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International Story TR Certificate Program Explores a New Adventure

Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS, Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Program Coordinator, poses with the flag of New Zealand.
Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS, Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Program Coordinator, poses with the flag of New Zealand.

The Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Certificate Program, coordinated by Clinical Assistant Professor Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS, is in its third year of being entirely online. The program is drawing students from across the nation from New York to California, and is slowly gaining interest internationally.

Thomas recently traveled to Invercargill, New Zealand to share her knowledge of therapeutic recreation and seek out new students. She was invited by a group of Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) TR program graduates to provide a two-day continuing education workshop.

At present there is a lack TR-specific continuing education opportunities in New Zealand since the closure of several programs. Thomas was asked to fill the gap with this workshop.

The workshop was hosted by the Disabilities Resource Center (DRC) Southland. Over two days, Thomas spoke on trends and issues in TR and healthcare and emerging interventions used in therapeutic recreation.

One session focused on the use of virtual worlds in the treatment of individuals with disabilities. The participants explored the use of Second Life® and Wii in the treatment of poly trauma veterans, the elderly and individuals with traumatic brain injury.

One unanticipated outcome of the workshop was a grant award to the Center to pilot the use of Wii with individuals served by the agency in the Invercargill area.

Invercargill is located in the south island of New Zealand, an outdoor adventurer’s dream. The area is known for the miles of beautiful parks and trails for tramping (hiking). The extraordinary scenic beauty is showcased in the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy which was filmed there.

In the future, it is hoped that’s some of the SIT TR program graduates and other TR professionals across New Zealand will consider UWM Online courses when seeking continuing education opportunities.

Related articles:

International E-Learning Therapeutic Recreation