Therapeutic recreation practitioners, students and educators from five states and six universities converged for a workshop recently co-hosted by the therapeutic recreation programs of The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Human Performance and Recreation and The University of South Alabama. More than 170 attended the event titled, “The Gulf Coast Coming Together for Therapeutic Recreation,” held at the C.E. Roy Community Center in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Nationally recognized speakers came from as far as Salt Lake City and as near Meridian, Miss. Presenters included past presidents of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS) and chair-elect of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Topics covered evidence based practice, advocacy for the profession and obtaining state licensure.
“Conferences like this are an excellent chance to learn about current issues affecting the profession,” said senior Hannah Culpepper, president of the Recreation Club. “It was also a valuable networking opportunity for students seeking internship and employment. Having the opportunity to speak with and learn from professionals was a great experience.”
A majority of attending practitioners were alumni from the School of Human Performance and Recreation and The University of South Alabama. “Our alumni are employed in health care facilities and community agencies that treat and provide services for clients in physical rehabilitation, behavioral health, addictions, long-term care, intellectual disabilities and other illnesses, disabilities and conditions,” said Dr. Mary Ann Aquadro, therapeutic recreation instructor at Southern Miss and an organizer of the event.
“It has always been our intent to be recognized for excellence, and to be considered a leader in therapeutic recreation in the southeast. The quality of this workshop and the interest from professionals and students from across the region indicates we are moving forward on these goals,” said recreation professor Dr. Rick Green. “Our students stepped forward and made a great impression on professionals from across the region.”
For more information about the College of Health’s School of Human Performance and Recreation, visit www.usm.edu/hpr