President Piece – 7 April 2016

Hello Members,

I write this newsletter with excitement! Over the past few years, the Board of DTA have made a conscious effort to engage with other like-minded organisations around the world.

Many of you will have seen Takako Serizawa (President, DT Japan) at DTA conferences, along with some of her students, as they have taken advantage of the opportunity to engage with Australian DT trends and experiences. Last conference, we also welcomed two Board members from DT New Zealand, making the Gold Coast conference a truly international affair!

Over the past 18 months, Board member Darren Robinson, has been part of the international liaison portfolio and has worked to building this international forum. Darren, in his quiet and unassuming way, has made contact with Leisure professionals in Hawaii, Singapore, and now America. Darren and I had a Skype-type meeting with several key members of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, including their President, Dawn Devries, President-Elect, Marilyn Radatz, Executive Director, Anne Richard, and Co-Chair of the International Committee, Pei-Chun Hsieh. This was an inspiring meeting, and it was buoying to hear that many of the issues DTA faces are similar to what the ATRA have and currently face!

We all agreed to several strategies as a result of the meeting, and have decided to make our contact a regular event in discussing issues and trends within the associations, and also in sharing our respective histories and plans guiding future growth and development. ATRA and DTA will establish a Memorandum of Understanding to support a framework of intent for moving forward in our relationship. Part of our discussion sat around the similarities and differences within the educational pathways for our respective members. Several of the DTA Board will continue this discussion with Anne Richard, Executive Director; University participation will also be sought as part of this conversation. It will be very interesting to reveal similarities and differences within course content. Representatives from other countries may also choose to be part of this discussion, in gaining a truly global understanding of educational pathways related to leisure and health. The group also discussed how we could share at the conference and workshop levels, and this conversation will continue as ideas are explored and put in place.

The development of a global forum is a significant and important step. To be able to maintain a global relationship and contribute at that level represents a maturity and depth within your Association. The upcoming study tour to Japan also forms part of the awareness of the global leisure identity.

On the local level – have you engaged with your peers within any of the forums on the website? This is a great way to communicate and network, exchange ideas and seek support. Did you know there is also a Private Practice forum, for those who are interested in, or working within this field? If you have ever thought about developing your own private practice, this is a great way to explore the steps you might need to take.

Did you know the Board have been writing online education programs as part of the DTA relationship with Healthstrong? This means that employees across all fields, not only DT staff, will be able to undertake a short 45-60 min training session related to Diversional Therapy. This is a fantastic opportunity for spreading the word about Diversional Therapy and its impact and outcomes for the client.

Thanks to fantastic work across several areas, DTA membership has increased this month by 19!

In all, the points noted here are significant and worthwhile, and demonstrate the strong commitment of the DTA Board. Now is the time for you to begin to consider if you have the capacity to hold a Board position. Several places will become vacant at the November AGM. I can assure you that a Board position is exciting and rewarding, as you develop ties and networks in support of your profession. 


Louise Absalom

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