Text -- 304-412-4065 Danny@DannyPettry.com

Left Ray Archer – (assisted with 2018 ATRA awards committee)  
Center: Danny Pettry (that’s me)
Right: Marieke VanPuymbroeck, P.h.D., CTRS, FDRT, who served as the 2017 to 2018 President of ATRA.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) awarded me [Danny Pettry] with the Certificate of Recognition in Recreational Therapy at the 2018 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I received it for “outstanding services, tireless effort, and constant support for the recreation therapy field.”

I definitely felt proud to receive this prestigious award from ATRA. I feel confident that anyone else nominated for this award was equally deserving.

Thank you

There were many people (and many recreational therapists) who have inspired me in my path. It would be difficult to name all of them. This blog would be several pages long.

I do want to personally acknowledge two good-standing members of ATRA who nominated me for this award.

  • Kimberly Severance nominated me in 2016, which I didn’t win.
  • Jodi Danback nominated me in 2018, which I did win this time.

Two Distinguished Fellows in Recreational Therapy had written letters of support. My fellow West Virginian and mentor, Charlie Dixon (FDRT, 2013) who operates the Therapeutic Recreation Directory online and my professor in graduate school at Indiana University, Dr. David Austin (FDRT, 1997).

And again, thank you to so many more people who were not listed above (like my parents, friends, co-workers, RTs who came before me and on and on).

Some of my contributions:

I was acknowledged for my online Rec Therapy CEUs and newsletter: Rec Therapy Today, which I’m a bit famous for. I constantly ask other RTs through my web-sites, blogs and email newsletters to join our professional association.

Here is a list of my ATRA accomplishments

  • Being Lifetime Member of ATRA and a good-standing member since 1999 (that is almost 20 years). I’ve been a member of ATRA for nearly half of my lifespan.


  • 2009 Peg Connolly Student Scholarship Winner Selection Committee
  • 2016 Assisted with reviewing scholarships with Peg Connolly Scholarship
  • 2014 Rec Therapy Month Task Force
  • 2016+ Federal Public Policy team with emphasis on Behavioral Health
  • Pettry had been involved with the (former) West Virginia branch of ATRA:
    • 2005 and 2006, student representative
    • 2007 and 2008, ATRA representative from West Virginia

Presenting at ATRA:

  • 2014 ATRA mid-year conference: Presented: Evidenced based outcomes for self-expression (Rockville, Maryland)
  • 2016 ATRA annual conference: Presented: Rec Therapy for children (ages 7 to 12) with abuse-reactive needs (Chicago, 2016).

ATRA Publications:

  • 2018 (January) It’s time to double the professional ATRA membership
  • 2013 (January) 14 tips for helping children with challenging behavior

Previous ATRA Awards:

  • 2004 Peg Connolly Scholarship Winner
  • 2005 Advocacy Award for efforts with Medicare Project as a coordinator for state of West Virginia

Advocating Recreational Therapy:

  • Provided seminars for physicians, psychiatrists, administrators, and the general public about recreational therapy

Assisting students:

  • Presenting at the Great Lakes Recreational Therapy Student conference
  • Paying ATRA memberships for students

Creating resources:

  • Developed children’s books and games that are geared for prompting therapeutic outcomes.


Words of encouragement for you

Please be determined and persistent in pursuing your dreams and passions.

It is your turn now Go for it.

Let me know how I can help you.

Your friend and partner in Rec Therapy, Danny Pettry

Here is my personal email — Danny@DannyPettry.com