Awards & Recognition

2022 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.

Christine Savides

This individual is kind, empowering and teaches others to be confident in their abilities as a recreation therapist. This individual is an absolute RT powerhouse. This individual uses evidenced based interventions on the daily and gives great care and attention to detail when it comes to patients. This individual knows every single name of the 80 patients in the facility. This individual creates a welcoming and inspiring group environment. This individual listens to the patients needs and is so adaptable to what interventions will have the greatest impact for them. From connecting with adolescents to working with our high acuity unit, this individual uses recreation therapy to teach and process with the patients how to cope and feel empowered when dealing with their own challenges associated with mental health. On our CD/Addiction unit this individual frequently helps patients to reconnect with leisure activities that were let go to prioritize alcohol or drug abuse. This individual also uses a handful of fun team building interventions to teach how to communicate needs that often leave our patients wondering how such a fun group, could be so impactful. Listen, this individual is one in a million. This individual advocates daily for recreation therapy with hospital staff and teaches everyone about the benefits of it. This individual is constantly reading RT books and searching out new interventions to try with the patients. Not to mention, this individual is excellent at deescalating patients just by listening because of the positive rapport that has been created. This individual is genuine, loving, and sees the patients as real people. This individual is passionate about Recreation Therapy programming specifically in mental health facilities and finding interventions that are safe and impactful for mental health patients. Last year during URTA she created and started a Facebook page as a mental health RT intervention resource for RT’s (Inpatient Mental Health: Recreational Therapy Resources) that has now grown to over 850+ members with RTs from all over the entire US. This individual is such an asset to the RT community and the impact is now reaching across state lines. This Facebook page specifically, allows RTs to collaborate and share interventions that are both safe and fun.

Past Outstanding Members

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

2022 Distinguished Service

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

Kami Archibald

This individual has worked for decades in consulting in long term care, and has done so much above and beyond just that. This individual has trained and mentored decades worth of TRTs, TRSs and MTRSs, including those that are considered top in their setting. This individual has taught both initially, and also continually mentoring and supervising practitioners and their programs. This individual advocates tirelessly for RT, presenting state-wide for LTC Administrators about RT and constantly correcting "Activities" to "Rec Therapy." This individual even casually approached the head of the Utah market in a nationwide company, promoting the profession and getting him on board, thus creating state- and market-wide positions to install and oversee RT in the whole State's network of care centers, elevating programming from "just activities" to meaningful, therapeutic programs. This individual also provides training and CEU's simply to be of service. This individual is an incredible, supportive mentor, always lifting those she works with to be better, expand their skills and pushes them to improve, and does it all with compassion.

Past Distinguished Service

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

2022 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.

Ensign Services Recreation Therapy

This program is a network of care centers across America, with a strong presence throughout Utah. The field of long-term care has been particularly difficult to work in through the last two years, and the Rec. Therapists of this company have risen to the challenge. Across all of Utah, the TRT's and TRS's of these care centers have continued to show up, adapt and elevate their programming. Though they were already providing excellent care with continual improvement, this group has banded together to share resources, brainstorm and uplift each other. There have been zoom meetings, chat groups and even free training for each other to ensure that all are supported and thriving. Furthermore, this company has embraced the recognition of Recreation Therapy over Activities and is striving to prove it to their RT's, and Admins too. Last year, the company-wide reading (for all management. not just RT) was a book supporting the use of activities and outdoors. All of this being driven by the Rec Therapists of the company, from top to bottom.

Past Outstanding Programs

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

2022 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.

Zac Bramble

This individual has done a superb job in his legislative work to maintain RT licensure. This individual has worked really hard to understand what RT is, where RT professionals work, the RT process, and the amazing services RT professionals provide. From there, this individual has made a special effort to educate our legislators about the important work we do and the importance of protecting our clients, their constituents. This individual has held countless meetings with stakeholders and kept URTA leadership informed every step of the way. This individual has supported URTA and the RT profession in the State of Utah in so many ways, and we are so grateful for all of the contributions this past year. Thank you for caring about the work we do and spreading the RT love up on Capitol Hill!

Past Community Service

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