President’s Piece September 2023

Kia Ora and G’day members. Last month, I had the pleasure in representing ARTA and its members at the New Zealand Society of Diversional and Recreational Therapy Conference in Wellington. While I spent a week driving from Auckland to Wellington (my first trip to Aotearoa and a solo overseas trip) I was able to experience the hospitality of two aged care homes – Summerset Monteray Park in Auckland and Bupa Redwood in Rotoura, exploring the various Diversional and Recreational Programs supporting people living with dementia or who reside in care. I wanted to send a thank you to the President of (NZSDRT) Orquidea for connecting me with the wonderful teams in both homes.

Sharing the progress of ARTA at the Wellington Conference was extremely memorable, and experiencing the passion of Aotearoa DRT’s uplifted and made me more excited to share in our upcoming conference on the 8-9th September. There are spaces still available, day rates and discounts for organisations of 5 or more, so please consider coming to join us face to face in Parramatta.

Over the last month, ARTA and its Board continue to engage in working groups, community forums with the aim of lifting the profile of Recreational Therapy in Australia. Charlise (our amazing Exec Officer) attended an online Recreational Therapy retreat, sharing to RT’s globally who ARTA is and the role we have been playing in Australia. We thank her for the 4am wake up to share the work that she and the Board have been doing here. There will also be information coming out soon regarding another opportunity for professional development on a global scale with the International Knowledge Exchange occurring in October. Keep an eye out on social media for more information.

By the time this newsletter arrives, Michael (ARTA Board Member), Jacqueline Quirke (ARTA member and industry representative) and I would have met with Hon Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells’ Aged Care Advisor Summer Brady. We were able to lock in a video conference to share the current climate in aged care regarding implications of the 200 care minutes, the experiences of members, but also highlighting the current and long-term implications on older Australians. We hope to have an update on this meeting in the next newsletter. I can’t emphasise enough that we need all our members contributing to feedback to Minister Wells, and she can be emailed directly with your experiences and feedback.

ARTA Town Halls were also well attended in August, and we thank the members who attended. Keep an eye out in the newsletter for the next town hall meetings in the coming months.

A quick presidents piece this month; we have a lot happening and I thank again the Board members, conference committee and our office team (Diana and Jodie) for all their hard work following recent membership renewals and conference falling so close to each other.

See you all hopefully at the conference.

Renée Smith
ARTA President

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