- Created on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 14:31
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By CARLIE CHERNENKO
Therapeutic recreation recognizes that play, leisure and recreation are essential components in life.
The Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) provides services to “individuals who have physical, mental, social or emotional limitations which impact their ability to engage in meaningful leisure experiences.”
The month of February is Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Month and this year Niagara College is joining the cause.
Started on Feb. 10 and ending today, the college has held events in the spirit of spreading awareness, in Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Week.
As part of it, a logistics team was chosen from the program. Alana Guzzo, Kelly Schweyer, Shannon Wassenaar, and Charissa Nordeman make up the team. They are all second-year Recreation Therapy students.
“We were chosen to be the logistics team because our teacher wanted a group of individuals who have worked together before on projects and have the same learning styles,” says Schweyer. “We were students she thought were motivated, had good time management skills and [were] organized.”
Guzzo says, “Our group is made up of friends who have good communication skills with one another.”
On Monday, two groups of Recreation Therapy students set up booths near the security office at the Welland campus. Both had information boards for students and faculty to stop by and read, as well as activities for people.
The first group consisted of Jessie Joseph, Kristyn Gillespie, Emily McCormack, Raechel Thomson and Kailyn Jones. The women had set up a booth with information explaining therapeutic recreation. They also had a game for people to play with small treats to be won, as well as free mini cupcakes for those who stopped.
According to Thomson, her group’s game was a spinning wheel game.
“A student would spin the wheel and get a number. We would lift the number up and whatever the picture was we would relate it to rec therapy and ask a question. If the person got the question right or needed help we would explain exactly what therapeutic recreationists do.”
The second group of the day consisted of Kirten Osterlund, Dorothy Szczepanski, Liane Judge, Victoria Whittle and Emily-Anne Monk. Their booth featured information about dealing with blindness and visual impairment as well as a game for people to try.
If they wanted, students could put on visual impairment glasses, which demonstrated various kinds of visual impairment. Then, wearing the glasses, they would throw a ball back and forth, trying to catch it while not being able to see properly.
Thomson, a member of the first group, says that before she began the program she would have no idea what to say when people asked about therapeutic recreation.
“Now, as a second-year Therapeutic Recreation student, I’m blown away at all this program has to offer other individuals. You will never find a more loving and caring program; our teachers are amazing as are the students.”
Joseph, another member of the first group, says she feels raising awareness is important.
“Basically, I would say we do this to raise awareness because there are a lot of people who don’t know anything about recreation therapy and we feel as though it is really important.”