Everyone knows that February is associated with love thanks to Valentine’s Day. Did you know that it is also associated with recreational therapy? Yes, February is International Recreational Therapy Month! But what is recreational therapy? It is a therapy that engages an individual or a group of individuals in fun activities to enhance their independence, function, and well-being. We’ve highlighted the benefits of recreational therapy and the types of recreational therapy activities in our Spotlight Blog.
Who are recreational therapists (RTs) and what do they do? According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the US Department of Labor, RTs “plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illness.” They utilize a “variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.” Employment in recreational therapy is expected to grow 12% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average of all occupations. This is due to an aging baby-boom generation who will need recreational therapists to help them maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
The theme for this year’s International Recreational Therapy Month is “Empowering Recreational Therapists to Empower Those They Serve.” The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is holding a YouTube video contest in relation to this year’s theme. They also provide a printable calendar of activities to empower RTs during the month of February. If you use social media, don’t forget to use #RTmonth to share what you are doing to empower RTs and to see what others are doing! Take a look at what we found in Pinterest for International Recreational Therapy Month.