Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation offers programs for children, teens and adults with disabilities. During this especially challenging time, we strive to continue being a resource for our community through virtual programming and other ways to support individuals and families.
COVID-19 Update: For the latest information, please refer to our FAQ.

Our Programs

We serve individuals with diagnoses that​ include Autism Spectrum disorder, ADD/ADHD, Down syndrome, learning disability, mild to profound intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, hard of hearing, visual or physical disability.​

 














Our Mission

To provide programs and services to individuals with disabilities that will…​
  • Enrich quality of life
  • Meet community needs
  • Enhance skill development, leisure education and recreation participation
  • Increase independence through individualized goals and objectives​ ​​​ ​​​​​​​

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 Our Programs

​​​​Our program offerings vary throughout the year, so be sure to check our online registration system​ for current offerings or send us an email at PRTherapeuticRecreation@vbgov.com​​.  Explore our virtual programs and free resources designed for participants with disabilities to help them engage, educate, and socialize through online camps, fitness classes, social clubs and more. All programs will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing and facilitated by program supervisors.  Stay connected and join our Facebook group.

Virtual Programs

CAMPS

Camp at My Place (CAMP) | June 22 – August 14 
  • Mondays & Wednesdays  1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
  • Fridays  9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (except Friday, July 3) 
Ages 6-14 | This virtual camp provides campers the opportunity to still participate in the activities of summer camp in a safe environment. Participants will have access to all the activities in the programming that could include: arts and crafts, science, nature, fitness, nutrition, exercise, music and dance. On Fridays, there will be “all camp” activities such as virtual field trips, dance party and talent show that everyone will participate in at one time. All classes and activities will be virtual through Zoom. • $50 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)





Camp From My Couch | June 23 – August 14
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays • 9 a.m. – noon 
  • Fridays • 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (except Friday, July 3)
Ages 15 & up | This virtual camp provides campers the opportunity to still participate in the activities of summer camp in a safe environment. Participants will have access to all the activities in the programming that could include: arts and crafts, science, nature, fitness, leisure education, and technology. On Fridays, there will be “all camp” activities such as virtual field trips, dance party and talent show that everyone will participate in at one time. All classes and activities will be virtual through Zoom. • $50 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)



Tiny Pals Camp | July 13 - August 14
  • Mondays 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Fridays 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
A virtual pre-school summer camp that introduces children to a variety of activities including crafts, storytime, movement exploration, nature and music while reinforcing key learning areas. On Fridays, there will be “all camp” activities such as virtual field trips, dance party and talent show that everyone will participate in at one time. All classes and activities will be set up with Zoom links. • $20 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)





FITNESS

Stretch & Grow | July 7 - August 13
Tuesdays & Thursdays • 1:30 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Ages 5-11 | The program will focus on getting kids moving through the use of music and movement exercises. Each workout will include a warm-up, exercises or a game, and a cool down focusing on fun and learning about being healthy. Workout visuals will be created and can be emailed out to the participant's parents so participants can have a visual schedule to follow along with as well as the instructor's video guide. • $15 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)






Fit in Motion - Session 3
 | August 11 – September 10 
  • Tuesdays & Thursday  5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. 
Ages 12 & up |The program will cover strength and cardiovascular endurance training. The strength portions will be using mostly bodyweight exercises, but some weight exercises will be incorporated (supervisors will give alternatives if participants don’t have dumbbells or free weights). Program supervisors will be facilitating and leading the participants through the workouts at a steady introductory pace. Each workout will have coinciding visuals that can be emailed to parents/guardians so participants can have a visual schedule to follow along with the instructor video guide. • $30 | Recreation center membership is not required.






Chair One Fitness | August 12 – September 10 
  • Wednesday  5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. 
  • Thursday  • 5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Ages 15 & up | This virtual program is designed for individuals of all ability levels to engage in seated fitness activities to ensure they remain progressive in daily function. This program delivers a fun, musically driven, interactive, full-body workout that uplifts people through dance and fitness movements. It is a class for all abilities. Each participant will need to have access to a chair without wheels or a wheelchair with brakes—instruction provided by a Certified Chair One Instructor. • $25 | Recreation center membership is not required.

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Virtual Family Trivia Night - Special Event | August 25 
  • Tuesday  11 a.m. – noon 
Ages 13 & up | This virtual event will be a collaboration with Somerset, New Jersey Parks, and Recreation. The participants will experience a wildlife expedition led by a registered Africa safari tour guide. Participants will have the chance to ask questions and socialize. | Recreation center membership is not required.



SOCIAL

Arts at Home: Let's Draw | August 4 – September 8 
  • Tuesdays  3 p.m. – 4 p.m. 
Ages 13 & up | This program is an opportunity for individuals of varying abilities to engage in a series of drawing lessons and activities. The program will be led through Zoom, allowing participants to interact with each other and staff throughout the drawing process. The program will meet online once per week on Tuesdays. Each week, participants will need paper, a pencil, a good eraser, and coloring utensils of their choosing (e.g., crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.)• $15 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)



Arts at Home: DIY (Do It Yourself) | August 6 – September 10 
  • Thursday  3 p.m. – 4 p.m. 
Ages 13 & up | This program is an opportunity for individuals of all abilities to engage in a series of DIY (Do It Yourself) projects utilizing materials that may be found around the home. The program will be led through Zoom to allow participants to interact with each other and staff throughout the creating process. The program will meet online once per week on Thursdays. The crafts and supplies needed will be sent out through email prior to starting the session. • $20 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)



Drawing Social - Special Event | August 26 
  • Wednesday  2 p.m. – 3 p.m. 
Ages 13 & up | This virtual event will be a collaboration with Somerset, NJ Parks, and Recreation. The participants will be led through two drawing activities and have a chance to meet some new friends.  Recreation center membership is not required.






Virtual Family Trivia Night - Special Event | August 28 
  • Friday  6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 
Ages 8 & up |This free special event is family-focused and offers a unique opportunity to work together while competing in a friendly environment. Individuals are welcome to register, as well. This trivia night will be hosted over Zoom, and to maintain the integrity of this event, camera usage is required. Because all members playing should be visible on the screen, it is recommended to use a laptop or tablet. Players will be muted during the rounds to prevent shouting out answers. After each round, each team will submit their answers via a Google form that will be sent in the chat. As the submitted answers are reviewed, families will have the opportunity to socialize with one another. | Recreation center membership is not required.





Therapeutic Recreation programs promote community recreation and are not intended to provide behavior therapy interventions, tools or techniques. Participants will be expected to manage their own behavior with minimal staff intervention and must have a desire to participate in programming. Participants requiring 1:1 assistance are welcome with their own assistant/attendant. (Assistant/attendant serves as a “volunteer” and must adhere to department volunteer policies/procedures; which will include completion of criminal background check).

 Our Staff

​​​​Therapeutic Recreation Programs employ full-time CTRS’s (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists) and part-time paraprofessionals to implement programs and ser​vices. CTRS’s are professionals credentialed through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Part-time staff are paraprofessionals who assist participants during program activities, provide behavioral support and redirection, and assist supervisor with implementation of activities.

Meet Our Full-Time Staff:​

Shannon

Colleen Wittig, Recreation Services and Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator
Received a B.S. in Recreation and Leisure Science with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation from Montclair State University.  Colleen has over 39 years of experience in the field of working with individuals with special needs, 28 of those years in the field of recreation. She is a speaker and trainer on topics such as Americans with Disabilities Act, Creating Naturally Inclusive Environments, Behavior Management, and specific disability awareness. Colleen is currently pursuing her certification as an ADA Coordinator.  Colleen enjoys spending her free time with her family, listening to Jimmy Buffett, fishing and playing golf.​

KathyKathy Williams, CTRS, Recreation Supervisor

Kathy graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. She was born and raised in Virginia Beach and started working for Therapeutic Recreation Programs as a part time staff in 1985. She is actively involved with other organizations that include Virginia Beach 4-H Summer Youth Camp  Program, Virginia Recreation and Park Society (VRPS), and Southeast Recreation Therapy Symposium. In her free time, Kathy enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors and exploring new places.

BillBill Parker, CTRS, Recreation Specialist II

Bill has a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Longwood College. He has over 20 years of experience working in community parks and recreation, with the majority in Therapeutic Recreation Programs. Bill gained invaluable experience through jobs in mental health/substance abuse and residential treatment settings prior to employment with the City of Virginia Beach. He is a certified instructor in the Mandt System and teaches staff the relational and technical skills of this curriculum.  Bill enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and watching baseball/fast pitch softball. 

caitlynCaitlyn Hall, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I​

​​Caitlyn is a graduate of Virginia Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She has been working/volunteering with children with special needs since high school and found her passion for the field of TR while volunteering with the Around Town program and in her internship at Norfolk TR. She started as a volunteer with TR Programs and then held positions as both an activity assistant lea​der and leader. She is also currently certified as a Water Safety Instructor and enjoys working with participants in the TR Learn-to-Swim programs. When not working, she enjoys going to the beach, playing soccer, cheering for the Auburn Tigers and the Atlanta Braves, and spending time with family, friends, and her dogs Beau and Honey (or any dog really).​

CaseyCasey King, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I​

Casey has a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from Virginia Wesleyan College. He is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. He has been working/volunteering with children with special needs since his freshman year of college. He got his passion for the profession from his mother who was a CTRS at VB Psych. He has a background of working in a behavioral health setting as well as community recreation. He has worked part-time for Therapeutic Recreation Programs in all of their programs and was an All Camp Leader for Camp Explore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach, watching & playing baseball, golfing with his dad, traveling, and spending time with his family & friends.​

Ashley Optiz.jpgAshley Opitz, CTRS, Recreation Specialist I
Ashley is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Recreational Therapy through Temple’s online program. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. She has been working/volunteering with individuals with disabilities since her freshman year of college, interned with the City of Virginia Beach Therapeutic Recreation Programs, and worked as an Activity Center Leader prior to her current position. Her passion for the field stems from a desire to help people reach their full potential – and what better way to do that than through recreation and leisure. She also has experience working in a nursing home and assisted living community. When not working, she enjoys going to the beach, engaging in arts projects, playing basketball, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

 Social Stories

Social Stories

Designed exclusively by our very own Therapeutic Recreation & Inclusion Specialist, Social Stories help to explain concepts like the Coronavirus to individuals with autism and early childhood age children and have garnered local and national attention from school systems and other organizations. Download, print, and share!


How Can I Stay Safe During the Coronavirus

I Can Exercise Safely Outside
earth day social story.png
A Social Story About Earth Day

TR Video

Contact Information

 Virginia Beach Parks and Rec. employee helps kids, people with disabilities understand COVID-19

 Upcoming Programs

  • Arts at Home: Let's Draw | August 4 – September 8
  • Arts at Home: DIY (Do It Yourself) | August 6 – September 10 
  • Fit in Motion - Session 3 | August 11 – September 10 
  • Chair One Fitness | August 12 – September 10 
  • Virtual Family Trivia Night - Special Event | August 25
  • Drawing Social - Special Event | August 26 
  • Virtual Family Trivia Night - Special Event | August 28

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