The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), [which, I’m a good-standing member] motioned to change the name to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA) at the membership meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Oct. 2009).
There will be an electronic vote around December 4th, 2009. First, you must be a member of our association in order to vote. If you’re not a member then, I, Danny Pettry invite you to join the leading association representing us, recreational therapists.
Here's A Quick Way To Earn More Recognition And Start Being Identified With Our Allied Professionals:
Change Our Association to ARTA!
Please note that the terms “Therapeutic Recreation” and “Recreational Therapy” mean the same thing. There is no difference in services. The words are used interchangeably. The change will not eliminate services or leave anyone excluded.
Reason # 1:ARTA Supports the mission of the association. The associations’ mission is to: serve as a member-driven association that collectively supports the recreational therapy profession. The vision is to be the premiere professional membership association representing recreational therapists, consumers and stakeholders. It helps identify as, “Recreational Therapists.”
Reason # 2: ARTA is Easier to explain. Recreational therapist/ therapy is easier to remember compared to therapeutic recreation specialists, (based on my personal experiences). , I explain how, recreational therapy, is different from, recreational activities.
Reason # 3: ARTA is uses terminology that is Recognized by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Department of Labor idenfies us, as “Recreational Therapists” in the main title in their 2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook. They say the term: “therapeutic recreation specialist” is used interchangeably with the term, “recreational therapist.” I’m certain they consulted with professionals to develop the job description.
Reason # 4: ARTA is Similar to our allied professionals.
We’re already aware that there are therapeutic uses for art, message, dance, and horticulture, etc. However, their associations do not use the terminology:Therapeutic Dance AssociationTherapeutic Art AssociationTherapeutic Horticulture AssociationThere is an interesting book titled,“Therapeutic Modalities for Physical Therapists.”It is written by: William E. Prentice, PhD, PT, ATC.How productive would it be if the Physical Therapists were to call their association, The Therapeutic Physical Modalities Association?As a recreational therapist, I personally feel that using the term Therapeutic Recreation is counterproductive. I think it is hindering us as a profession opposed to helping us achieve our mission and vision.
Reason # 5: ARTA would be in alignment with Public Policy for our profession. The last major public policy project for the association was the Recreational Therapy: Medicare Project. The association met this goal. There is a group of people on the “Recreational Therapy – Public Policy Team (formerly known as the Recreational Therapy Medicare Project Tea)
Reason # 6: ARTA is who we are. In general, we’re known as “recreational therapists.” People who I work with identify me as the “rec therapist.” I think the name change would help identify, us, as a professional organization for recreational therapists. I was recently in contact with an individual who had won a community – therapeutic recreation specialist award. I emailed her and asked if she referred to herself as a recreational therapist or a therapeutic recreation specialist. She told me that she still referred to herself as a “Rec therapist.” The majority of us do.
Reason # 7: ARTA is more in aligned with real purpose of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
- NCTRC’s (2009) vision is: To be publically recognized as the largest international body of certified therapeutic recreation specialists to provide recreation therapy services.
- NCTRC’s (2004) scope of practice is for “recreation therapy.”NCTRC (2007) identifies their position on legal regulation for the practice of “Recreation Therapy.”NCTRC’s (2004) brochure, “Why hire a CTRS?” says “Recreation therapy” along the side and the first question inside of the brochure is, “What is Recreation therapy?” It goes on to explain the need for Certified Recreational Therapists.
Reason # 7.5: Note that ARTA is also supported by Leaders in our profession. I’m aware of several people who’ve publically identified that they support the change. These people include:
- David Austin: founding member and past president of the association and he’s written numerous articles and texts for the profession.
- Peg Connolly: founding member and first president of the association
- Ray West: past-president of the association and he helped to develop the standards of practice for our profession
- Thom Skalko: past-president and he is the leader in public policy.
- Frank Brasile: past-president of the association
Regardless, if the association changes the name or not, I, [Danny Pettry] will continue to be an active member because it is the leading association representing, us, recreational therapists.