As person who has always been an advocate for individuals with disabilities, I was shocked to hear about the field of recreational therapy as I enrolled in Western Carolina University. During my first semester at WCU, as I sat in the Foundations of Recreational Therapy class, I realized that recreational therapy was much more than I ever could have imagined. I quickly learned that RT takes a holistic approach to meet the physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and social needs of our clients. Recreational therapists work with their clients to discover new ways to meet an individual’s goals, creating a sense of partnership between the practitioner and those receiving services. Being a part of this awesome field has given me a multitude of opportunities to do what I love most—serving individuals with disabilities and celebrating with them as they achieve their goals.
Approaching my senior year, after learning the ins and outs of recreational therapy, the populations we serve, and how to best support our clients, it was time to find a full-time internship for the spring semester. While searching for an internship, I knew that I wanted to work with a population who have experienced the effects of a neurocognitive disarray or similar experience. When Branson, who is now my supervisor, came to share with our RT class about her work at Hinds’ Feet Farm in Asheville, I immediately knew that I wanted to learn more about the facility. Soon after, I scheduled an interview, giving me an opportunity to visit HFF and learn more about their programming. Not only did I adore the program itself, but the members were so welcoming, and it was easy to make the decision to accept an internship at Hinds’ Feet Farm.
Since the first day of my internship, I have experienced the family-like atmosphere, and the love between the members, staff, and families here. Furthermore, I have already learned more than I could have expected. As I have built relationships with the members, I have enjoyed learning about the different paths they came from, how they acquired a brain injury, and the adaptations and steps they have taken to move forward since their injuries. Additionally, I learn more each day about professional relationships, assessment processes, planning interventions, leadership skills, administrative responsibilities, and so much more. Currently, I am independently planning, implementing, evaluating, and documenting several groups per week. I feel that the opportunities I have been given so far have prepared me for the future in the field of recreational therapy.
I will be graduating in May with a B.S. in Recreational Therapy. My future plans include working part time as a LRT/CTRS, as I continue my journey in the field of healthcare. I was recently accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Western Carolina University, and I will begin the program in August of 2022. I feel that my internship has exposed me to several aspects of brain injuries that have contributed to both my recreational and physical therapy knowledge. Although my time at Hinds’ Feet Farm will soon come to an end, I hope that in the future, I can give back to the program that has given so much to me. I appreciate the hard work of staff, members, families, partnerships, and the community for keeping this HFF running, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a rewarding program. Hinds’ Feet Farm is such a special place, and it will always hold a piece of my heart.