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Returned from Speaking at 2016 PNATRA Conference in Portland

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 20, 2015 05:05 PM, last modified Feb 05, 2023 12:22 PM
Late last night I returned home from speaking at the 2016 Pacific Northwest American Therapeutic Recreation Association conference...

Many thanks to Rachel Gorman, president of the Pacific Northwest American Therapeutic Recreation Association (PNWATRA), for having me present at their 2016 conference on "The Therapeutic and Educational Uses of Role-Playing Games (RPG) as Intervention Modalities for Individuals and Groups from the Therapeutic Recreation Perspective." I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Here is a link to the presentation file I used at the conference: PNWATRA-2016-RPG-Research-Presentation-1-20160128zzd-less-text-more-notes.pdf

Here is where I will link to the full audio/video version of the presentation (coming soon): ........

It was wonderful chatting with many TR folks I have not previously met. The keynote speaker, John Dattillo, Ph.D. (Penn State Professor), was extremely warms, supportive, and encouraging. He kindly autographed and gave me a complimentary copy of one of his books, "Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation, Second Edition". He kindly autographed it with the comment: "Dear Hawke, Keep up your enthusiasm & positivity. Nice to get to know you. All the best, John." :-) Furthermore, John also very generously suggested the possibility, for the third edition of the book, of my writing a chapter covering RPGs as TR facilitation technique, following the template of the other interventions from the second edition text! I will definitely keep people posted if that happens.

Many thanks to the PNWATRA members that signed the Thank you card! Thank you Jason, Jonathan, Shayle, Shelly, Anoly!

The conference schedule was as follows (

2016 Annual Conference: "Bridging the Gap – Taking Recreation Therapy from the Clinic to the Community" (.65 CEUs)
Friday, January 29, 2016, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital, 1015 NW 22nd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
8:00 – 8:30                Welcome & Chapter Update by Rachel Gorman, CTRS, PNWATRA President
8:30 – 9:30                KEY NOTE: A Leisure Education Service Delivery Model that Creates a Bridge between Community and Clinical TR Context by John Dattilo, Ph.D
9:45 – 11:15              ATRA  - Moving Forward towards the Future By Dawn De Vries, DHA, MPA, CTRS (Live WebEx presentation)
12:40 – 2:10              Use Sensitive Terminology When Delivering Therapeutic Recreation Services Across Clinical and Community Contexts By John Dattilo, Ph.D
2:20– 3:50                 Using Role-playing Games (RPG) as an Invention Modality By W.A. Hawkes- Robinson
4:00 – 5:00                Healthy Aging through Leisure Engagement Across Community and Clinical TR Contexts By John Dattilo, Ph.D

There were some technology struggles with the conference, I am glad I was able to help resolve some of those challenges.

Among typical administrative announcements, Rachel Gorman announced she is now a board member of the national ATRA. Congratulations Rachel!

ATRA President Dawn De Vries presented remotely via Cisco WebEx. Unfortunately the hospital's bandwidth was choking, so mid-way through her important presentation on the future plans of ATRA, her connection completely dropped. That was most unfortunate.

One topic discussed at length during Q&A sessions, was that most TR degree majors were "Discovery Majors", meaning that students only stumbled across TR degree by accident after already enrolled. When Dawn asked for a show of hands regarding how many people went to college for a TR degree in mind, I didn't see anyone else but myself raise a hand! This is a serious problem with marketing only to themselves, "preaching to the choir", rather than an effective and concerted campaign to market the general public effectively.

Rachel Gorman stated they are planning in the month of February, as "Recreation Therapy month", they have some videos and social networking campaigns prepared to hopefully help change this. I have also suggested a monthly, or at least annual, public Google+ Hangout / Youtube live interactive broadcast to make the general public more aware about what is RT/TR, as I do for my various conventions and societies. Hopefully they will take me up on my offer to help provide the technology to do this.

John's presentations were very good. He very effectively and succinctly summed up many concepts in Leisure Education and Therapeutic Recreation. I spoke with many other conference attendees remarking how beautifully he illustrated some fairly complex topics. The presentations were based on another one of his books (I am trying to get up to date information on that to post here soon).

My presentation still needs work. While I clearly have a strong body of research and information, my presentation duration and timing is still off. I only made it to the end of the TBI section of the presentation (2/3rds of what I intended) when I ran out of time. Unfortunately I was right in the middle of fighting food poisoning at the time of the conference & my presentation, so that probably contributed to my poor performance and threw off my timing. Since I don't have a recording, I can't more effectively critique the presentation. I am working to further improve the presentation. PNWATRA hasn't recorded their events previously. I asked if I could provide the recording technology, at least for my session, unfortunately they were not able to have their board decide to give permission to video record the presentation to share with others. However I am creating a video version of the full presentation, and will make it available once it is available (probably a week or so from now, stay tuned). I am going to try chopping the number of slides in half for the upcoming 17th annual Washington State Therapeutic Recreation Association (WSTRA) conference.

 I don't have official numbers, but it looked like there were around 47 attendees. As I have commented in earlier posts regarding the demographic changes I have been seeing since starting to study RT/TR in 2004, the TR conferences seem to be the inverse in gender participation from my experiences of the overly-male-dominated tech conferences of the 90s.  I counted only about 6 male attendees, all the the rest appeared to be female. Back in 2004, the TR classes at EWU were about 50/50 female/male, but by 2013, there were only about 2 male classmates in TR. At first I attributed that to the change in TR program leadership at EWU from John Cogley to Emily Messina, but now having attended the conference, I do not know if that holds outside of EWU. I don't know if ATRA or NCTRC has made such demographic information publicly available regarding their memberships?

I remember seeing something, I believe from NCTRC last year, that indicated about 90% female CTRS members. However all of the demographic reports on the NCTRC website are now missing. :-(

  • (missing)
  • (missing)
  • (missing)
  • (missing)
  • (paywall)
  • UPDATE: Finally found (only) the 2014 NCTRC Job Analysis here:

It indicates that survey respondents were 88.6% female and 11.4% male. Unfortunately without access to the earlier reports, I can't see if there is any useful trending information. Just some interesting observations of note. Yet another point regarding marketing issues in the TR profession.

It was a very enjoyable, information-filled, event. As a speaker, I was provided with a membership to PNWATRA, so now I am a (TR-related) member of:

  • American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA - national association, student member).
  • Washington State Therapeutic Recreation Association (WSTRA - state association, student member).
  • Pacific Northwest American Therapeutic Recreation Assoication (PNWATRA , regional association (OR, WA, ID, full member). f

Best wishes to everyone in their Recreation Therapy / Therapeutic Recreation endeavours!