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Your FREE April 2024 Issue of Rec Therapy Today

Your Source for Inspiration and Innovation!


Dear Innovative Rec Therapist –

Welcome to our April Rec Therapy Today newsletter!

This month, we celebrate the incredible work of our dedicated recreational therapists who bring joy, empowerment, and healing to those they serve. Through their passion and creativity, our rec therapists touch the lives of individuals in profound ways, helping them discover their strengths and find the resilience to overcome challenges.

Join us as we shine a light on the invaluable impact of our rec therapists and the transformative power of recreation therapy.


Enjoy your April Issue.


Your friend and partner in Rec Therapy,

Danny W. Pettry II, M.Ed., M.S., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS

P.S. Giveaway is at the bottom of this newsletter so you’ll have to scroll to bottom and view all parts of the newsletter. 

Inspiration for the Month

Humor of the Month

Infographics for the Month

Featured Article for the Month

Celebrating Recreational Therapists: Unsung Heroes of Healthcare


In the realm of healthcare, one group of professionals often overlooked but truly essential are recreational therapists. These dedicated individuals utilize recreational activities to enhance the well-being of their patients, be it through sports, music, art, dance, or outdoor adventures. Their work impacts the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of individuals, helping them build confidence, develop social skills, and find joy in life.


What sets recreational therapists apart is their ability to empower individuals and foster independence through tailored activities. They not only focus on immediate therapeutic benefits but also equip their clients with skills for a fulfilling life beyond therapy. Despite the challenges they face in high-stress environments, these therapists bring compassion, creativity, and empathy to their work, connecting with individuals on a personal level and motivating them to surpass limitations.


As we acknowledge the invaluable contributions of recreational therapists, let us express our deepest gratitude for their dedication and impact on countless lives. They are the unsung heroes of healthcare, bringing hope and inspiration to those in need. Let’s celebrate and honor these remarkable professionals for their unwavering commitment to making a positive difference in the world.

Spring Activity Ideas

1. Picnic in the Park: Enjoy the blooming flowers and gentle breeze by having a picnic outdoors with friends or family.

2. Cherry Blossom Viewing: Visit a nearby botanical garden or park to witness the stunning beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom.

3. Hiking and Nature Walks: Explore nature’s wonders by going on a hike or a leisurely nature walk to enjoy the rejuvenating spring scenery.

4. Outdoor Yoga or Exercise: Take advantage of the pleasant weather by practicing yoga or exercising outdoors to invigorate both body and mind.

5. Gardening: Embrace the season by starting a garden or tending to existing plants, connecting with nature and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

6. Farmers’ Market Trips: Support local farmers and enjoy fresh produce by visiting farmers’ markets to indulge in seasonal delights.

7. Spring Cleaning: Declutter and freshen up your living space by engaging in a thorough spring cleaning session to welcome the new season.

8. Cycling Adventures: Explore your surroundings on a bicycle, taking in the sights and sounds of spring while staying active.

9. Outdoor Dining: Dine al fresco at a local cafe or set up a cozy outdoor dinner at home to savor the flavors of the season.

10. DIY Projects: Get creative with spring-themed DIY projects like flower arrangements, wreath-making, or creating bird feeders to add a touch of spring to your home.

Spotlight the Month

I Heart Rec is a visionary venture founded by a dynamic duo of Recreation Therapy professionals who met at Texas State University’s grad school. Designed as a hub for Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), recreation professionals, students, and enthusiasts alike, this platform offers a meticulously curated selection of professional attire aimed at elevating style and bolstering presence in the field of recreation. With a mission to enhance awareness and foster connections within the recreation community, I Heart Rec embodies a commitment to advancing the field of Recreation Therapy through networking, resource-sharing, job opportunities, and unique apparel offerings. Spearheaded by its creators, I Heart Rec stands at the forefront of revolutionizing how professionals engage with and contribute to the world of recreation. Explore the world of Recreation Therapy with I Heart Rec at www.iheartrec.com and join their vibrant community on Instagram @i.heart.rec for industry insights, memes, and more.

Acknowledging the visionary behind the site, Hugo Villegas.

Online: www.iheartrec.com


Book of the Month

Embracing Life’s Changing Roles: Supporting Loved Ones with Dementia

Life is full of unexpected twists that can alter our roles and responsibilities in an instant. From the joy of becoming a new parent to the challenges of caring for a loved one with a neurocognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s disease, each new role brings its own set of priorities and commitments. When someone close to you receives a dementia diagnosis, you may find yourself thrust into the role of a caregiver, a task that can feel daunting and overwhelming.

Research has shown that many informal caregivers, such as family members and friends, often don’t see themselves as caregivers but rather as individuals fulfilling a natural part of their relationship with their loved one. The roles we assume in life define our actions, but our identity goes far beyond what we do.

The LOVE Approach is a compassionate guide for family members and friends who are supporting someone with dementia at home. It offers insights into how dementia impacts both the individual living with the condition and those providing care. By cultivating self-awareness, building self-efficacy, recognizing personal strengths, and fostering belief in oneself, caregivers can gain the confidence needed to make informed decisions and deliver the best possible care for their loved ones.

Understanding that behaviors associated with dementia, such as wandering or repetitive storytelling, are often expressions of unmet needs like boredom or loneliness, rather than challenging behaviors, can help reduce conflicts. By learning to listen, observe, validate, and engage with compassion, caregivers can nurture meaningful connections and create opportunities for shared moments of joy with their loved ones.

Game of the Month

“April 2024 Game of the Month: Fitness Deck”

Get ready to elevate your fitness routine with our April 2024 Game of the Month – the Fitness Deck! Here’s a look at the features and details that make this deck a must-have for your recreational therapy sessions:

Full Set: With 50 different exercise cards at your fingertips, the Fitness Deck offers a comprehensive range of activities to mix and match for a tailored workout experience. Whether you’re crafting custom routines or circuits, this complete set has you covered.

Easy to Follow: Say goodbye to complicated workout instructions! Each exercise card in the Fitness Deck features clear illustrations and easy-to-follow directions, making it simple for users to engage in a hassle-free home workout session.

Sturdy Design: Unlike traditional paper cards, our fitness cards are crafted from a durable, moisture-resistant plastic material that stands the test of time. Enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your cards won’t tear or crease, even with repeated use.

Large Size: Measuring at a convenient 3.5″ x 5″, these jumbo workout routine cards prioritize visibility without sacrificing portability. Whether you’re working out at home or on the go, these cards are designed to be easily accessible yet compact enough to slip into your gym bag or luggage.

All Levels Welcome: From beginners to fitness enthusiasts, the Fitness Deck caters to individuals of all levels. Take your workout journey a step further by creating personalized routines with the blank card and a dry erase marker, ensuring a customizable experience for every user.

Elevate your fitness game with the April 2024 Game of the Month: the Fitness Deck. Get ready to embrace a versatile, user-friendly, and durable workout companion that is tailored to meet the needs of every individual, regardless of their fitness level.

Rec Therapist of the Month:

Nicole Studebaker CTRS CDP

1. What is your name?

Nicole Studebaker CTRS CDP


2. What is your degree and college?

BS in Recreaction Parks and Leisure with a minor in communication disorders 


3. Are you a CTRS? If so, for how long?

I have been a ctrs since 2014


4. Are you an ATRA member?



5. What awards have you earned?

I helped create the ElderScouts program for activity connection and was highlighted on my college’s website 


6. Why did you become a rec therapist?

I went through a time in my life where a medical problem led to a stark change in my leisure life. I wanted to help others enjoy life regardless of life’s challenges. 


7. What type of setting do you currently work in?

I currently work in short term rehab and long term care. 


8. What population do you provide services for?

Primarily the elderly 


9. What types of recreation therapy interventions do you provide?

Art, pet therapy, a variety of exercise, memory and reminiscent, music, sensory, baking/cooking, educational, spiritual, intergenerational


10. What do you love about your work?

I spend every day with thr people I care about thr most. I get to make a positive impact daily. Every day is a new adventure


11. What would you recommend a new rec therapist to do?

I recommend taking the time to find your niche. You might end up loving an area of the field that you didn’t expect.


12. Where do you see the future of rec therapy?

I see rec therapy being taken seriously as a therapy by insurance and the public. We have already come so far, let’s not stop now!


13. Who is a recreation therapist you admire and why?

Katie Bridges. She was my internship supervisory and is now my current corporate director. She has always maintained a positive demeanor while having one of the best programs I have ever seen. She is also an incredibly strong advocate. 


14. What other information would you like to share?

Having an inerdepartmental approach is just as important as having a strong team in your own department. 


15. What do you enjoy about Rec Therapy Today?

I enjoy the wide variety of topics covered in the continuing education and the ease of use. 


Video of the Month

American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) Section

Danny Pettry/ Rec Therapy Today — Disclaimers regarding ATRA

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

Rec Therapy Today® Can Help You Earn All of Your Rec Therapy CEUs from the Comfort and Convenience of Your Own Home or Office™

Danny Pettry’s Section

The Pettry family recently marked a significant milestone as they celebrated their parents’ 49th wedding anniversary, a moment made even more poignant as Dad emerges from a challenging 13-day hospitalization. Among the achievements worth celebrating is Dad’s decision to quit smoking, a habit he had adopted at just 12 years old. The family rejoices in his resilience and determination to prioritize his health, embodying the strength and unity that have defined their journey together.

Ask Danny Pettry any question about recreational therapy, continuing education, mental health, or success Principles. Danny will post answers at his Rec Therapy Today blog. Your name will be kept confidential 

Recent Blog Posts

Fun Pages for all Ages

March 2024 Winners

Nine (9) people won a $10 amazon gift card from Rec Therapy Today for the month of March 2024.

 Their gift cards are being sent by snail mail. 

Four (4) people won from our March 2024 giveaway:

  • Gale K., Arlington, Texas
  • Jennifer R., Sylvania, Ohio
  • Kara C., Richmond, Virginia
  • Gretchen S., Highland, New York

 Five (5) people won from our Winter 2024 Teleconference

  • Caitlin C., Parrish, Florida
  • Brea L., Aurora, Colorado
  • Alyssa V., Medrod, Oregon
  • Holly S., Sacramento, California
  • Christina D., Roosevelt, New York

Giveaway for the Month

Enter to win one of three $10 Amazon gift cards or one of ten Rec Therapy Today  T-shirts. No purchase necessary. Making a purchase does not increase your chances of winning. Winners will be selected using a random number generator. Deadline to enter is before midnight on APRIL 15th. Good luck!

The Danny P. CEU Guarantee


Your friend and partner in Rec Therapy,

Danny W. Pettry II, M.Ed., M.S., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS

P.S. Rec Therapy Today® Can Help You Earn All of Your Rec Therapy CEUs from the Comfort and Convenience of Your Own Home of Office

Join  Danny Pettry and Rec Therapy Today on social media

P.S.S. Rec Therapy Today® Can Help You Earn All of Your Rec Therapy CEUs from the Comfort and Convenience of Your Own Home of Office