Therapeutic Recreation: Community Involvement

Faculty Mentor

Emily Messina

Document Type

PowerPoint or Text of Presentation

Publication Date



Physical Education, Health and Recreation


As of September 2017, 560,200 Veterans lived in the state of Washington. One of the leading challenges facing Veterans is re-integration back into their communities (Sayer, 2010). Team River Runner (TRR) is one program developed to address this challenge. Founded in 2004 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Team River Runner offers weekly paddling sessions in more than 60 locations across the nation (https://www.teamriverrunner.org/about-us/). This winter, students from the EWU Therapeutic Recreation and Mechanical Engineering programs have found the ability to connect course content to real-world application and make an impact on these individuals’ lives. _x000D_ The current partnership was established between Team River Runner, the EWU Therapeutic Recreation Academic Program, and EWU EPIC Adventures, to match interested veterans with student volunteers and access to the pool and equipment. From this, an interdisciplinary project began to evolve when the Mechanical Engineering program added a capstone project to design adapted kayaking equipment for the participants. Each organization and program has been able to bring specific design and usability expertise and ideas to collaborate in a problem-based project and develop a real-world solution that could potentially provide expanded recreational opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities. The interdisciplinary partnership has resulted in various prototypes of an adaptive rowing paddle. The end designs have had an initial level of evaluation and all partners continue to meet and build on this foundation. This session will demonstrate the teams’ work.