During the winter months, the Recreational Therapy Department hosts downhill skiing and cross country skiing with the residents. In order for the residents to be eligible, they must be on a Leader or Guide phase and have positive participation in groups and other scheduled activities. Residents receive training from professional agencies that specialize in helping individuals with physical and mental disabilities.
Many of the kids that attend these outings are given a great opportunity to challenge themselves and try something that they might not have tried otherwise. It can be frustrating to learn but also a very rewarding experience. Some end up enjoying it so much that they want to continue going when they return home, which gives them a healthy recreational skill that they have been able to develop, and they can continue to learn and progress.
One student shared his experience:
“When I first started doing cross country skiing I hated it so much because it was so difficult for me to get the form right. I kept telling the Recreation Therapist about how much this sucked and about how I want to quit because I will most likely never get this right because I snowboard not ski. I kept working and kept working on it mainly because I didn’t want to get in trouble for not participating in the activity. Soon when we got to the trail I was having so much fun because they had these downhill parts that you get going pretty fast on. Afterwards, I was telling the instructors about how much I couldn’t wait to go on the second trip! The best part about these outings are: some people feel like it’s the scenery, some people feel like its just great to be around friends, you know that all very good too, but the best part for me is eating a whole lot of food afterwards!” – CHYC student
Recreation Therapy also takes residents on various outings including sporting events, the arcade, and a gymnastic gymnasium called Airborne.
“I love going to Airborne, because I love to jump and learn how to do new and more tricks on the trampolines and also doing the Ninja Course.”
“One really exciting thing to do is the ropes course. There are three courses, the cargo net, the giant ladder, and the outside course. These each give an exciting physical and social exercise. We each promote and encourage each other positively to do well. These things are very fun for us kids.” – CHYC student
On October 31, our recreational therapy team plus a couple of other departments within our facility planned a carnival for the students. Each unit was given an hour to participate in games and refreshments while dressed in their creative costumes. Some of the games included bean bag toss, cake walk, ring toss, balloon pop, and many others were available to be played. The students used the tickets they won to buy small toys or candy.
After the carnival, each unit filed into the main hall and went “trick or treating”. Employees from all different parts of the building got into the Halloween spirit by dressing up in costumes and passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters. It seemed to be as much fun for the givers as it was for the trick-or-treaters. Halloween was a well-rounded, fun day.
The Recreation Therapy (RT) program at Copper Hills Youth Center was presented the “Outstanding Program Award” by the Utah Recreation Therapy Association (URTA) on Friday February 22 at the URTA Annual Conference. This award is highly honored in the field of RT and is given to programs that provide exceptional RT services including an impressive level of professionalism and quality of work.
The RT program at Copper Hills Youth Center was recognized for being founded on solid research, theory and models, utilizing true evidence-based practice and following a clinical process in providing RT services. They were also recognized for having a team of Recreational Therapists who are highly competent, professional, who value continuing education and are active members of the overall treatment team.
Any program would feel proud to receive this award, however for Copper Hills Youth Center is also signifies the progress they have made in revamping the RT program. The program use to be viewed as inadequate and was primarily focused on providing diversional activities, arts and crafts and P.E.; all of which are not RT services. In-fact the University of Utah viewed the program as being so poor that they would no longer allow RT students to do internships at CHYC. In December 2010 with a new Director of the dept. the RT program has been focused on changing the RT program from the ground up and step by step they are now viewed as an “Outstanding Program” and have set the standard for other RT programs to follow. Additionally, they have a competitive internship program in which the University of Utah now refers their top RT students.
The RT program at Copper Hills Youth Center follows The Leisure and Well-being Model and The Resiliency Theory. Therefore RT services are geared towards enhancing lifetime resources, positive leisure experiences, and the seven resiliency characteristics: insight, independence, creativity, humor, initiative, relationships, and values orientation.
The RT program follows a clinical process involving assessments, individualized goals, ongoing evaluations, and discharge planning. All Recreational Therapists are licensed in the state of Utah and are nationally certified by the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification.