February is Recreation Therapy Month!
Recreation Therapy helps connect children and youth who have physical, mental, or social differences with opportunities to participate in and enjoy recreational activity.
Check out some of our awesome rec. therapists and the reasons why they love their job.
Andrea Waters – Kids’ Rehab Rec Therapist and Professional Practice Lead
“Grew up in NS, and grew up competing and coaching in canoe/kayak, so I knew I wanted to work in a career that promoted health and well-being.
I’ve been working as a Rec Therapist for almost 25 years. I started at the IWK in 2006 in Kids’ Rehab, where I was able to develop the Recreation Therapy Service from scratch. It was important to invest in working with community partners to build their capacity to provide inclusive programs and services for children and youth with a disability. We’re a provincial service and work in homes, schools, daycares and communities to support the goals of children, youth and their families.
As a Recreation Therapist I am most proud of the impact we can have on helping families have freedom of choice in their leisure. If you have someone in the family with an impairment and/or health condition, you often cannot participate without adapted recreation equipment and approaches, knowledge of resources in the community, and funding.
Helping families find solutions to overcome obstacles to participation makes my heart happy. Nothing elicits more joy than seeing a child ride an adapted bike for the first time, use a sport wheelchair in gym class, and use a hippocampe to go to the beach with their family or show confidence sharing their story with others to help with their participation and inclusion.”
Kristie Greeno- Kids’ Rehab Rec Therapist
“My name is Kristie Greeno and I am a Recreation Therapist with the Kids’ Rehabilitation Centre. I am from Prospect Bay, Nova Scotia. In 2013 I completed a diploma in Human Services – Therapeutic Recreation at Nova Scotia Community College. I later moved to Newfoundland and Labrador and completed my degree in Recreation Therapy at Memorial University, majoring in outdoor recreation.
Some of my favourite leisure activities include hiking, camping, gardening, pottery, and playing dodgeball. My favourite part about my job is providing therapeutic tools to children so they can engage in play! “Having fun with purpose.” Whether it’s riding an adapted bike, exploring the outdoors with all-terrain wheelchair (Hippocampe), or using a sport wheelchair, our adapted equipment loan program has a variety of equipment for children and youth.
February is Recreation Therapy month! Please join us on February 18th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in the Goldbloom Gallery for an interactive activity/education session put on by Recreation Therapy here at the IWK.”
Steve Countway- Garron Centre Rec Therapist
“I grew up on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, where I was involved in many activities like hockey, sailing and golf. I formed a lot of positive relationships and memories through these activities, and it shaped who I am today. It led me into a career as a Recreation Therapist, where now I help others discover the benefits of recreation and leisure.
I work in the acute inpatient psychiatric unit, The Garron Centre, at the IWK. We use leisure to support patients’ recovery from mental illness and addictions. This work begins soon after admission. I explore the interests of each youth and encouraging them to participate in both familiar and new activities on the unit and in the community. We also make plans for continued engagement with healthy recreation after discharge within patients’ home communities.
Recently, I’ve has partnered with the YMCA on South Park Street and I’m looking forward to taking youth there when it opens this spring. I try to get youth into the community daily, for physical activity and to experience social interaction with others. The new Y will be a great new resource for recreation programming!”
Stevie Isenor- AIS Rec Therapy Associate
“I’m originally from Tatamagouche but have lived in Halifax since I completed my Therapeutic Recreation diploma at Nova Scotia Community College in 2013. I chose to work in Rec. Therapy because of my passion for the importance of imaginative play for children and sports as a teenager.
Sports made huge positive impact on my mental health and identity through my teen years. My passion for mental health led me to working with the IWK in 2018 as a Recreation Therapy Associate at Adolescent Intensive Services (AIS), on an inpatient unit.
What makes me proudest of my job is seeing an adolescent overcomes barriers and achieve a recreation/leisure activity they didn’t think they could do or had no motivation to do. Seeing an adolescent experience so much happiness because of an activity that is new to them or something they love, brings me an immense amount of joy!
I’m beyond proud to be part of the Rec Therapy team within the IWK. I’ll be finishing my Bachelor of Science in Recreation Therapy in one year to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and with that I’m hoping to continue working with adolescents experiencing mental health challenges.”