Speaker Feature – SMART Retreat

Nathan Lamaster, the founder of SMART CEU’s Hub will be opening the first ever in person SMART Retreat as the keynote speaker on Thurs. evening May 12, 2022 at Bradford Woods, IN. He will be speaking on The Shared History of Recreational Therapy and Behavioral Health. In this session the attendees will learn about how Recreational Therapy developed as a profession, as well as how we entered the Behavioral Health setting. Attendees will learn about the pivots RT has taken along the way and how the Behavioral Health setting became one of our largest employers. Recreational Therapists will take from this session a better understanding of how we can continue to grow in this setting and other settings as well. Nathan has a wealth of knowledge on this topic and it will be an excellent start to a weekend of learning and sharing together.

Other Retreat Sessions:
•     Mindfulness is More Than Meditation: Practices for the Behavioral Health Patient and Practitioner with Holly Eichner
•     Using Behavioral Strategies in TR for Individuals with Autism and Beyond with Kari Kensinger
•     Working with the LGBTQIA+ Community: Considerations and Best Practices for Therapeutic Recreation with Valerie Lazzara Mould
•     An Introduction to PTSD & Trauma-Informed Care for Recreation Therapists with Jordan McIntyre
•     The State of TR in Behavioral Health: A “Campfire” Discussion with the SMART Retreat Committee
•     Laughter as an Intervention for Behavioral Health Patients with Tina Watson
•     Outdoor Recreation Pursuits in Behavioral Health: Utilizing Hiking, Camping, and More in TR with Sammy Petitte
•     Behavioral Health, Recreational Therapy and a Pandemic: What happened When the Whole World Experienced the Same Stressor with Valerie Lazzara Mould

SMART CE Retreat
At Bradford Woods in Martinsville, IN May 12th – 15th, 2022!
Earn Enough CEU’s for the Behavioral Health Specialty Track as an addition to your CTRS credential

Our Valued Partners

Thank You to Our SMART Partners


Karin Chiljian, CTRS SMART Therapist of the Year

Karin has been a Recreation Therapist for over 17 years. She began her work at Fresno County, CA where she worked for 14 years. Currently, Karin provides quality evidence based interventions and therapeutic leisure and recreation programs to VA Central California Health Care System’s veterans in Chemical Dependency Treatment Programs. Karin has a passion for her work that has kept her working hard over the past year as she has had to transition to fully remote work with her clients, offering 1:1 and group sessions, assessments and discharge planning. This has been a challenge, but Karin is determined to do her absolute best to meet the needs of the individuals she serves and maintain a high level of professionalism. She states that she enjoys providing RT services to veterans and seeing them increase their confidence and reach their goals. Karin shared advice to other Recreation Therapists and resources that she has found immensely helpful in her work.

Advice for RT’s
1. Be patient, especially if you are working virtually with clients.
2. Helping clients to apply what they have learned is the most important aspect of RT. It is then that we know we have reached their hearts and souls.
3. Every client can change. We need to help them with what they want to change through teaching them skills and providing recreational opportunities that inspire and engage them in reaching their goals.
4. Take care of yourself. Karin’s hours are long right now but she still carves out time to visit her family and friends and do the things she enjoys like yoga, going for walks, cooking and taking mini trips to the coast. Sometimes self care is as simple as calling a friend and sharing a glass of wine while chatting.

Valuable Resources Recommended by Karin:
1. “Leisure Education Activities for Individuals with Substance Addictions” by Norma J. Stumbo
2. TherapistAid.com—Essential tools for mental health professionals on a variety of topics.
3. “Write to the Source Journaling Guide to Recovery” by Iris Craver
4. “Practicing Mindfulness” by Matthew Sockolov
5. “Art and Healing: Using Expressive Art To Heal Your Body, Mind, and Spirit” by Barbara Ganim


Dr. Angela Sardina, PhD, LRT/CTRS SMART Educator of the Year

Angela started her career by earning a BS in Health Sciences and a concentration in Recreational Therapy with a MS in Parks and Recreation Management with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. After being in the field and supervising many student interns she realized that she wanted to continue her education and expand on the growth she had seen happening with her interns. Angela pursued a PhD in Gerontology and has been teaching Recreation Therapy and Gerontology courses at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for the past five years.

In addition to teaching, Angela continues to do her own research and is proud to be the liaison for the colleges’ 4 plus 1 Department that enables students to earn a bachelors degree in Recreation Therapy and a masters degree in Applied Gerontology in a five year term. She recruits students, advises them and helps them by being on their thesis committee or sometimes chairing their committee. Angela loves to see the light bulb go off in a student’s eyes when they finally make a connection about something they have learned and applied. One student commented, “Dr. Sardina is wonderful. She goes above and beyond to accommodate all students. She pushes us to get into the RT mindset and use the skills we learn. Her feedback on assignments is in-depth and incredibly helpful. Her class is informative, interesting, important, and she has helped us to create a fun and cohesive environment. 5 stars :)”

One of the great joys Angela has as an educator is seeing her students successes after they leave the program; getting their first job, getting promoted and making an impact in the field of Recreation Therapy. She has offered some tips for other RT’s looking to grow their skills as educators.

Angela’s Advice for RT Educators:
1. Find topics you are passionate about to teach and bring your own practical and professional experience to the class. Involving students in research projects you are working on can help to engage them and peak their interest.
2. Be sure to share both the good and the bad experiences you have had as a professional. This helps students connect and see real life applications.
3. Make your classrooms as hands on as possible, getting students up and moving to promote better learning.
4. If you are new to teaching, connect with other instructors who are experienced and really pick their brain for ideas. Be a sponge for everything they can share with you.

Valuable Resources Recommended by Angela:
1. SMART CEU’s Hub
3. Gerontological Society of America
4. RT/TR Facebook group