The History of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists: 2011–2021





The History of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists: 2011–2021


Bryan P. McCormick David R. Austin




The profession of recreational therapy first established professional membership organizations in the 1940s and 1950s. The most recent national professional membership organization was developed in 1984, when the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) was formed. The National Academy of Recreational Therapists (NART) was established in 2011 as an honor society to recognize the most accomplished practitioners and educators in recreational therapy and to provide a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas that would ultimately lead to the advancement of the recreational therapy profession. Efforts to establish NART began in 2009 when David Austin and Ray West drafted a conceptualization of the academy and its operations, as well as proposed a set of by-laws. A steering committee was subsequently established to review and approve by-laws for NART and to establish the Founding Fellows of NART. The central purpose of the Academy was the advancement of recreational therapy by recognition, education, research, scholarly activity, advocacy, and the provision of advice to decision makers. Since its inception NART has established and





Bryan P. McCormick is a professor in the Department of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences at Temple University.

David R. Austin is professor emeritus in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies at Indiana University.

Please send correspondence to Bryan P. McCormick,


The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is pleased to offer readers of the Thera- peutic Recreation Journal, opportunities to earn CEUs through the journal. By reading the articles and successfully completing a post-test (70% or higher), readers have the opportu-nity to earn .1 CEU/article.

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funded a Future Scholars Fund to support outstanding graduate students considering pursuing a terminal degree, as well as the Marcia Carter Scholarly Manuscript Award for the best annual publication in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. Over its first 10 years, NART made revisions to its bylaws to refine criteria and categories for Fellows, and by 2021 there were 77 elected Fellows. The invited paper summarizes the first 10 years and considers a number of original goals that remain to be realized to support and advance this honor society.



Honor society, Future Scholars, NART (National Academy of Recreational Therapists), recreational therapy



The profession of recreational therapy first established professional membership organizations in the 1940s and 1950s. The Hospital Recreation Section of the American Recreation Society (HRS-ARS) originated in 1948. The National Association of Recreational Therapists (NART) began in 1952. These organizations merged in 1966 to form the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS-dissolved in 2010), a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The most recent national professional membership organization was developed in 1984, when the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) was formed as an independent, autonomous organization brought about through the grassroots efforts of recreational therapists from throughout the United States (Austin & Crawford, 2020).

This invited paper serves as an historical record that describes the development and the first 10 years of activities of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists (NART). As the initial academy in the profession of therapeutic recreation, this manuscript captures the founder’s intents to advance the practice of recreational therapy through the work of distinguished professionals. Unlike the original professional membership organization NART (1952-1966), this academy was initiated as an honor society to recognize the most accomplished practitioners and educators in the field and to provide the honorees elected to the Academy a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas leading to the advancement of the practice of recreational therapy (NART By-laws, 2011). As a “learned society” the Academy exists to promote the development of the profession with membership being an honor conferred by election. Elected members or Fellows are recognized for their work and achievements. Like other scholarly academies NART was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the official filing of The Articles of Incorporation by the North Carolina Secretary of State on June 28, 2011 (State of North Carolina, 2011).

Initial Steps in Establishing the National Academy of Recreational Therapists

Actions to establish NART began before it became an officially designated nonprofit organization in 2011. David Austin, a profession in recreation therapy at


Indiana University and Ray West, Director of Recreational Therapy for the University of North Carolina Hospitals, in 2009 began discussing the need to establish an academy for recreational therapy. Both had observed that other professions had academies like the Academy of Leisure Sciences in Parks, Recreation and Leisure whose members reflected the highest in professional achievement within their professions: Thus, the seed was planted to establish a similar academy for the recreational therapy profession (Austin & West, 2011b).

Austin and West (2011b) in their history of the beginnings of NART wrote the following regarding the objectives of NART:


First, it was felt that there was a need for an academy to serve as an honorific society that would recognize and bring together distinguished scholars and practitioners who had significantly contributed to the advancement of rec- reational therapy. We wanted to honor prominent figures in the profession, as well as to offer them the opportunity to network and to develop a spirit of fellowship. Our intent was also to invite into the academy only eminent members who would be dedicated to furthering recreational therapy within the complex and ever-changing world of health care. (p. 2)


To initiate discussions with leaders in the profession, Austin and West developed two documents: One was titled “Introduction to the National Academy of Recreational Therapists,” which presented their conceptualization of the academy and its operations. The second document was a proposed set of by-laws for NART (Austin & West, 2011b).

The document by Austin and West introducing NART contained their beliefs about the purpose of an Academy in recreational therapy. Key concepts included:


  • The National Academy of Recreational Therapists (NART) would be based on the founding principle that having an established clearinghouse for exchange of ideas by recognized experts in the field could result in significant contributions to recreational therapy practice.
  • The central purpose of the Academy is the advancement of recreational therapy by recognition, education, research, scholarly activity, advocacy, and the provision of advice to decision makers.
  • The Academy operates under a set of by-laws that provides structure for the organization. The organization is incorporated as a nonprofit organization.
  • Names of candidates for membership are placed in nomination by current members. Election requires a two-thirds majority of votes cast by members.
  • Members should have demonstrated an exceptional level of competence in professional activities within recreational therapy over a considerable period of time. Included in this would be factors such as: (a) quality and quantity of contributions to the literature of the profession; (b) extensive participation in professional organizations; and (c) acknowledged outstanding performance as a teacher, leader, administrator, practitioner, or researcher in the profession of recreational
  • Every annual meeting includes a period for formal business and the formal introduction of new members. Because fellowship is an important dimension of


Academy membership and purpose, a luncheon or dinner is typically a part of the Academy’s annual meeting. (Austin & West, 2011a, p. 1,2).


Following the initial proposal for the formation of NART, the next step was to invite highly regarded recreational therapy professionals to serve on a steering committee to set in place by-laws for NART and to move forward with establishing the Founding Fellows of NART. Among those on the steering committee were David Austin, Frank Basile, Marcia Carter, Peg Connolly, Mary Ann Keogh-Hoss, Jerry Jordan, Sharon Nichols, Thomas Skalko, Ray West, and Pam Wilson. The steering committee was later expanded to include Carmen Russoniello and Sandra Negley (Austin & West, 2011b). This committee approved the initial members of the Board of Directors: Frank Basile, president, Sharon Nichols, president-elect, Jerry Jordan, secretary/treasurer, and Marcia Carter, historian (NART, 2011a). Within the original by-laws, it was stated that two types of members would be elected to the Academy: Fellows and Associate Fellows. Fellows were the most seasoned members while Associate Fellows would be less experienced yet highly acclaimed individuals who would ultimately become Fellows (NART By-laws, 2011).

The steering committee initially extended invitations to those who had been named Distinguished Fellows by ATRA to become the Founding Fellows. This led to 22 ATRA Distinguished Fellows accepting the invitation to be NART Founding Fellows. Thus, the first class of NART Fellows was established with the following members: David Austin, Frank Basile, Leandra Bedini, Marcia Carter, Peg Connolly, Joanne Finegan, Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, Linda Hutchinson-Troyer, John Jacobson, Ann James, Jerry Jordan, Nancy Navar, Sandra Negley, Sharon Nichols, Bob Riley, Carmen Russoniello, John Shank, Thom Skalko, Norma Stumbo, Glen Van Andel, Ray West, and Pamela Wilson (NART, 2011a).

NART president Frank Basile then requested the Founding Fellows to nominate Founding Associate Fellows. Nominations were received from the Founding Fellows with all 16 of those nominated achieving the required two-thirds majority vote required for election (NART, 2011). The first class of Associate Fellows included: Missy Armstrong, Candace Ashton, Teresa Beck, Linda Buettner, Kathy Coyle, Michael Crawford, Jennifer Hinton, Terry Kinney, Younghkill Lee, Bryan McCormick, Tim Passmore, Vicki Scott, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Jeff Witman, Heewon Yang, and Ramon Zabriskie. These Associate Fellows would become NART Fellows with the new class nominated the following year (NART, 2011a).

The First Meeting of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists

The inaugural meeting of NART was held at the LaRue Carter Memorial Hospital from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m, on September 20, 2011, during the ATRA Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. A light meal sponsored by David Austin and catered by Subway® was provided for those attending. To add to the festive occasion, bead necklaces from New Orleans were provided to all attending (D.R. Austin, personal communication, February 21, 2023). A total of 20 individuals attended the meeting launching NART. Each attendee placed their signature on a list to signify their attendance and support for NART (NART, 2011b).


Formal introductions that highlighted each newly elected member’s professional achievements were made for those in attendance. Bryan McCormick, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, and Ramon Zabriskie were introduced by David Austin. Jennifer Hinton and Teresa Beck were introduced by Peg Connolly. Sharon Nichols provided formal introductions for Missy Armstrong, Kathy Coyle, and Tim Passmore. It was then announced that the Associate Fellows would become Fellows the following year when a new class was inducted (NART, 2011b).

Among agenda items passed at the September 20 meeting were motions approving annual dues be established at $50, creation of a task force to examine ways to address the shortage of PhD-prepared faculty for recreational therapy, and approval that ATRA Distinguished Fellows would automatically be invited to become NART members. Given that the motion to invite ATRA Distinguished Fellows to become NART members was passed, it was agreed that Linda Buettner, the 2011 ATRA Distinguished Fellow, would be recognized as a NART Fellow. Discussion also ensued about NART’s quest to support the recreational therapy profession. Among topics discussed were the need to assist the growth of the profession through offering scholarly support and mentoring future scholars, as well as offering professional expertise to practitioners, ATRA, and the American Recreational Therapy Foundation (ARTF). Also expressed was the need to inform those in the recreational therapy profession as to the purpose of NART and to assure them that NART was not a membership organization that would compete with ATRA (NART, 2011b).

The Early Years of the National Academy of Recreational Therapists

Shortly following the inaugural meeting of NART, Jerry Jordan resigned from his position on the board as Secretary/Treasurer. Upon his resignation, the NART board unanimously elected Marieke Van Puymbroeck to succeed Jordan. In the same ATRA Newsletter that announced Van Puymbroeck would be assuming the duties of the Secretary/Treasurer, President Brasile announced that a NART “Think Tank” would be held in May of 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska (NART, 2012). Unfortunately, due to logistical problems, the think tank had to be cancelled (F.M. Brasile, personal communication, March 1, 2023).

The next gathering of NART members occurred on October 13, 2012, in Phoenix, Arizona, during the ATRA conference. A total of 17 Fellows were in attendance. The minutes documented the discussion of the need to disseminate the report produced by the PhD task force to all members as soon as possible; the need to survey members to identify issues and initiatives NART might undertake; need for NART to conduct webinars; the need to continue to explore conducting a think tank; and the development of white papers on changes in health care policy and evidence-based practice. Additionally, Tim Passmore announced that he would develop a NART listserv. It was reiterated that there was agreement to elevate original Associate Fellows to Fellows (NART, 2012b).

Year three of NART saw the annual meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 2013 with nine members in attendance. At that time an announcement of the new NART officers was made: president was Marieke Van Puymbroeck. secretary/ treasurer was Bryan McCormick, and Marcia Carter would continue as historian. No


mention was made in the minutes as to who would assume the role of president-elect. Newly elected Fellows were announced. Those newly installed were Melinda Conway, Charlie Dixon, Debbie Hutchins, Al Kaye, and Nancy Richeson. It was announced that the new inductees and all NART Fellows could use FDRT (Fellow Distinguished in Recreational Therapy) following their names to indicate that they were NART Fellows (NART, 2013).

A total of 16 members were in attendance at the NART annual meeting held in Oklahoma City on September 14, 2014. Richard Williams, Jean Folkerth, and Wayne Pollock were welcomed as new Fellows. It was announced that Gene Hayes and Robert Raynor had also been elected as new Fellows. A taskforce had been appointed to develop guidelines for the funding of the NART scholarship program (later termed the Future Scholars Program). Members were Ramon Zabriskie, Thom Skalko, Missy Armstrong, and Sharon Nichols. It was also announced that nominations and elections needed to be conducted to fill president-elect, secretary/treasurer, and historian. There was discussion regarding communications with ATRA and the desire of NART to link more formally with ATRA. Opportunities for connection could include placing articles in the ATRA Newsletter, sponsoring a student social, and presenting NART information to the ATRA membership during the ATRA annual conference (NART, 2014).

During 2014-2015, Dr. Marieke Van Puymbroeck, in her term as NART President organized a number of NART documents, brought structure and consistency to committee efforts of the first four NART years, and shared the fall 2015 newsletter that summarized the work efforts of NART. Thus, year five saw the publication of a NART Newsletter in the fall of 2015. The extensive newsletter contained a call for the nomination of officers; an announcement that dues would remain $50; a feature on NART’s support of H.R. 1906, “Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2015;” an article to remind members that it was time to nominate new NART Fellows; information on a pending membership vote to require members to be active members of ATRA; and, finally, information on the NART Future Scholar Program that included a thank you to Thom Skalko and Ramon Zabriskie for putting it together. The newsletter also contained a listing of all NART Fellows, which totaled 46 (NART, 2015). Marieke spent her presidency organizing all the founding information and the by-laws with proposed changes. Her intent was to move the Academy forward.

The 2015 annual meeting was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the ATRA conference. The meeting began with congratulations being extended to the newly elected board consisting of Sharon Nichols, president; Richard Williams, president-elect; Tim Passmore, secretary/treasurer; and Jeff Witman, historian. It was announced that the proposal to revise the by-laws to stipulate that NART Fellows must be ATRA members had received notable objections from a number of NART Fellows, and therefore the item was tabled pending a vote by the membership on whether to revise the by-laws. Members were informed that the NART Future Scholars Program had been put into place to promote more doctoral-prepared faculty for college and university professional preparation programs. The program would provide the opportunity for those enrolled in master’s degree programs to meet some of the leading scholars in recreational therapy during the ATRA annual conference. Discussion ensued on the details of the Future Scholars Program, including procedures for the criteria and selection of students for the Future Scholars Program and costs


involved in supporting the program. Teresa Beck was appointed to chair the Future Scholars Program committee with committee members being Jennifer Hinton, Debbie Hutchins, Nancy Richeson, and Ramon Zabriskie (NART, 2015a).

The First Five Years of NART: Summary and Conclusions

Over the course of its first five years, NART experienced growing pains. The numbers in attendance at NART annual membership meetings remained relatively low, maintaining a consistent leadership was difficult and the idea proposed by Austin and West (2011a) to structure annual meetings with meal functions to develop a sense of friendship and community among the members had been lost. Further, it seemed that NART was not able to solidify its relationship with ATRA, nor gain opportunities to present on NART during ATRA annual conferences. NART’s membership also seemed to struggle over a proposed requirement that NART Fellows had to be active members of ATRA. Regular publication of the ATRA Newsletters was not apparent, nor were the minutes of the NART annual meetings consistent in content and format. The organizational structure and consistency created by President Van Puymbroeck fell to the wayside slowing the development of NART.

The efforts of Past President Van Puymbroeck led to an attempt by volunteer Sandra Negley during 2015-2016 to continue Marieke’s work by taking the annual minutes and proposed by-law changes to assist President Williams in clarifying NART’s progress and needs. After reviewing materials from NART’s first five years, a report to NART president Richard Williams and the NART executive committee from Sandra Negley at the 2016 meeting of NART (report to NART executive committee, December 29, 2016) presented recommendations on several issues evident within NART. Among these were that (a) a written procedure should be prepared that states the officers need to meet on an annual basis, prior to the annual meeting in order to develop a financial plan for the following year; (b) written procedural guidelines should be developed for conducting the annual meeting; and (c) a procedure for how to conduct all voting issues needed to be developed. Negley concluded by stating that while it was a hard task to get members to be actively involved, there must be members committed to the nuts and bolts of the organization.

Yet, strides were made during the early years of NART. Those developing NART acted quickly to establish the Articles of Incorporation with the North Carolina Secretary of State. The first NART Newsletter was published in 2011. It contained an interpretation of the nature and purpose of NART and gave an account of the beginnings of NART. By-laws were put into place and officers were elected to lead the organization. By the inaugural meeting of NART in September of 2011, 22 Fellows and 16 Associate Fellows had been elected. The members quickly moved to have only one category of members, as Associate Fellows became NART Fellows. Members established the convention of using the initials FDRT following the names of NART Fellows to have a designation of initials common in other national honorific organizations. Throughout its early years, NART’s membership continued to grow, from the original 38 members in 2011 to 46 members by 2015. NART was also able to establish its Future Scholars Program as a strategy to combat the shortage of doctoral prepared faculty in recreational therapy that had been identified as a critical issue during the first meeting of NART.


The National Academy of Recreational Therapy: 2016 to 2021

The minutes from the NART annual meeting held on September 9, 2016, in Chicago, revealed an extensive agenda and active discussion by the 13 NART members in attendance. The meeting began with a motion by Ramon Zabriskie, and seconded by Bryan McCormick, to support a NART recognized paper of the year award (later termed the NART Scholarly Paper Award renamed in 2023 the Marcia Carter Scholarly Manuscript Award) from the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. The motion passed unanimously. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the categories of membership. It was explained that previous by-law’s motions had passed, leaving only three membership classes. These were “Active Fellow,” “Inactive Fellow,” and a new category of “Emeritus Fellow.” Marieke Van Puymbroeck made a motion, seconded by Ramon Zabriskie, to amend the by-laws section 5a to remove the portion of the by-laws that stated termination of a member after 60 days for lack of payment. It was decided that the motion would be sent to the NART membership for a vote with a 30- day voting period. There followed the continuation of discussion of the Future Scholar Program that had occurred at previous annual meetings. It was decided that a task force would review the files in the NART Dropbox and that the first NART Scholar would be identified at the 2017 ATRA annual conference. Next came discussion of establishing a NART booth at future ATRA annual conferences to interpret the value of NART to the profession and offer educational information regarding NART. Also considered was the possibility of having NART participate in the 2017 annual conference general session. Bryan McCormick then made a motion, seconded by Candy Ashton, to suspend current voting and reissue a call for nominations with 15 days for additional nominations, followed by a 15-day period for the consideration of those nominated and voting by NART Fellows. The motion passed by a unanimous vote. The notion of NART investigating the possibility of initiating an Honor Society for Undergraduate Students was brought to the floor. There was interest in exploring the initiation of an honor society by those present, and Teresa Beck and Candy Ashton volunteered to develop a proposal for a task force to explore the issue. Following a motion, and its withdrawal, by Mary Ann Keogh Hoss to hold electronic voting of the NART board, Keogh Hoss made a motion to suspend the portion of the NART by-laws that addressed elections until the next election cycle. This motion, seconded by Ramon Zabriskie, passed unanimously. This action was taken to address the issues involved with elections and nomination time and to allow officers to serve until the next election. This was followed by a suggestion by Bryan McCormick that the NART board’s structure be studied. The meeting closed with a request by Sandra Negley that NART Fellows recognize Richard Williams for his willingness to continue to serve as NART president (NART, 2016).

There were no minutes from the 2017 NART annual meeting due to the cancellation of the ATRA annual conference that had been scheduled to be held in Orlando. Thus, the only information available was an agenda for the meeting. Old business was identified as hearing reports from task forces and work groups on their progress, the welcoming of Debbie Robinson, Frances Stavola Daly, and Jo-Ellen Ross as newly elected Fellows, a budget review by Bryan McCormick, election of board


members, and banking and other management functions. New business items on the agenda included the resignation of Richard Williams as NART president, how to move NART forward in a realistic manner, consideration of pursuing an agreement with Sagamore-Venture Publishing for business functions of NART, and an announcement of election results of new NART nominees (NART, 2017).

The 2018 annual meeting of NART occurred in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 14 during the ATRA annual conference. The minutes for the meeting reflect 19 NART Fellows being in attendance. Candace Ashton-Forrester was listed as “excused.” The meeting was called to order by Nancy Richeson and the minutes of the 2016 annual meeting were approved. The current NART officers were identified to be Candy Ashton-Forrester, president; Nancy Richeson, president-elect; Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, secretary/treasurer; and Marcia Carter, historian. Old business began with the announcement that no report on the undergraduate Honor Society would be presented, and that Candace Ashton-Forrester and Teresa Beck would be asked to report on it at the next meeting. It was announced that numerous changes in the by-laws had been reviewed and discussed and that all were approved through a vote of members present. It was indicated that Nancy Richeson would provide an updated copy of the by-laws with all approved changes. It was then requested that all NART members provide current email addresses. New business for the meeting began with the welcoming of new Fellows to the Academy. The list of new Fellows read Lynn Anderson, Ellen Broach, Colleen Cooke, Elizabeth Kemeny, Robin Kunstler, Rhonda Nelson, Brent Wolfe, Thea Kavanaugh, and Gretchen Snethen. It was moved, seconded, and voted to approve having Sagamore-Venture Publishing provide needed management services of the organization. It was announced that the NART Scholarly Paper Award would be presented at the 2019 ATRA annual conference. Discussion ensued regarding the international expansion of NART. It was resolved that NART “needed to mature before entertaining this” (NART Minutes, 2018. p. 2). The meeting concluded with a treasurer’s report and that current dues were being collected through October 26th. The meeting was adjourned with the announcement that the next NART annual meeting would occur in Reno, Nevada (NART, 2018).

As planned, the 2019 NART annual meeting took place in Reno. The meeting was held on September 15, 2019, with 23 NART Fellows in attendance. Guests were Peter Bannon, of Sagamore-Venture Publishing, and Jennifer Wood, the NART Future Scholar. The first order of business brought forth by President Candy Ashton was the approval of the minutes from the 2018 annual meeting. Announcements included Candy Aston, Marcia Carter, and Nancy Richeson being thanked for their efforts in reorganizing operations of the organization and that NART dues would remain at

$50.00. Old business included the president’s report by Candy Ashton in which she thanked Sagamore-Venture Publishing for working with NART on finances, website, logo, and the Scholarly Paper Award. It was announced that the inaugural Scholarly Paper Award was being presented to Judy Kinney. Among action items included by- laws changes, which were moved and seconded for approval, and the adding of the immediate past president to the board. A discussion followed as to whether there was a need for Fellows to hold active status in ATRA. Election results were then announced. These were Missy Armstrong, president, Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, secretary/treasurer, and Marcia Carter, historian. No one was named as vice president, and it was announced that recruitment for the position would continue. The five new Fellows elected in 2019


were identified as Clifford Burnham, Megan Janke, Judy Kinney, Alexis McKenney, and Karen Wenzel. Old business concluded with the investiture of Missy Armstrong as the new NART president. In new business, chairs and committee members were announced for the Future Scholars Program, the Scholarly Paper Award, and the development of an Honor Society for Undergraduates. A discussion followed on the topic of mentorship. Mary Ann Keogh Hoss gave the treasurer’s report in which she indicated a ending balance of $6,760.82. Items were then identified for discussion in 2020. Those listed were (a) national versus international status for the Academy, (b) the Honor Society, (c) the removal and change in the by-laws of “require membership in ATRA” to “encourage to be members of ATRA,” and (d) mentorship (NART, 2019). A total of 30 NART Fellows were participants in the annual meeting of NART conducted by Zoom on October 21, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. President Missy Armstrong called the meeting to order. The 2019 minutes were approved, as amended to state that Marcia Carter had proofed the standards for the Scholarly Paper Award for Sagamore-Venture Publishing. Announcements were made regarding (a) members being asked to check that their current email addresses were correct; (b) congratulations to Candy Ashton on being named an ATRA Distinguished Fellow;

  • the introduction of NART Scholar winner Timothy Miller, from SUNY Cortland;
  • the Scholarly Paper Award being given to coauthors Leandra Bedini, Laura Kelly, Kate McKenzie, and Katherine Mitchell; and (e) newly elected NART Fellows were announced. Those installed in 2020 were Patti Craig, Donna Gregory, Brett Hawkins, Colleen Hood, Robin McNeal, Lisa Mische-Lawson, Jen Piatt, Heather Porter, Anne Richard, and Melissa Old business followed with the first item being notification by Candy Ashton that changes were needed in the NART by-laws. Concerns included ATRA membership, admitting members from Canada, removing the age requirement in Article 3, Section 5, and identifying the quorum number at the annual meetings as five members. It was suggested that all changes be placed on a secure website when finally approved. In regard to elections, it was stated that nominations should be made 30 days in advance of the annual meeting and the recruitment of officers was to be a priority for 2021. Megan Janke was nominated to assume the position of secretary/ treasurer. Mary Ann Keogh Hoss suggested that Megan shadow her for the coming year before taking on the position in the fall of 2021. The treasurer’s report was made by Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, who announced an ending balance for the year would be

$8,470.82 once the $1,000.00 Scholarly Paper Award was made. A suggestion was put forth by Mary Ann of having two Future Scholars annually as the organization had the financial ability to do this. This idea was strongly supported by those in attendance. To conclude, it was noted that ATRA’s virtual conference contained interesting content, as well as an excellent keynote address by NART Fellow Sandra Negley. Finally, it was suggested that NART might partner with ATRA in conducting a mentorship program (NART, 2020).

The 2021 annual meeting of NART was again a Zoom meeting, as the 2020 annual meeting had been due to the pandemic. It was held on September 16, 2021, with 18 Fellows participating. Missy Armstrong called the meeting to order. This was followed by the approval of the minutes of the 2020 annual meeting. Announcements included

(a) requesting members to check the membership list on the NART website for correct addresses, (b) an explanation that dues can be paid by credit card on the website or by check to the Sagamore-Venture Publishing office, and (c) newly elected Fellows were


Vinnie Bonadies and Tameka Battles. The president reported that the by-laws had been updated and approved by the membership. Additionally, selections of the Future Scholar Award winner and the Scholarly Paper Award had been made. Sagamore- Venture Publishing was thanked for maintaining the membership list and website, as well as assisting with mailings, the Scholarly Paper Award, and NART’s finances. Thanks were given to Candy Ashton (for her years of service and work on the bylaws updates), Mary Ann Keogh Hoss (for her work as secretary/treasurer), and Marcia Carter (for her efforts as historian and excellent record keeping). The new officers for 2022 were identified as Wayne Pollock, president; Megan Janke, secretary/treasurer; Missy Armstrong, past-president; and Marcia Carter, historian. The president then reminded members that those interested in serving as officers were encouraged to volunteer. The treasurer’s report indicated a year-ending balance of $9,183.58. Finally, the president announced that NART had 39 Active Fellows, in addition to emeritus members. In old business, Candy Ashton explained that she and Teresa Beck will present on the establishment of the Honor Society at the next annual meeting. In new business, it was announced the NART Scholars were Erica Emery (with Sara Miller as mentor) and Nick Wahl (with Angie Sardina as mentor). Mentors for the scholars are to be recognized with certificates and public acknowledgement for their contributions. Selected for the Scholarly Paper Award were Dawn DeVries and Teresa Beck for their manuscript titled “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Profile of Undergraduate Therapeutic Recreation Students.” Members were encouraged to volunteer to serve on the NART Scholars Program committee and NART Scholarly Paper committee. The final two items dealt with marketing and elections. Several marketing ideas were introduced, including a session at the ATRA annual conference about NART, keeping the NART website up-to-date with information on the articles chosen as Scholarly Papers, placing NART updates in the ATRA Newsletter, and using certificates for awards and actions taken by members. Finally, the proposed slate of officers was unanimously approved (NART, 2021).

In 2021, a compilation of the changes made in the by-laws over the years was provided to the membership (NART By-Laws, 2021). Several significant alterations were apparent when the 2021 by-laws were compared to the original NART by-laws (NART By-Laws, 2011). Under Membership, the number of years for qualifications for membership of Fellows was reduced from 15 years to 10 years and a statement was added that Fellows be encouraged to be ATRA members. The original category of Associate Fellow no longer existed. Instead, the new categories of membership were listed as Active Fellow, Emeritus Fellow, and Inactive Fellow. Under Nomination for Appointment to the Academy, the original by-laws allowed only 20 members to be elected annually. The 2021 by-laws indicated that no more than 25 members shall be elected annually. Under The Board of Directors section, in the 2021 by-laws, the Immediate Past-President was made a member of the board.

NART 2016 to 2021: Summary and Conclusions

The period of 2016 to 2021 was a time when NART appeared to find its footing. Even with the cancellation of the 2017 membership meeting and the pandemic that prohibited face-to-face meetings for two years, NART experienced forward movement, as more Fellows came forward to assume active roles. The Future Scholar Program was realized, a positive action to meet the concern of a severe faculty shortage that had


been an issue expressed during NART’s integral meeting. The Scholarly Paper Program now referred to as the Marcia Carter Scholarly Manuscript Award was developed and implemented. Efforts were begun to establish an honor society for undergraduate students. Budget reports were regularly given at annual meetings. Minutes from membership meetings became more systematic and complete. The by-laws were brought up-to-date and made available to the membership. Finally, an arrangement was made with Sagamore-Venture Publishing to assist NART with logistical matters.

The future contributions of NART to the promotion of the recreational therapy profession appear promising. A priority will be to address the lingering concern for NART to establish a collaborative relationship with ATRA to achieve such outcomes by for example having a NART presence at ATRA Annual meetings and a time for a NART presentation at ATRA’s annual conference, providing NART updates in the ATRA Newsletter, conducting a joint mentorship program, and allowing opportunities to provide advice when requested by ATRA. With a more stable structure NART can work to achieve goals outlined in the by-laws, such as advancing public awareness of recreational therapy, promoting the adoption of evidence-based practice, enhancing educational opportunities to increase the competency levels of practitioners, and recognizing best practices. Finally, there has been little evidence that an esprit de corps has been promoted as an important dimension of membership in the Academy. To promote fellowship, such as holding luncheons, dinners, or even social hours during annual membership meetings, something that had been emphasized by Austin and West when they offered their notions about functions of the Academy (Austin & West, 2011a) can hopefully become a priority.

Summary and Conclusion

The history of NART is one of both setbacks and achievements with room to improve. It is also clear that those receiving the distinction of Fellow Distinguished Recreational Therapist (FDRT) deeply care about the profession of Recreational Therapy. Because of a growing number of members becoming active in the work of NART, the period of 2016 to 2021 saw the building of an infrastructure to support its work and some triumphs in realizing its goals. Particularly noteworthy were the establishment of the Future Scholars Program and the Scholarly Paper Award now referred to as the Marcia Carter Scholarly Manuscript Award. Also notable is that the number of honorees continued to grow so that by 2021 there were 40 Active Fellows and 17 Emeritus Fellows for a total of 57 NART Fellows (NART, 2022).

Although many Fellows performed admirably throughout the years of NART’s existence, Marcia Carter stands out when examining the history of NART. It was Marcia who worked behind the scenes to help develop the basic support system for the functioning of NART by establishing an agreement with Sagamore-Venture Publishing. Happily, it appears that NART has built a solid foundation to serve as a base from which it can continue to flourish and become acknowledged as a highly productive and well-established honor society over the coming decades.



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