2018 Peg Connolly Scholarship

canstockphoto25893822I [Danny Pettry] highly recommend for college students in RT/TR degree programs to apply for the Peg Connolly Scholarship.

The winners get to attend ATRA’s national conference for free and get to monitor sessions.

You’ll meet a lot of people in the field.

It is named in honor of Dr. Peg Connolly (first President of ATRA) and former Executive Director at NCTRC.

I had won the 2004 Peg Connolly Scholarship (Kansas City, Missouri). It was the 20th anniversary of ATRA. I assisted with training the Peg Connolly Scholarship winners for the 2009 ATRA conference in Kansas City.

I’ve assisted with the scholarship selection committee for several years. I won’t be reading essays for students in 2018.

Check it out here: https://unh.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bdOLEuOBprXsCfX

Email questions to: PCSscholarship@ATRA-online.com

Danny Pettry disclaimers: I am a not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. I’m not an elected board member for ATRA. I am a Lifetime Member of the Association who is active with ATRA and encourages others to join the association.


Three Ways to Become an Expert in Recreational Therapy

canstockphoto39066029Three Ways to Become an Expert in Recreational Therapy

By: Danny Pettry, M.Ed., M.S., LPC, NCC, CTRS, Founder of DannyPettry.com and RecTherapyCEUs.com

Experts have knowledge and experience. They’re the best at what they do. Sometimes they’re called “gurus.” Experts often provide training, consultation, and coaching.

The are three things a person can do to become an expert. These include: gaining experience, gaining education, and gaining an expert reference group.

Below are tips on those three areas:

canstockphoto16769492# 1: You’ve got to gain the experience needed to be an expert.

Having direct experience counts. One of my favorite authors, Malcom Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, argues that a person needs to work at something for 10,000 hours to become skilled at something.

In example, if a woman wanted to become a master at playing the violin, she’d need to practice for 10,000 hours. Starting young gives people a leading advantage.

Example: Imagine a child who already knows her passion. She wants to be a professional tennis player. She starts playing tennis in 2nd-grade. She works every year putting in the hours of practice. Compere her journey to the young adult who is 18-years-old. She’s never played tennis before and she starts to learn. The 18-year-old has a long way to get 10,000 0hours of deliberate practice. The young girl will definitely hit 10,000 hours, pending she continues her interest in it.

They can’t be repeated hours. Danny Pettry comments: I took guitar lessons for almost two years during my teenage years. I did one hour of practice with my trainer weekly. I didn’t practice any during my own leisure time because honestly, I wasn’t into playing guitar. Twelve months by two years is about 24 hours. However, I’d argue that I only had about 1-real hour of practice playing guitar because I pretty much repeated that same hours over 23-more times before I quiet. Where was my passion? Skateboarding. I dreamed, slept, and lived skateboarding. I did it every second I could (pending it wasn’t raining or snowing). I was constantly improving my skills. At my peak year in skateboard (16), I was really good. I was putting in deliberate practice at getting better every day and pushing my game to go further. I slowed down my hardcore skating when I disclosed a shoulder from a skateboarding accident. I only skated the easy moves I already knew during my college years so I wouldn’t get hurt again. At that time, I was only repeating hours that I had already done. I wasn’t improving.

A recreational therapist could work five years and be the same level she was when she started. I read an interesting book a while back (which I can’t recall the title or I’d pay attribution). The author was talking about work experience. He gave examples of a guy who got a promotion for working 25-years at the company. The other guy complained, saying he too had worked 25-years at the company. The manager told him that he worked one-year at the company and repeated the same thing for 24 more years. He argued the other guy continued to improve and take on new roles and responsibilities.

Ten years of full-time employment in a specialty area is often considered the benchmark for being an expert in a field. Of course a person could meet their (Gladwell’s 10,000 hours) benchmark by working five years. Of course that means no down time. All 100% of those five years must be very dedicated practice at becoming better.

The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers five advanced specialty certificates to recognize those (distinct professional) with the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) who have advanced knowledge above and beyond the CTRS credential. These five areas include: a.) physical medicine/ rehabilitation; b.) geriatrics; c.) developmental disabilities; d.) behavioral health; and e.) community inclusion services.

A person must have 5-years of experience working in the specialty area to be eligible or (one-year of experience) with a graduate degree.

Danny Pettry experience: I’m definitely proud to say that I’ve worked 15+ years at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) as a practitioner providing services for children and adolescents with various mental and behavioral health needs.  Disclaimer: I don’t have a specialty certification through NCTRC. I do have National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCC is the Counseling equivalent of the CTRS. However, the NCC requires a master’s degree where the CTRS requires an undergraduate degree. The NCC requires 80-hours of continuing education in a five-year period and the CTRS requires 50-hours of continuing education in 5-years. The CTRS specialty certification requires 75 hours of continuing education in a five-year period in the specialty area. I’ve decided to just keep the NCC opposed to getting a CTRS-specialty certification in behavioral health.


canstockphoto1146065# 2. You’ve got to gain the education needed to be an expert.

Education helps a person to become an expert.

A person with advanced degrees demonstrate that they have focused education in an area.

Here is a reminder of the types of degrees and the estimated length of time to earn one.

  • Associate’s degree: Two years of education
  • (Undergraduate degree) Bachelor’s degree: Four years of education
  • (Graduate degree) Master’s degree: Six years of education
  • Doctorate: Eight years.

The majority of Recreational Therapists hold a Bachelor’s degree. That is the current entry-level education requirement for our profession. Those recreational therapists with a 4-year-degree have more knowledge about the profession compared to those who have completed a two-year associates, recreational therapy assistant degree.

There are some Recreational Therapists who hold a Master’s degree. These practitioners have more knowledge compared to those with only an undergraduate degree.

It appears that the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is attempting to get more people to earn a Master’s degree with their specialty certification program. A person with a graduate degree (with 9 graduate level hours in specialty focus) can earn a CTRS-specialty certification with only one year of professional experience.

Recreational therapy has a major gap in the number of people with a Ph.D. Currently, there are several colleges and universities that are posting opening positions and are having a difficult time finding people with a Ph.D. Many of those professionals with a Ph.D. in our profession are getting close to retirement meaning there are going to be even a greater need.

Danny Pettry comments: Some recreational therapists argue that they are not as respected as other allied professionals. Recreational Therapists work on treatment teams with other professionals. Some of those professionals require a Master’s degree for entry-level practice. These professionals may unintentionally think of recreational therapists as those professionals who only need an undergraduate degree, how much could they possibly know.

Some of our allied professionals require a higher number of continuing education compared to recreational therapists. In example, counselors must earn 80 hours to maintain NCC. Occupational Therapists in my state of West Virginia must earn 24 hours of continuing education every two-years. In four years, they must earn 48 hours (almost 50). Where a CTRS only needs to earn 50 in five-years. Our allied professionals are required to earn more continuing education.

There are some people in Recreational Therapy who want to move the entry level for our profession to a Master’s degree. Danny Pettry’s beliefs: I personally think our profession should keep the entry-level requirement at a 4-year-degree. I believe that because it makes our profession a little more marketable for colleges and universities. A person could learn the skills needed to be an entry-level practitioner with only 4-years-of training.

A person who wants to be an expert in recreational therapy must continue her education and training.

Danny Pettry’s Leisure Education experience: As a teenager, I got my education in skateboarding. I read Thrasher magazine and Transworld Skateboarding magazine. I watched 411-skatevideos and videos released by various skateboard companies: Alien Workshop, Toy Machine, Maple Skateboards, Blind, Vision, Powell.  I studied those skates who were slightly better than me.

Danny Pettry’s Professional Education: I’m definitely proud to share that I have a Master’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Indiana University (2006), which I feel makes me qualified to provide online continuing education training for recreational therapists with an undergraduate degree. I also have a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling (2012), which I believe makes me qualified to provide focused continuing education training in mental and behavioral health. My undergraduate degree is in Therapeutic Recreation (2002).

Plus – I love reading and learning. Those are my hobbies, so it makes it easier for me. I ready about two books per week. That is about 100 books per year. And I select my favorite books to required readings for my self-study CEU programs. I’ve read the books and I know which ones are worth reading and which ones are worth skipping. I also take a lot of trainings both online and at workshops. I hire personal coaches to teach me skills in areas that I feel I need to develop.


canstockphoto14579579# 3. You’ve got to be part of the expert association

My favorite inspirational speaker, the late Jim Rohn argued that a person is the average of the five people she spends the most time with.

Here are some examples:

  • If a teenager spends most of her time with five cheerleaders, then she is probably a cheerleader.
  • If a teenager spends most of his time with five “D-students,” then his average is probably a D, too.
  • If a person spends most of her time with five people who are very involved in the church, then you can imagine she is probably involved too.
  • If a woman spends most of her time with her five “besties” who happen to all be millionaires, then she is probably a…

Many different self-improvement gurus talk about Rohn’s (5-people principle). They have different names for it.  Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich calls it a “Mastermind Group.”  Author, Brian Tracy, calls it a “Reference Group.” Regardless of the term.

The good news is that you can surround yourself with experts through audio learning programs, video training, webinars, and books. This can help you gain their knowledge and thinking styles.

However, you must have real connections with experts too. There is something powerful about networking and connecting and being part of a group. Its cliché; but here are two that I’ll repeat it here: “Two heads are better than one” and “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” 

Where is the expert association for recreational therapists? I’d argue that it is the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). It is the leading membership organization. You can meet and network and join committees with recreational therapists from around the world through ATRA. You can attend ATRA conferences so you can learn from experts (presenters) and then even talk to the presenter after the session.

Imagine if your professional network included the best recreational therapists. Wow, that would be amazing. You can join our professional association, ATRA. Many recreational therapists work solo, meaning they’re the only recreational therapist at their facility. Being part of ATRA gives those people a suppoRT group.

Danny Pettry’s teenage experience: as a teenager, I constantly sought out skateboarders who were slightly better than me. The people who I spent most of my time with were skateboarders! The good ol’ days. We formed out own skater-club. Some of those friends ended up getting sponsored by local companies. Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory is important too. If I skated with beginner skaters, I often felt bored. If I skated with the most advanced skaters, I often felt anxious. In order to get in the flow, the level of difficulty must be slightly greater than the current level of skill.

Danny Pettry’s disclaimers: I’m not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. I’m not an elected board member for the association. I am a Lifetime Member of ATRA! I won the 2004 Peg Connolly Scholarship (named in honor of the first president of ATRA and former executive director of NCTRC, Dr. Peg Connolly). I won the 2005 Recreational Therapy Advocate of the Year award. I’ve assisted with the supervision and training of the 2009 Peg Connolly Scholarship winners. I’ve severed on the Recreational Therapy Month committee when Norma Stumbo was present of ATRA. I would love to run for a board member position, however, I’m afraid it would be a conflict of interest since I operate an online continuing education program. So, I don’t run. I do offer to volunteer my time, money, and experience helping the board whenever possible, like submitting vital mental and behavioral health updates to the association, and presenting at national conferences. I was also a good-standing member of the West Virginia Therapeutic Recreation Association (WVTRA) branch of ATRA before it disband. I served several roles on the WVTRA board, including: student representative when I was a graduate student, CTRS representative when I started to work, and the ATRA Rep for WVTRA from WV.

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 DannyPettry.com: 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 DannyPettry.com: 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 (DannyPettry.com: 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 membership@atra-online.com 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 http://nctrc.org/about-certification/national-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 https://www.idyllarbor.com/. 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. http://www.recreationtherapy.com/history/rthistory3.htm
  • 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 www.educational-planning-and-counseling.org

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