Participation in service learning is a critical aspect of the undergraduate education in Recreational Therapy. A variety of service learning opportunities are offered through regular classes, officially designated service learning courses, and through student lead Recreational Therapy Association. These real-world experiences allow students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, giving them exposure to the some of the diverse populations that are served in Recreational Therapy.
Two Recreational Therapy courses have been officially designated as “Service Learning Courses” by the WCU Center for Service Learning. These are RTH 360 Recreational Therapy for Older Adults and RTH 470 Adventure Based Recreational Therapy. In both courses, specifically designed service learning opportunities have been created to provide students with a client-based laboratory for implementing evidence-based practice techniques and interventions with actual clients. Under the supervision of qualified professionals, students complete a minimum of 15 hours of client interaction in these two courses.
Throughout the year, additional service learning opportunities are developed for student involvement and engagement.
As part of the Recreational Therapy curriculum, students must complete a summer internship that allows them to apply the knowledge that they have gained from the classroom into a professional setting. Western’s Recreational Therapy program is allied with various agencies from across the country which allows students to gain diverse learning experiences. Our current list of contracts are constantly evolving each semester to meet the needs and interests of our students.
Students eligible for this award are involved in the Recreational Therapy Association as an active member, preferably as an officer. The student chosen has provided extensive service to community members in the region both within and outside of the classroom. This student has also demonstrated leadership with his or her fellow students and/ or faculty through organizing service events, providing structure for service learning, or providing guest lectures for classes. Overall, this student goes above and beyond minimal service and nurtures her or his connection to the practice of the profession.
The Leadership in Service award will typically be awarded to one student each year, though it can be awarded to multiple students. Students who are eligible for the award must have completed 90 hours by the end of the fall semester and have membership in the student Recreational Therapy Association. The awardee(s) will be selected by the Recreational Therapy faculty in March of the awarding year. The awards are given during the College Awards Ceremony, typically held in April each year.
Students eligible for this award show exceptional engagement with academic material in the discipline and outside of the classroom. This student also attends conferences and workshops to edify his or her learning while obtaining the recreational therapy degree. She or he exhibits high academic achievement including multiple citations on the Dean’s List while in the recreational therapy major.
The Excellence in Scholarship award will typically be awarded to one student each year, though it can be awarded to multiple students. Students who are eligible for the award must have completed 90 hours by the end of the fall semester and have membership in the student Recreational Therapy Association. The awardee(s) will be selected by the Recreational Therapy faculty in March of the awarding year. The awards are given during the College Awards Ceremony, typically held in April each year.
The WCU Recreational Therapy Association (RTA) is a recognized campus organization for recreational therapy majors. RTA has the following purposes:
1. To apprise WCU students of professional issues articulated by national, state, and regional recreational therapy organizations.
2. To develop and promote programs related to recreational therapy within the WCU community and surrounding area.
3. To promote public awareness of the benefits of utilizing recreational and other activities as forms of active treatment and their roles in establishing and maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
Membership in RTA is open to any WCU student or faculty member with payment of membership dues. Each semester, student elections are held for the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. Additionally, students are elected as Chairpersons of the following standing committees: Program Committee, Professional Development Committee, and Publicity Committee.
Students plan and coordinate a variety of fund raisers each semester to help pay for special events, service learning projects, guest speakers, and field trips to exemplary recreational therapy programs in the region. By participating in RTA students develop leadership and organizational skills relevant to their professional development. They become engaged with their community through a variety of service learning projects. And they develop bonds with their fellow students that carry on long after graduation and into their professional careers.