Sunday, October 13, 2013

Theraputic Recreation Workshop

My classmates and I went to our first conference last Wednesday.

The annual local Therapeutic Recreation Professional Development Workshop was hosted in a town about an hour outside the city. As students we were allowed to register for a very low price. It was just for the day and registering for the conference also entitled us to a student membership in the in the association so it seemed like a great deal to me.

They had arranged for an optional bus to the conference site, and the bus was departing only a mile from my house so it seemed like the most natural choice. I was worried about my ongoing issues with dizziness and car sickness. It turned out that the bus trip was fine and I got to talk to some really nice people during the ride.  Unlike riding a city bus, which is constantly starting stopping and turning, this bus ride was really just one straight road with maybe three turns in the whole hour.  I could watch the road out of the front window so that was also helpful with the nausea problems. I really couldn't tolerate turning sideways or looking backward at the other participants but I still managed to have some great conversations.We arrived at the center for the workshop and lined up for the check in. We received a bag with the organizations logo and then we gathered with about 100 other people involved in the profession.  

The event started out with an inspiring key-note speaker who was an Olympian with our country's Volleyball team. She told about her struggles as a shorter person to have opportunities to play the game she loved.

Next we went to one of three break-out sessions. The one I choose was led by a life coach and was on the topic of finding your "authentic self". The idea is that people intrinsically have different styles or interests and that these continue into old age. Someone who was creative as a child is likely to prefer creative activities as an older person and someone who is competitive will still be inclined to be competitive in their older years, If you know the persons inclinations you are more likely to help them engage in the kind of leisure or rehabilitative activities that they would enjoy the most. It was really very interesting and I can picture applying some of what I learned to my Guiding efforts too.
 I took this during the hands-on section of the
 PhotoVoice session. I wonder what it might tell
 us about the workshop?
Following lunch we had another set of sessions. This time I went to a truly fascinating talk/ hands on session about something called PhotoVoice. It is a method of gaining qualitative information by encouraging a group to go out with a camera and take pictures to communicate information about a topic. One example would be to look at risk factors in a neighbourhood by giving kids a camera and asking them to take pictures about what makes them feel safe in their neighbourhood and what makes them uncomfortable. The pictures would then be discussed looking to see what the kids were relating to in their pictures. It is a powerful tool because it gives a voice to people who might not be able to share information freely and the picture gives concrete evidence that can be shown to people who have the authority to make changes. I encourage you to check out the PhotoVoice website to find out more.

 We went back to the main auditorium for something they called a Bring and Brag. Several individuals or groups got up to the microphone and showcased activity programs they had found to be particularly effective.

Bus ride back to the city, quick dinner and then by seven pm I fell asleep on top of my bed still in my clothes and stayed that way for the whole night.

I liked going to the workshop, I enjoyed meeting a variety of people who are working in this field and now I feel one step closer to imagining myself working as a Therapeutic Recreation Facilitator.

1 comment:

Humpty Dumpty said...

Looks like a wonderful conference. I like the idea of the 'Photo Voice', kind of like having kids tell stories with puppets. A 'prop' like this would be a wonderful tool to initiate conversations with reluctant speakers. Glad you enjoyed it and learned some useful things. :)

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