What is ATRA?

A Summary of Brent Wolfe’s presentation, American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) – Empowering Recreational Therapists, presented on October 21, 2019 at the North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association’s annual conference.

Reference:

Wolfe, B. (2019, October 21). American Therapeutic Recreation Association – Empowering Recreational Therapists. North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association’s Annual Conference. Charlotte, NC.

Summarized by: Danny Pettry, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS

 

 

 

Disclaimers: Danny Pettry and Rec Therapy Today are not affiliated with ATRA.  Danny Pettry is not an elected ATRA Board Member. Danny Pettry is not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. Danny Pettry is a Lifetime Member of ATRA who volunteers to assist with ATRA when possible.

 

Brent Wolfe  presented, “American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) – Empowering Recreational Therapists,” at the North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association (NCRTA) conference on October 21, 2019.

Wolfe is a Professor in Recreational Therapy at Georgia Southern University.

Brent Wolfe, Ph.D., CTRS is currently serving as the Executive Director at ATRA.

 

 

 

 

Wolfe (2019) covered these three (3) topics:

  1. ATRA’s Mission
  2. Current Trends in the field
  3. Reasons to Join our national association

 

 

ATRA’s Mission

  • ATRA is a 501C6 Non-profit organization.
  • ATRA’s mission is to: Empower Recreational Therapists.
  • The association (founded in 1984) is constantly growing and maturing.
  • ATRA is a membership that is funded by members and operated by volunteers.
  • The executive director (Brent); and the Board of Directors are all volunteers.

 

ATRA’s Vision

A world where everyone who needs recreational therapy services can have access.

 

 

ATRA has been confused with other organizations, including the following:

  • National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), which is the certification body that credentials recreational therapists.
  • The Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE), which accredits higher education.

ATRA is an organization that is separate from NCTRC and CARTE.

 

ATRA, NCTRC, and CARTE are all three Voluntary.

They are not required or mandated.

In example:

  • Recreational therapists do not have to be a member of ATRA
  • Recreational therapists do not have to be certified through NCTRC
  • Recreational Therapy degree programs do not have to be accredited through CARTE

 

 

Current Trends

Wolfe (2019) shared a public service announcement to stop using “clinical” vs. “community” recreational therapy.

Recreational therapy is a process and not a setting. We, recreational therapists help people to improve regardless of the setting. The recreational therapy process takes place in many diverse settings.

The recreational therapy process consists of: Assessment, Planning, Intervention, and Evaluation (APIE). Wolfe included Documentation as a core skill. Recreational therapists document the full process.

 

ATRA believes in:

  • Evidenced-based Practices
  • Professional Credentialing
  • Accreditation of Colleges and Universities
  • Building powerful relationships
  • Mentoring and developing professionals (if we’re not growing, we are dying).

Wolfe shared; “we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.”

Currently, the entry-level for recreational therapists should be a bachelor’s degree with increased and improved fieldwork/ internship training.

 

Current terms:

  • Therapeutic Recreation is the professional field.
  • Recreational Therapy is the practice.
  • Recreational Therapists are the practitioners.
  • A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) is the qualified provider.

 

 

ATRA is currently involved in several activities, including:

  • Marketing the profession
  • Higher Education Task Force
  • Join Task Force for Licensure
  • Competency Study publications
  • Access to Inpatient Recreational Therapy Act, 2019
  • Hybrid 38 with the Department of Veteran Affairs, requiring a CTRS for recreational therapist positions.
  • Recreational Therapy Job Classification. The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies recreational therapy is (29-1125).  Recreational therapists are encouraged to contact Human Resources at their work and ask what their job classification is and to request is to be changed to 29-1125 if it isn’t already.

 

 

Reasons to Join ATRA

Wolfe (2019) shared what is in it for recreational therapists to join the association.

ATRA provides a lot of useful resources for recreational therapists, including:

  • Ethics
  • Discounts
  • Newsletter
  • Resources on coverage
  • Scholarship opportunities
    • First time conference scholarship
    • Peg Connolly student scholarship
  • Networking opportunities
  • Access to experts and materials
  • Publications on recreational therapy
  • Standards of Practice in Recreational Therapy
  • Advocacy for clients we serve and the overall profession
    • Erin Sinclair recently represented ATRA at a Brain Injury Summit.
  • Continuing education: online trainings and conferences
    • Michelle Bateman is one of the volunteers at ATRA who records continuing education training sessions for recreational therapists. Anyone can register and complete these trainings. ATRA members can get these trainings at discounted prices.

 

ACTION CALL

Get Involved with ATRA.

Go here to join if you haven’t done so already: https://www.atra-online.com/page/whyjoinmain

 

 

Follow ATRA online:

 

 

Bibliography

Wolfe, B. (2019, October 21). American Therapeutic Recreation Association – Empowering Recreational Therapists. North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association’s Annual Conference. Charlotte, NC.

 

Disclaimers

Danny Pettry and Rec Therapy Today are not affiliated with ATRA.  Danny Pettry is not an elected ATRA Board Member. Danny Pettry is not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. Danny Pettry is a Lifetime Member of ATRA who volunteers to assist with ATRA when possible.