Duncan Gilfillan says that the best experiences working as a recreation therapist have come in watching youth move through the stages of wellness.
“Nothing is better than having a youth be initially hesitant of recreation groups, and two weeks later, having that youth laughing and engaging in group programming with their peers,” says Gilfillan. “Seeing this, and being a part of this process, emphasizes that recreation therapy is a vital part of the IWK experience.”
Gilfillan creates and facilitates programs for youth ages 12-18 to help them increase their leisure knowledge, awareness, and skills.
“I use the patient’s interest and creative ideas to build engaging programming that is both fun and purposeful,” says Gilfillan. “Through these groups and one to one sessions I help patients meet their recreation goals, while helping them work towards their larger clinical goals.”“Working with youth allows me the opportunity to give back to the community and create meaningful connections with those youth who are struggling with mental health complications. The IWK does a fantastic job at understanding the importance of recreation and how it is a key component of a holistic care plan.”
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.