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






FITNESS

Fit in Motion
  • July 7 - August 6 | Tuesdays & Thursdays  5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Ages 12 & up | This 5-week virtual Fitness 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 out to parents/guardians so participants can have a visual schedule to follow along with as well as the instructor video guide. • $30 | Recreation center membership is not required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)





Chair One Fitness
June 30 – August 6 | Wednesdays & Thursdays • 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. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)



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)





SOCIAL

Scavenger Hunt Fun | June 22 – July 27 | Mondays • 2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Ages 5 & up | This virtual program is for individuals with disabilities to engage in scavenger hunts around the house while interacting with other peers. Participants will meet once a week on Zoom, be presented with their scavenger hunt list and move around the house collecting the items. Once the items are collected, participants will share what they have found with the group. This program will get the participants up and moving around the house, cognitively engaged in an activity, and socially interacting with their peers. • This program is FREE | No registration fee or recreation center membership required. (This activity has already started, but registrations are still being accepted)

​​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

*All programs have already started and some are still accepting registration. Please continue to check back for more programs starting soon. 

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