Carl Attends ATRA Part II

The American Therapeutic Recreation Conference
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sept 13th-16th, 2018
Part II

Every conference that I attend I always seem to find some useful information that I can take back to my place of employment.  That will be the topic for my third and final installment of my trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Today however, I want to share/discuss perhaps my favorite part of attending conferences, the connections we make with new and old friends and colleagues.

My first full day in Grand Rapids I was able to connect with Anne Richard, Executive Director of NCTRC over a networking dinner.   It is great to have individuals who have a wealth of knowledge to share, but whom also connect with you on a personal level.  It really is great to engage and have dialogue with genuine and approachable people who hold very influential roles.  Thanks again Anne for all the connections and introductions you gave me over the conference!

When I reflect on the ATRA conference this year I only need to look at the 30 plus business cards that I have in my office currently.  I was given an opportunity to connect with a variety of individuals, all whom I had great networking conversations with. A few of the connections I was able to create, and foster are:  connections with those on the ATRA Board, professionals who work in the field of Behavioral Health and are interested in being a contact for me as I start a new role with Mental Health and Addiction Services, the creator of the SMART CEU hub, as well as the reps from Sagamore Publishing who are happy to be working with CTRA and offering amazing discounts to our CTRA Membership. Last but not least, was the speed mentoring session I had the opportunity to be involved in where students had an opportunity to sit across a table from professionals in the field of TR and ask them questions about their journey and what advice the professionals can pass on to aspiring young TR minds!  Fantastic Connections Indeed!

In conclusion, I believe that the connections we are able to make as professionals attending conferences are an important part of attending annual conferences! A great example of this is one of my favorite stories from a conversation held with Jo-Ellen from ATRA.  She has been a part of the ATRA Board, and has attended over 30 ATRA conferences. She informed me that in all those 30 plus years she has roomed with the same colleague and friend for every single one of those ATRA conferences (with the exception of Orlando and Carolina the past two years due to extreme weather.)  Proving that connections made at conferences, that may not have otherwise, can last for years to come! If you have any connections you’d like to celebrate that you’ve made over the years please share with us!


Carl Ings

CTRA President Elect


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