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

Your FREE March 2024 Issue of Rec Therapy Today

Your Source for Inspiration and Innovation!


Dear Innovative Rec Therapist –


As we usher in the vibrant month of March, I am thrilled to present to you our latest issue of Rec Therapy Today.

This month, we are celebrating the power of human connection and the profound impact it has on our well-being. 

I’ve spent the majority of the last week of February visiting my father who has been in the hospital for the last 10 days. I’ve written 95% of this issue from hospital while my father was asleep. 

Enjoy your March 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. 

My apologies for the Winter 2024 Teleconference

I apologize for missing the winter teleconference due to a family emergency. I hired someone to run the sessions, but I forgot to give them the complete access code. I take full responsibility for this oversight. Thank you for your patience, and I’m committed to making sure the next conference is a success. Winter Teleconference is being rescheduled for 2nd Saturday in March. Sincerely, Danny.

Inspiration for the Month

Humor of the Month

Infographics for the Month

Featured Article for the Month

The Power of Social Connections: How Recreation Therapists Foster Community

In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of social connections cannot be overstated. Whether it’s through friendships, family ties, or community bonds, these connections play a vital role in our overall well-being. As recreation therapists, we have the unique opportunity to facilitate and enhance these social connections for the individuals we work with.

Social connections have a profound impact on mental, emotional, and physical health. Studies have shown that strong social ties can improve longevity, reduce the risk of mental health issues, and provide a sense of belonging and purpose. For many individuals, especially those facing physical or cognitive challenges, fostering meaningful social connections can be transformative.

Recreation therapists are well-positioned to create inclusive environments where individuals can build and maintain social connections. Through organized group activities, collaborative projects, and team-building exercises, we create opportunities for individuals to interact, communicate, and form relationships. By introducing activities that encourage cooperation and mutual support, we help individuals develop trust and rapport with their peers.

In addition to structured activities, recreation therapists can also facilitate informal social interactions. By creating spaces for individuals to engage in casual conversations, share experiences, and simply enjoy each other’s company, we promote a sense of community and friendship. Building and nurturing these social connections can significantly enhance the overall quality of life for the individuals in our care.

Moreover, recreation therapists can tailor activities to suit the diverse needs and preferences of the participants. By recognizing individual strengths and interests, we can create a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and understood. This personalized approach encourages active participation and strengthens social bonds among individuals with varying abilities and backgrounds.

Furthermore, technology offers exciting possibilities for expanding social connections. Recreation therapists can leverage social media, virtual platforms, and other digital tools to connect individuals with shared interests and experiences. By embracing these innovative avenues, we can help bridge geographical barriers and create meaningful connections on a broader scale.

As recreation therapists, we have the privilege of witnessing the profound impact of social connections on the lives of those we serve. By fostering a sense of community, understanding, and acceptance, we contribute to the holistic well-being of individuals. The bonds formed through social connections can be a source of joy, comfort, and resilience, enriching the lives of everyone involved.

In conclusion, the power of social connections is undeniable, and as recreation therapists, we have the opportunity to enhance and support these vital relationships. Through our dedication and creativity, we can create inclusive spaces where individuals can thrive socially and emotionally. By nurturing these connections, we not only improve the well-being of those we work with but also contribute to the greater fabric of community and belonging.

In our everyday work, let us continue to prioritize the facilitation of social connections, recognizing their profound impact and the transformation they bring to the lives of the individuals we serve.

Important Holidays this Month


March 1: St. David’s Day (Wales)

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day (Ireland)

March 20: Vernal Equinox (First Day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere)

March 21: Human Rights Day (South Africa)

March 25: Good Friday

March 27: Easter Sunday

20 Social Connection Activities 

1. Group Exercise Classes: Participating in group exercise classes such as yoga, dance, or team sports can create a sense of camaraderie and encourage social interaction.

2. Board Game Nights: Hosting a board game night with friends or family can be a fun way to engage in friendly competition and foster social bonds.

3. Volunteer Work: Engaging in volunteer activities with a group of people can provide a sense of purpose and create opportunities for meaningful social connections.

4. Book Clubs: Joining a book club provides a platform for discussing literature with others, leading to engaging conversations and the opportunity to form new friendships.

5. Outdoor Adventures: Going on hikes, camping trips, or nature walks with others allows for shared experiences and the chance to connect in a natural environment.

6. Cooking Classes: Attending cooking classes or hosting cooking parties can create a collaborative and social atmosphere centered around food and creativity.

7. Cultural Events: Attending cultural events such as art exhibitions, live performances, or museum visits can spark conversations and connect people with shared interests.

8. Discussion Groups: Participating in discussion groups or debate clubs provides a space for people to express their thoughts and engage in stimulating conversations with others.

9. Potluck Dinners: Organizing potluck dinners with friends or neighbors encourages the sharing of food and stories in a warm and welcoming setting.

10. Group Travel: Planning and embarking on group travel adventures creates opportunities for shared experiences and deepens connections with fellow travelers.

11. DIY Workshops: Participating in do-it-yourself workshops or home improvement projects with others fosters collaboration and social interaction.

12. Team Building Activities: Engaging in team building exercises, such as escape rooms or problem-solving challenges, can strengthen relationships and build trust among participants.

13. Community Events: Participating in local community events, such as farmers’ markets, street festivals, or neighborhood clean-up projects, fosters a sense of belonging and connection with others in the community.

14. Movie Nights: Hosting movie nights with friends or neighbors provides an opportunity to relax, enjoy a film together, and engage in post-movie discussions.

15. Art and Craft Sessions: Joining art and craft classes or organizing creative sessions with friends allows for self-expression and social bonding through shared creativity.

16. Networking Events: Attending professional networking events or industry meet-ups creates opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals and expand social circles.

17. Music Jams: Engaging in music jam sessions or attending open mic nights fosters collaborative creativity and creates a sense of unity through shared musical expression.

18. Game Nights: Organizing game nights with a variety of games, from card games to trivia, provides a fun and interactive environment for socializing.

19. Support Groups: Participating in support groups for specific interests or challenges can create a supportive community and foster connections with others facing similar experiences.

20. Conversation Cafés: Joining conversation cafés or discussion forums focused on meaningful topics provides a platform for open dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

These activities offer diverse opportunities for people to engage in social interaction, build connections, and cultivate meaningful relationships in a variety of settings and contexts.

We Celebrated Recreation Therapy Month by Featuring a Daily Spotlight on Incredible Individaus and Organizations

As we celebrated Recreation Therapy Month in February, we shined  a spotlight on the organizations and individuals who are making a significant impact on the lives of people through recreational therapy. Last month we acknowledged the valuable contributions of these dedicated professionals and the meaningful programs they provide.

We have curated a list of outstanding organizations and individuals who are champions in the field of recreational therapy. These entities are committed to enhancing the well-being and quality of life for individuals through innovative and personalized recreational therapy initiatives.

Here is the complete list of people, organizations and web-sites that had a daily featured post at our blog. Some days we featured two posts per day.

1. **ATRA (American Therapeutic Recreation Association)**: ATRA is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of recreational therapists. By providing resources and opportunities for professional growth, ATRA supports the delivery of quality recreational therapy services.

2. **NCTRC (National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification)**: NCTRC sets the standard for certification in the field of recreational therapy. Their rigorous certification process ensures that individuals meet the highest standards of competence and ethical practice.

3. **Strive**: Strive is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and accessibility through recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to creating opportunities for all individuals to engage in meaningful recreational activities is truly commendable.

4. **Rec2connect**: Rec2connect is known for its innovative approach to recreational therapy, focusing on personalized and holistic support for individuals with diverse needs. Their dedication to individualized care sets them apart as a leader in the field.

5. **Brenda Hart**: Brenda Hart’s passion for recreational therapy shines through her impactful work. Her expertise and dedication to enhancing the lives of others through recreational therapy are truly inspiring.

6. **New Horizons**: New Horizons is committed to providing transformative recreational therapy programs that empower individuals to achieve their full potential. Their comprehensive approach to therapeutic recreation has a profound impact on the lives of those they serve.

7. **Rec and Roll**: Rec and Roll brings joy and empowerment through recreational therapy initiatives. Their dynamic programs and commitment to promoting social engagement make a meaningful difference in the lives of participants.

8. **Rec Out Loud**: Rec Out Loud advocates for the importance of recreational therapy through engaging and informative content. Their dedication to raising awareness about the benefits of recreational therapy is invaluable.

9. **Geri Olympics**: Geri Olympics celebrates the vitality and spirit of older adults through engaging recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to promoting active aging is truly uplifting.

10. **Sown in Grace**: Sown in Grace cultivates a nurturing environment through recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to fostering meaningful connections and holistic well-being is truly commendable.

11. **Jasmine’s Beat**: Jasmine’s Beat offers inspiring and impactful recreational therapy initiatives. Their dedication to using the power of music and movement to enrich lives is truly remarkable.

12. **Rec with Laura**: Rec with Laura’s engaging and compassionate approach to recreational therapy creates a supportive and empowering environment for participants. Laura’s commitment to uplifting individuals through recreation is truly inspiring.

13. **Pure Abilities**: Pure Abilities focuses on empowering individuals of all abilities through personalized recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to inclusivity and empowerment is truly commendable.

14. **Live_inspire_Rt**: Live_inspire_Rt creates a platform for sharing the transformative power of recreational therapy. Through their impactful content, they inspire and educate others about the profound benefits of therapeutic recreation.

15. **Tracey Fitzgerald**: Tracey Fitzgerald’s dedication to recreational therapy shines through her impactful work. Her expertise and commitment to enhancing the lives of others through recreation are truly commendable.

16. **Adventures Unbound**: Adventures Unbound creates opportunities for individuals to experience the joys of outdoor recreational therapy. Their dedication to promoting adventure and exploration is truly inspiring.

17. **Play it for Seniors**: Play it for Seniors focuses on bringing joy and engagement to the lives of older adults through recreational therapy initiatives. Their commitment to enriching the lives of seniors through play is truly uplifting.

18. **MyRecreationTherapist**: MyRecreationTherapist is committed to providing resources and support for recreational therapists and individuals seeking recreational therapy services. Their dedication to connecting individuals with valuable recreational therapy resources is truly valuable.

19. **RiseShineNJ Printables**: RiseShineNJ Printables creates engaging and therapeutic resources to support recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to enhancing the therapeutic experience through creative materials is truly commendable.

20. **Connect through Leisure**: Connect through Leisure fosters connections and meaningful experiences through recreational therapy. Their commitment to promoting social connection and well-being through leisure activities is truly inspiring.

21. **12 Steps to Sober Leisure**: 12 Steps to Sober Leisure provides valuable resources and support for individuals seeking sober leisure activities. Their dedication to supporting individuals in their journey to wellness is truly commendable.

22. **Jimmy’s Old Time Radio Show**: Jimmy’s Old Time Radio Show brings joy and nostalgia through recreational therapy initiatives. Their commitment to using the power of music and storytelling to uplift individuals is truly remarkable.

23. **Recreation Therapy’s Corner**: Recreation Therapy’s Corner is a valuable resource for information and insights into the world of recreational therapy. Their dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise in the field is truly commendable.

24. **Step Up to Social Connection**: Step Up to Social Connection promotes the importance of social engagement and connection through recreational therapy. Their dedication to fostering meaningful relationships is truly uplifting.

25. **Flourish Recreational Therapy**: Flourish Recreational Therapy creates opportunities for individuals to thrive and grow through engaging recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to promoting holistic well-being and growth is truly inspiring.

26. **Stephanie Lynn’s Activities**: Stephanie Lynn’s Activities offers creative and engaging recreational therapy initiatives. Her dedication to uplifting individuals through meaningful activities is truly commendable.

27. **Advanced Therapeutic Solutions**: Advanced Therapeutic Solutions provides comprehensive and impactful recreational therapy programs. Their commitment to promoting healing and empowerment through recreation is truly remarkable.

28. **The Art of Glass with Janea Polish**: The Art of Glass with Janea Polish harnesses the therapeutic benefits of art and creativity through recreational therapy. Their dedication to using artistic expression to enhance well-being is truly inspiring.

29. **The Recreational Therapy Chronicles**: The Recreational Therapy Chronicles offers valuable insights and stories that celebrate the transformative power of recreational therapy. Their dedication to highlighting the impact of therapeutic recreation is truly commendable.

30. **Indiana University – Rec Therapy Videos**: Indiana University’s Rec Therapy Videos provide valuable educational resources and insights into the world of recreational therapy. Their dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise in the field is truly valuable.

31. **Tori DeFazio’s RecreationalTherapyMemes**: Tori DeFazio’s RecreationalTherapyMemes adds a touch of humor and positivity to the world of recreational therapy. Her creative and lighthearted approach to promoting the field is truly uplifting.

During Recreation Therapy Month and beyond, let’s take the time to acknowledge and support these incredible organizations and individuals who are dedicated to enhancing the lives of others through recreational therapy. Their passion, innovation, and commitment to promoting well-being and empowerment truly make a difference in the world of therapeutic recreation.

Want to be featured as a spotlight at Rec Therapy Today? Email Danny@DannyPettry.com with your business name, url, and a summary of what you do. We’d be happy to feature you, your business or project in an upcoming blog post.

Book of the Month

Game of the Month

“Connecting Generations: A Review of 200 Conversation Starters for Grandparents Gaming Set” offers a unique way to bridge the generation gap and foster meaningful connections between kids and elders. More than just a collection of question cards, this thoughtful gift serves as a tool designed to bring families together and encourage genuine conversations, making it an ideal way to strengthen family bonds during holidays, reunions, or regular visits. The game is easy to play and can be enjoyed by both kids and elders, providing a delightful and meaningful activity for everyone involved while fostering empathy, understanding, and appreciation for the experiences and wisdom of grandparents.

I selected these cards with the goal to ask these questionsn to my father whe he is discharged from the hospital. 

Rec Therapist of the Month: Shelby Carradine

1. Can you start by telling us your name and a bit about your background and experience as a recreational therapist?

My name is Shelby Carradine and I have been a CTRS since 2010. I completed my in internship with Outdoors for All in Seattle, Washington. After that I got side tracked for a year and half after I experienced a very serious horse accident. Once I was healed, I moved to Anchorage, Alaska after accepting a Recreational Therapist position at a residential treatment facility for children and adolescents with psychiatric and behavior disorders. After two and a half years with the rtc I accepted a position as the Recreation Programs Director for a non-profit in Eagle River, Alaska. There I supervised their after school program, adult day programs, and summer camp for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Though I loved my position, after three and a half years I decided to move back to north Texas. Once back in the lone star state, I accepted a brand new position with the parks and recreation department for my home town of Carrollton. For going on six years now I have been developing our city’s adaptive and inclusive programs and initiatives.

2. What level of education have you attained to become a recreational therapist? Have you pursued any additional certifications or licenses to further your expertise in the field?

I have a bachelors of science degree from Texas State University and am a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.

3. Could you please share with us any professional memberships or affiliations you have in the field of recreational therapy?

I recently accepted a position with the Therapeutic Recreation Branch Board for the Texas Recreation and Park Society and will be sworn in soon.

4. What motivated or influenced you to become a recreational therapist? What personal or professional experiences led you to this rewarding career path?

Horses have been a big part of my life. When I was a very undeclared sophomore at Texas State I started volunteering at a therapeutic riding facility in my free time. After my first session volunteering with a sensational young client, I decided that I don’t know what this is, but it is what I want to do. I scheduled a meeting with my guidance counselor and declared my major within the week.

5. What aspects of being a recreational therapist do you find most enjoyable and fulfilling in your professional life?

Every part of it. Providing beneficial and meaningful opportunities to everyone in my communities. I also love the staff development and watching their growth professionally and personally.

6. Could you describe your current role and the setting or population for whom you provide recreational therapy services?

I am currently a Recreation Coordinator with the City of Carrollton. I oversee and develop all of our adaptive recreation programs for children, adults, and seniors. My position is also the inclusion specialist to ensure that all of our programs and special event are accessible. A year ago I also spearheaded the initiative to get all of our recreation facilities and libraries Kulture City Sensory Certified. This made us the first parks and recreation department in the state of Texas to accomplish this.

7. What specific interventions and tools do you utilize in your practice to facilitate the therapeutic benefits of recreation for your clients?

We offer sports, dance, arts, fitness, social and community opportunities for children, adults and seniors who experience a physical or cognitive disability.

8. Based on your experience, what advice would you offer to individuals who are considering a career in recreational therapy?

Experience a variety of setting that recreation therapist serve in. I never considered parks and recreation, and now I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

9. In your opinion, where do you see the future of recreational therapy heading, and what potential advancements or changes do you anticipate in the field?

I believe we are moving towards more states requiring recreational therapist to be licensed. This requirement will continue to push our profession to have a bigger seat at the table. Hopefully this leads to legislation being passed that includes TR in the three hour rule.

10. Lastly, could you share what you personally love most about practicing recreational therapy and the positive impact it has on the individuals you work with?

I love connecting with my community and fulfilling important needs that aren’t otherwise being met.

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 Comofrt and Convenience of Your Own Home or Office™

Danny Pettry’s Section

Hello rec therapist friend,

I hope you’re all doing well. I wanted to take a moment to share with you what’s been going on in my life recently. As some of you may know, my dad has been hospitalized for over a week now due to a serious kidney infection. It’s been a challenging time for our family, and I’ve been by his side as much as possible during this difficult period.

The situation has been quite overwhelming, as he had to undergo surgery to have a stent put in his kidney and has been dealing with a blood clot in his lung. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I’m grateful for the care and support he’s been receiving from the amazing medical team at the hospital.

Being at the hospital with my dad has made me realize the importance of being present for our loved ones, especially during tough times. As a self-professed workaholic, it’s been a wake-up call for me to reevaluate my priorities and find the balance between work and personal life. I haven’t taken a week off since 2012, and this experience has reminded me of the significance of taking a step back when needed.

I’ve been juggling work commitments while spending time at the hospital, and it’s been a challenging balancing act. However, it’s shown me the impact of having a supportive work environment that understands and accommodates personal circumstances. It’s crucial to have the flexibility to manage both professional responsibilities and personal challenges.

My hope is that my dad will be able to be discharged from the hospital in the first week of March, and I’m looking forward to him being back home and on the road to recovery. The love and encouragement from friends, family, and colleagues have been a source of strength during this time, and I’m immensely thankful for their support.

This experience has taught me the value of cherishing the moments we have with our loved ones and making time for what truly matters. It’s a reminder to appreciate our health, family, and the simple joys of life that we sometimes take for granted in the midst of our busy schedules.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to press pause, take a breath, and prioritize the well-being of those we care about. I encourage each of you to consider what’s truly important in your lives and to find the balance between work and personal time. Let’s remember to be there for each other, to offer support, and to cherish the moments we have with our loved ones.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who have reached out with kind words, thoughts, and prayers for my dad. Your support means more than words can express, and I am truly grateful for it.

As we navigate through the challenges life throws at us, may we find strength in the love and support of those around us. Wishing you all moments of joy, love, and togetherness.

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


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Fun Pages for all Ages

Giveaway for the Month

Enter to win one of three $10 Amazon gift cards! 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 March 17th. 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

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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