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2018-06-14

SLC Therapeutic Recreation students abroad a City of Kingston bus for a hands-on learning excursion

KINGSTON - The first graduating class of St. Lawrence College’s Therapeutic Recreation program will cross the stage at Convocation on Friday, June 15 to receive their Ontario College Graduate Certificate. The new one-year graduate certificate program, which began in September 2017, will see 18 students graduate at the end of its inaugural year.

The Therapeutic Recreation program is built on the core belief of the inherent benefits of play, recreation and leisure to all people. Students learn to adapt recreation activities so people of all abilities can participate and to use recreation as a therapeutic tool to improve and/or restore health and wellness and increase quality of life.

“Recreation Therapists make an incredible difference in people's lives, and it is a profession that is not as widely known in this area of the province,” said Shannon McCallum, Program Coordinator and professor in the Therapeutic Recreation program and a registered Recreation Therapist with Therapeutic Recreation Ontario.

Students benefit from a variety of hands-on learning experiences and partnerships with community organizations. For example, Shannon built a partnership with the City of Kingston, who provided the Therapeutic Recreation students with a city bus and driver at no charge for a day in March for a community integration and transit training class. The experiential learning opportunity allowed students to learn how they can support clients to learn the skills to utilize transit to safely get around in the community in order to reduce isolation and withdrawal from meaningful leisure activities, enhance social networks, and improve quality of life.

“Transportation is one of the biggest barriers that clients face when re-integrating into the community. Community mobility, whether bus, taxi, Kingston Access Bus etc. is an integral part of Recreation Therapists’ role with clients because if they can't physically get from A to B, it's a deal-breaker,” explained Shannon. “The activity helped our students learn about facilitating this key component of their profession.”

“What struck me most distinctly from day one of the Therapeutic Recreation program was the passion of the professors who practice as Recreation Therapists. Their deep love and belief in therapeutic recreation as a necessary requirement that should be applied to all of our lives (regardless of life stage or situation) inspired me to learn as much as I could from them. SLC is lucky and so am I. Therapeutic recreation is not just a job, it’s a way of life,” said Therapeutic Recreation student Tiina Liinamaa.

The program includes face-to-face classes, and online courses to provide maximum flexibility for students who may be already working in the field. A unique aspect of the program is a Small Business Development course, where students learn about entrepreneurship opportunities in the field as private practitioners. The last semester of the program includes a 14 week, full-time internship at a community agency or organization.

Graduates may find employment with persons of all ages and abilities, in a variety of settings including; hospitals, rehabilitation programs, long-term care, retirement homes, day programs, mental health centres, treatment centres, and private practice.

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