recreation therapy can see an increase in funding and awareness so that we may help more patients achieve their goals.
its numerous opportunities of support, networking , educational, and  personal growth.
 My goal is to become a certified recreational therapist in less than 2 years. Every since I switch to the RT major my teachers have stressed how important it is to be member of ATRA. They empowers RT, they provide continuing education information, literature resources, post job opportunities and so much more. I want to be a part of all organization that help our profession succeed, and encourage us to grow as recreational therapist.
because I would love to be part of the ATRA team.
To expand my knowledge of the RT field and it’s resources
To further my career and learn as much as I can about TR!
in order to further my knowledge in the field of Recreational Therapy. ATRA provides publishings, research articles, conferences and more in order to document knowledge received by professionals in the field. Having this additional knowledge would help me further my career in Recreational Therapy coming out of a 4 year bachelor degree and completing an internship.
As someone coming near the end of their degree, I see the importance of being connected to the TR community. ATRA gives connections and education only available if you are a member.
I want to win the ATRA student membership because I will be able reach different types of information or resources by the touch of my fingertips.
because it will help me to become one step closer to being a Therapeutic Recreation specialist which is my passion and goal.
I’m very interested in what ATRA does (conferences, CE , research news, etc)
to help propel networking opportunities with other students and Rec Therapists professional.
To become aware of all it has to offer
To learn more information and skills to possess to become the best recreational therapist as possible.
I am currently in the Therapeutic Recreation Program and I think the ATRA student membership provides various opportunities to people who provide Therapeutic Recreation Services. This membership will allow you to attend conferences and gain knowledge on other CTRS experiences and to develop a better understanding of how to utilize TR services.
I love the emails I receive from them and how the emails are packed full of relevant jobs and information.
because I am dedicated to this career and would like as many resources/opportunities to gain knowledge in this field. Becoming an ATRA member would open doors, resources, knowledge, and growth as a professional in the Recreational Therapy department.
 I want to win because I am graduating soon and I would love to be a part of this community. I know that this is a great way to get involved in the recreational therapy groups that are around the country and I think Taking advantage of this opportunity is a must. With the cost of tuition and finishing up my senior internship out of state where I have to pay for my own living and meals I think having a chance for someone else to pay for something so great is it amazing opportunity.
It would give me a great opportunity to get more involved with ATRA and get me great connection to pursue my career and further my knowledge in the Recreational Therapy field.
I would love utilize all of the resources and opportunities that the student membership offers. As a graduate student, I stay up-to-date on the latest research, and I would be excited to have access to ATRA’s research journal, network with current recreation therapists, and have reduced rates to attend conferences.
I would like to become more involved in my professional field and I feel that a good way to start it by becoming a part of our professional associations, like ATRA.

Four (4) Students Won ATRA – Student Memberships from Rec Therapy CEUs

canstockphoto22745397Danny Pettry hosted a contest for students in rec therapy degree programs to win a one-year ATRA student membership.

This contest was not affiliated with ATRA. Danny Pettry is not an elected board member for ATRA. Pettry has not been paid to work or promote ATRA.

Danny Pettry happens to be a “lifetime member of ATRA” and a strong advocate for the association.

The following four students won paid ATRA student membership from Danny Pettry ( Rec Therapy CEUs)

  1. Danielle G., an undergraduate student at Texas State University
  2. Haley H., an undergraduate student at Indiana Tech
  3. Annaka V., an undergraduate student at Calvin College
  4. Kathryn M., a graduate student at Clemson University

Congratulations on your big win!

ATRA Webinar Series – CEUs you can use

Hello there –

Disclaimer: I am a Lifetime Member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). I am not an elected member of the ATRA board. I am not a paid spokesperson for ATRA. I am just a member of the association passing along information.

Here is the email:

We are excited to announce the
2017 ATRA Webinar Series
is open for registration.
With six different series available, and 19 new innovative webinars, there’s bound to be something perfect for you.
We’ve got great topics and fantastic speakers for you to choose from. And the best part is they are all CEU-approved (make sure to check on CEU registration when you sign-up).
You will walk away from each webinar with tangible learning outcomes that can help you at your workplace.
Can’t pick just one? Be sure to sign up for the entire series at a cost savings to you.
If you can’t listen live, make sure you order the replay version (after each webinar takes place, we will add the replay purchase information in the ATRA Bookstore).
For more information on each series and registration information click the series title below.
Questions? Contact ATRA at or call 703.234.4140


11130 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 350
Reston, VA 20191



ATRA goes with Drohan Management Group

Marilyn Radatz, MS, CTRS, the current ATRA President (2016-2017) sent an email to announce that:

canstockphoto13621557-1ATRA is now using Drohan Management Group for Association Management Services.


My personal thoughts, I hate that our association is going to lose Kelly Evans (at Association Management Systems). She is such a wonderful person.


My thoughts on the new group are positive. Drohan Management Group is located in Reston, Virginia, which is right outside of D.C. I think it is great that ATRA has a location close to D.C. again.


Another thought: I hope ATRA decides to go back to the mid-year conference in D.C. every other year. I don’t think they will because of numbers. I think we, ATRA members need to make the numbers happen. The day on the hill is very helpful to advocating what we, recreational therapists do.


Danny Pettry, ATRA Lifetime Member

Bleisure trip


Word of the day: Bleisure trip:

This is when people take a business trip (and they include leisure time).

Used in a sentence, by Danny Pettry:

I imagine many recreational therapists who are heading out to Orlando, FL for the next American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) conference are taking a bleisure trip.

Based on my personal experiences, all of my ATRA experiences had been bleisure trips.

I enjoy learning. It is something I do for a hobby, so conferences are very rewarding (as well as tiring).

There has been something FUN to do in each town ATRA holds their conferences based on my experiences.

Some people go golfing. I can recall many people going golfing at a conference in Greenville, South Carolina. (I believe it was a Southeastern Symposium conference). I don’t golf (unless it has a windmill and a waterfall and something entertaining).

I always go out to the local restaurants with fellow recreational therapists. So many fun places in every town. I always stop by the mall and shopping center in each town. Those are things I find enjoyable.

Here are some of my experiences that I recall:

  • Kansas City, Missouri: World War I Museum, big former train-station, Hallmark headquarters, Craolya headquarters, Kansas City chiefs (I wanted to go see them play real bad, but didn’t get to for some reason). They have a real nice restaurant that brings your food out on small trains. So cool. Oh yeah – they have a real neat model map of the town. You can push a button (for where you want to go) and a light pops up to show you where that part is at).
  • District of Columbia: a lot of museums. Metro subway was neat.
  • Bloomington, Indiana: Colts! Hoosier state (Indiana University). Real nice mall in downtown Bloomington.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: we took a riverboat down the Mississippi, which was one of the most entertaining and relaxing activities. I also stopped by the Mall of America.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: This is like a really giant version of Charleston, West Virginia (with more to do). I ate with my good friend and mentor Charlie Dixon and his wife at the HardRock Café there. Charlie won the distinguished fellow of the year award by ATRA. A lot of sports: Penguins, Pirates, Steelers.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: quaint town with a lot of culture in downtown. Spent the day walking around the park with fellow Rec Therapists and we found some real nice restaurant there.
  • Chicago Illinois: wow – that city is just too big for me. I felt a bit scared there. Luckily the conference was slightly outside of Chicago. I went to the local mall with fellow rec therapists. But I didn’t do anything else there. A few RTs told me they ran into some suspicious characters. There were some special events and activities at the conference. Some girls were having a hoola-hooping contest!

Origin of the Recreation Therapy (and certification) submitted by Kenneth Davis


This blog was post submitted by Kenneth Davis for RecTherapyToday

  • The origin of the Recreation Therapy profession dates back to the early 80s when the first meeting of certification  was part of a national discussion.
  • Norma Stumbo, PH D was probably  key in developing a study guide for the  administration of the National exam given by athe National  Council for Thetapeutic  Recreation Certification now in New York.
  • Academic  development was with Dr. Scout Gunn PhD and Macia Carter, PhD and many others
  • My memory is that Dr.Peg Connelly  PhD and later a Bob Rilely, PhD  were very involved in promoting and developing the exam an making changes to the credentialing process.  Adding a staff for credentialing and having clear discussion on the job analysis
  • I believe, a national  testing service ETS was to review the exam before it was administered and Dr. Stumbo released a study guide later for the exam.  Additionally  individuals like Alice Burlingame were very involved in assessment  development with I known Alice for years and she has sold the business.
  • Additionally  Dr. Connie,Nall, and myself  worked with Leisure Scope.a developed tool for leisure assessment. Jean Forthworth, PhD  then at Central  Michigan University, and I had many discussion  on this including Dr. Marsha Cater at Michigan State University  in Lansing,  Michigan.
  • The exam and through careful developed and determining of the questions and submitting to a national testing service was critical.  Some of the concern  included accommodation for the exam for individuals with disabilities. I remember  Dr. Nancy Navar was also involved in this discussion. Dr. Navar is now retired from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.
  • Ed Keegan , PhD  was also developing the program at Western Carolina University and Dr. Gerald O Morrow was reaching retirement .
  •  The National Recreation and Parks Administration  NTRS was developing their own certificate. It was a bit divided and most NRPA members were not in favor of a separate certification of a Governing Body to address this issue which was NTRS.
  • Many years had gone by until thongs were actually worked out with NTRS believe at least 10 years or more. Most Parks and Recreation majors in colleges did not understand this aspect of therapeutic recreation nor a need to have certification. But stardardard for placement  were just about all that wree in place at that time.
  • Yvonne Washington, was a central person addressing this discussion with NTRS  individually with the National  Recreation and Parks Association.  Later they had  the discussion which  moved to colleges and universities and  TR sections including the Virginia Therapeutic Recreation Section, which I was a part in the 80s with Besty Kennedy MA Ed at Old Domunnion with so many other TR’s addresses the exam at Radford  and Old Dominion University  and Virginia Commonwealth  University.
  • In the mid 80s schools like Michigan State, Wayne State, University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Texas  and University of Washington, Radford  and California State were all involved in promoting the national exam.  I do remember Mick and Lee being involved at Radford as well. In fact Lee was very gracious in ;coming to Marion Virginia where I was the department head to be involved in the selection position for a job I had written specifically for our agency.  At that time I worked for Marion Correctional Treatment Center a forensic facility in Southwestern Virginia.
  • Sharon Nicholas, MA CTRS  in New Hampshire whom I’ve known over the years and still in New Hampshire was working on explaining our value in the rehabilitation settings.  I kept in contact with Sharon while m working for the VA in Manchester New Hampshire and while at Health South in Concord New Hampshire,
  • I later moved from New Hampshire to Colorado  but in  Virginia with some knowledge of the happening in both the West and East Coast because I was in contact with Ann Houston.
  • Ann Houston, MPH, CTRS, became the President of ATRA, and this was after her leaving the VA in a Palo Alto, California.  Ann spearheaded ATRA  to a much larger need and audience. With its offices in Hattersburg,  Mississippi.
  • As a member of ATRA, I remember having many discussion with Kelly Dunbar, about the formation and direction of ATRA, and NCTRC.

  • ATRA, became very involved in therapeutic recreation both locally and on Capital Hill. During the Clinton administration health care reform years , The Joint Commission o established that lTR was a part of treatment.   Many of its members ATRA including myself went to Washington DC in 1980s  to speak on behalf of the organization to our local representatives dto educate  them on the three hour rule of health care reimbursment, which continues today

Kenneth Davis MA CTRS,  is now a Independent Therapeutic Educational Consultant and Chief Executive of tge Business  Educational Planning and Counseling Services LLC

Kenneth  is a graduate of Pepperdine  University holding Masters in Educational Technology and Organizational Leadership currently Certified by NCTRS. Business Owner, CEO Educational Planning and Counseling Services Lives in Sun City Wesrt, Arizona

RT book project

I’ve been advocating for several months to get Chicken Soup for the Soul to create a book of stories about the healing power of recreational therapy.

I’ve met a lot of resistance.

I’ve contacted Chicken Soup by mail and they’ve said “no,” too narrow of a topic.

I drove to Chicago one weekend to meet Jack Canfield, the co-creator of Chicken Soup to get his support and he sent my message on to Chicken Soup (a company and brand that he sold). – but they still said no.

I’ve created an online petition to request them to create the book (but only 400 signatures)  – but Chicken Soup said “no.” – They need millions of signatures.

I’ve contacted NCTRC and asked them to submit a letter to Chicken Soup, but they didn’t because the mission of NCTRC to is protect the public from harm.

I ‘ve contacted ATRA and asked them to write a letter to Chicken Soup, but they said it wouldn’t be fair to all the members of ATRA.

My last letter from Chicken Soup said “return to sender.”

Emotions: I feel invalidated. I feel rejected. I feel distressed.

But don’t despair.

I Danny Pettry am determined. I promise that I’ll continue to advocate until this book project gets approved.

I’m going to get this book published. I hope with Chicken Soup.

I really think Chicken Soup is making a huge mistake to disregard recreational therapy.

My second choice is Hay House.  My team has reached out to them and they are open to book proposals. What do you think?

I have another appointment to meet with Jack Canfield in 2017 in Philly. I’ll keep you posted.

ATRA benefits

I’m a lifetime member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

I feel ATRA is the leading organization for promoting the interests of recreational therapists.

Disclaimer: I am not an elected official for ATRA. I am not a paid spokesperson for ATRA.

My Request: please join this professional organization. Your membership fees will go towards promote and advocating for our profession. Once you’re member, go a step more and volunteer with one of the groups.

Go to this link to join ATRA:

I volunteer my own time to help ATRA with several parts, including:

  • Reviewing Peg Connolly Scholarship applications
  • Training Peg Connolly Scholarship winners at previous conferences
  • Assisting with the Peg Connolly Scholarship program
  • I’m on the Public Policy team with an emphasis on Mental/ Behavioral Health
  • I presented at three ATRA conferences: Chicago, Pittsburgh, and D.C.
  • I write articles for the ATRA newsletter from time to time.
  • I’m a member of the pediatric and mental/ behavior health treatment networks, which I assist.

PLUS – I’ve made so many great connections with friends because of ATRA.

What are you doing to do for your profession?

Go to this link to join ATRA: