Awards & Recognition

2023 Outstanding Member

This recognition is for a URTA member who has made a significant contribution during the past year by promoting the profession, practice, and philosophy of Recreation Therapy. 

Jaime Cogswell

As a masters level recreation therapist this individual has become an invaluable asset to her team and the profession as a whole; showing up with whole hearted engagement for not only the patients she serves but also for the department. She has guided students through various clinical rotations and internships, strengthening their RT foundation and other professional skills. When our department is in need of extra help, she goes above and beyond to support coworkers, and her energy and passion for the profession are contagious. She is innovative, creative, approachable, caring and compassionate; engaging patients with skillfully planned interventions that are not only FUN but effective. This person carries a positive attitude and boundless energy with her as she works to have a meaningful impact in her patient’s lives - her strengths and abilities have made a profound impact on everyone she comes in contact with.

Past Outstanding Members

2022: Christine Savides 

2021: Alyssa Beers

2020: Heather Brown

2019: Sophie Wolfe


2017: Kami Houck

2016: Jeremiah Cox

2015: Joe Walker

Monica Dixon

Laura Bennion

2007: Steven Bell

2004: Shauna Smith

2003: Mauria Tanner

2002: Kerri Ashcroft

2001: Janeal Ford

2000: Fran Wilby

1999: Kelly Dysart

1998: Chris Forsdick

1997: Susan Call

1996: Janice Larsen

1995: Scott Dorsey

1994: Trish Jensen

1993: Sydney Post

1992: Jody Jacobs

1991: Eleanor Houston

1990: Jane Daniels

1989: Trish DeYoung

1988: Gary Ethington

1987: Sandra Negley

1986: Sandra Negley & Pas Strasser

1985: Sandra Negley & Mary Morris

2023 Distinguished Service

This award is for an individual who has helped the profession of Recreation Therapy grow through a lifetime of commitment and service. 

No nomination this year


Past Distinguished Service

2022: Kami Archibald 

2021: Charles Wilson

2020: Ramon Zabriskie

2019: Keith Barney

2018: Jamie Bennett


2016: Karie Swensen

Pat Park

Sandy Negley

Syd Post

Mauria Tanner

2006: Michele Beal

2004: Trish DeYoung

2003: Michele Beal

2002: Eleanor Till

2001: Jeri Claspill

2000: Janice Larsen

1999: Jackie Welch

1998: Trish DeYoung

1997: Gary Ethington

1996: Cathy Morris

1995: Connie Molitor

1994: Frankie Draidfort

1993: Trish Jensen

1992: Sandra Negley

1991: Jesse Carter

1990: Leland Slaughter

1989: Ann Stacey

1988: John Clift

1987: Boyd Call

1986: Clark Thorstenson

1985: Sydney Post

2023 Outstanding Program

This award is for an individual, group, or institution which has developed a TR program to improve the quality of life of the clients served. Criteria may include longevity, communication of ideas to others, professionalism and the education and enhancement of those involved. 

Rachel Taggart


Past Outstanding Programs

2022: Ensign Services Recreation Therapy 

2021: Crescent Senior Living- Katherine Wright

2020: BYU TR Program

2019: Behavioral Health Center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center


2017: Brighton Recovery Center

2016: University of Utah - Sandy Negley and Steve Bell

Copper Hills Youth Center

National Ability Center


Maple Lake Academy

Westridge Academy

2023 Community Service

This award recognizes an individual who has helped and promoted Recreation Therapy although he or she is not a Recreation Therapist. This may have been done through volunteerism, legislative or policy support, offering programs, or other significant contribution. 

Jim Dunnigan

This individual sponsored HB 0315 The Recreational Therapy Medicaid Coverage Amendment. As the bill came up on the House Floor, he consistently reiterated the power of recreational therapy, the importance of licensed therapists and the credentialing we require. He went out of his way to find members of URTA to gain a greater understanding of RT and how the bill would impact consumers. His defense was thorough and well-prepared and he carried the bill successfully through the state house.

Past Community Service

2022: Zac Bramble

2021: Ross VanVranken

2020: Dr. Kent Roundy

2019: Malissa Morrell



2016: BYU Therapeutic Recreation Club

Salt Lake County Adaptive

National Ability Center

Senator Gene Davis

Dirk Anjewierden

Therapy Animals of Utah

Intermountain Therapy Animals

2004: UT Healthcare Association and Sen. Gene Davis

2003: Shawna Peterson

2002: Terri Danburg

2001: Snowbird

2000: Intermountain Therapy Animals

1999: Brent Armstrong

1998: Dr. Paul Whitehead

1997: Dr. L. Dale Cruise

1996: Diana Taylor

1995: Larry Garlock

1994: Maxine Peterson

1993: Alma Heaton

1992: Rep. Gene Davis & Rep. Brent Haymond

1991: Dave Fairhurst

1990: Glenda Solomon

1989: Bill Peterson

1988: Mary Pylley

1987: Herb Russell

1986: Senator Richard Carling

1985: Camp Kostopulos

2023 Legacy

This award is for an individual who is leaving behind a legacy as a result of their contributions to the profession of Recreation Therapy and the Utah Recreation Therapy Association with passion and commitment throughout their career as a recreational therapist as determined by the URTA Board of Directors.

Sandra Negley


Keith Barney


Past Legacy

2023: Sandra Negley and Keith Barney