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Image of Adam and wife outdoors. TR logo is in bottom left.

Name: Adam Fitzpatrick

Role: Manager, Sport and Recreation

Why TR? I have a passion for recreation and believe it can increase the quality of our lives

During lockdown: I have made sure I make time for daily exercise, quality work time and quality play (playing with my dog, cards, video games, reading- whatever is bringing me joy in that moment)! Play is so important for my health as it allows for an outlet when feeling stressed, allows me to be creative and have fun.

Adams Tip for recreation and leisure during COVID: "Don’t worry about trying something new or learning a new skill- it might be your new passion!"


Kelsey and her partner walking outside on a snowy trail

Name: Kelsey Ford

Role: Manager, Thrive Programs and Services 

Why TR? I am passionate about TR because there is no right or wrong way to participate in recreation. Recreation provides opportunities for important benefits such as social wellbeing, physical health and discovery of new leisure pursuits in a comfortable environment. 

During lockdown: I have prioritized recreation by trying new things such as making new recipes with my family, going on hikes with my boyfriend and participating in virtual calls with my friends!  Staying connected with our networks and being active during these times is so important for both our mental and physical health.  

Kelsey’s tip for recreation and leisure during COVID: Set a routine with things that bring you joy and stick ith it! Consistency is key and having a routine encourages motivation, healthy habits and fun! 

Jamie takes a picture with her black dog outdoors

Name : Jaime Ayres 
Role: Recreation Therapist 
Why TR? I am very passionate about TR because it helps to improve functioning, health and well-being and of course a better quality of life. 

During lockdown:
I have made sure to make time to do things that make me happy, as it is so important to find that time during this pandemic. For me, I spend a lot of time walking my dog during this lockdown. Getting out of the house and breathing in fresh air is so refreshing. I am lucky that I have great trails around my house, so my dog and I like to take different routes to keep it interesting. If im not walking my dog, my family and I play a lot of card games. We are all pretty competitive, so it gets pretty intense!

Jaime’s tip for recreation and leisure during COVID: Make sure you make the time in your day to get outside or do something that makes you happy. For me, going on a walk and getting fresh air really helps clear my mind.

Katie performing a yoga move with a partner

Name: Katie Fairweather
Role: Recreation Therapist 
Why TR? I enjoy helping clients get back to their previous leisure pursuits, find new adapted recreation, create meaningful community connections, and maintain healthy lifestyles. 

During Lockdown:
Lots of Yoga!
Besides being a Yoga teacher, the practice allows me to stay grounded and find mental clarity. I am able to support my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through one leisure activity, which is pretty cool! The benefits from practicing yoga affect each person in different ways. Many find that it helps them relax while others find themselves feeling healthier and more energetic. 

Katie’s tip for recreation and leisure during COVID: Keep things simple! 

Veronica poses for a picture with a smiling friend
Name: Veronica Vander Baaren
Role: Lead, Thrive Adult Day Program
Why TR? I am passionate about TR because it is a field that supports mental/physical health and overall well-being, while also celebrating our uniqueness and catering to individual needs. There are no rules when it comes to YOUR recreation.

During Lockdown…
Especially during this time, it is easy for the line that separates work and leisure to blend together. I have made sure to keep a consistent routine that involves recreation in my daily life. For me, I make sure to move my body and get outdoors every day. Whether I am going on a full-day hike, a walk around my neighbourhood, or simply walking to the mailbox, I make the time to get out and get moving! You will be surprised by how much the fresh air can improve our mood and energy levels!

Veronica’s tips for recreation and leisure during COVID:
Don’t feel pressure to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. We can be so hard on ourselves, especially when we see or hear what others have accomplished during the lockdown. We are all moving at a different pace, so don’t compare yourself to others! Find something you enjoy, and slowly implement it into your daily life.

Nicole smiles sitting at her desk holding up a piece of her abstract artwork

Name: Nicole D’Cunha
Role: Recreation Therapist
Why TR?: I am passionate about TR because I have a deep passion for helping people and empowering others to live a full life despite any barriers or limitations. I feel honoured to be helping individuals overcome barriers, engage in meaningful leisure, be resilient, and most importantly, regain a more positive outlook on life.

During lockdown…
I have found ways to prioritize my mental well-being and practice self-care. Being stuck at home has made me create a consistent routine that includes self-care. Although self-care means different things to different people, some activities I like to do include adult colouring, listening to podcasts, journaling, reading self-development books and puzzles. I try and do at least one of these activities each day as it helps me focus on myself and take time to enjoy the little things in life. Self-care has especially kept me sane during this pandemic!
Nicole’s tips for recreation and leisure during COVID…
Your self-care matters!
This pandemic is a challenging time but keeping busy and making self-care a priority can help. Allow it to be fun, guilt-free, enjoyable, and nourishing. You know what is best for you—give yourself permission to take some “me time”. Your mind and body will thank you!

Kaitlin does a handstand on a mountain with water and a bridge in the background
Name: Kaitlin McCaul
Role at Abilities Centre: 
Program Instructor, Thrive Adult Day Program 
Therapeutic Recreation Facilitator 
Future Recreational Therapist (Current Student)

Why did you choose to be in the TR field:
I have developed a passion for TR through many experiences and meaningful interactions with individuals who hold a close place in my heart. I have a strong passion of helping and assisting others to reach their full potential through fun, interactive and meaningful programs while maximizing their independence and overall well-being. The field of TR is something that has recently sprouted in my life and from various volunteer experiences at the Abilities Centre I knew this is what I wanted to do. Sharing my creative mind, likable personality and buckets of energy to everyone!

How do you incorporate TR in your life (during this lockdown):
I have a strong passion for physical activity and fitness. During lockdown it was extremely difficult to find motivation and inspiration to push myself to be physically active but if there’s a will there’s a way! I found myself designing at home HIIT workout sessions to participate in myself and even have shared it virtually with friends. I also found myself getting outside more, enjoying the lovely outdoors and embracing nature! Traveling has also always been something I’ve tried to incorporate in my life but unfortunately had to be put on pause! I also have a background in gymnastics, so don’t be surprised if you see me upside down walking on my hands! The benefits of these many activities allows for play, which is #1 in TR! These activities also highlight the importance of our overall health and well being, not to mention meaningful interaction and participation in an activity of our choice!

Tip for participating in recreation and leisure during Covid:
1 tip for participating in recreation and leisure during COVID would be to always be open to new ideas and activities! This is the time to be creative, try something new and safe that is outside of your norm and comfort zone! Don’t be afraid to take chances and focus on your health and wellness!

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