Debbie Hommel's A.D. Tips
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by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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DEBBIE HOMMEL
Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
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Five Things I Learned at the 3rd Annual NCCAP
Symposium
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

The National Certification Council of Activity Professionals recently conducted their third
annual Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This year celebrated NCCAP’s 25th year
anniversary of certifying activity professionals throughout the United States.   Over 100
NCCAP certified individuals joined together for two days of education, networking and
celebration.    It is difficult to find the words that can adequately express the great sense
of pride and appreciation I gained through participating in this annual event.    The
symposium is designed for consultants, educators and MEPAP instructors.  Many of the
sessions focused on teaching and related topics.  The opening and closing session
speakers offered inspiring messages about leadership and professional growth.  Here
is a summary of some of the key points I took away from the symposium.

1.         Although we are a young profession, we are a strong profession.  Many
symposium participants reflected back to the days when the “Three B’s” (Bingo, Bible
Study and Birthday Parties) were the mainstay of programming.  In the 30+ years our
profession has been a profession, we have grown incredibly.  The growth can be
attributed to the hard work and vision of many “activity pioneers”, as well as the National
Certification Council of Activity Professionals.    Nancy DeBolt, one of the earlier NCCAP
Board members, made a special visit via Skype to the Anniversary Party.  She reminded
us to remain true to our standards and to keep “activities relevant”.  

2.        NCCAP is now international.  Through the years, there have been NCCAP
certified members in Canada and scattered countries.  Most recently, the MEPAP class
was taught in Bermuda by Cindy Bradshaw, ED of NCCAP.  Completing the class
enabled 20 Bermudians to become NCCAP certified.  Two of these certified individuals
attended the NCCAP symposium and the MEPAP Instructor Training.  Their goal is to
continue training activity professionals, not only in Bermuda but many of the
surrounding islands in their region.  This increase in internationally certified members
solidifies the organization’s role as an international certifying body, to be called INCCAP-
InterNational Certification Council of Activity Professionals.

3.        Two new vendors were a part of the vendor showcase.  LifeBio is a reminiscence
and relationship building program. Through the use of their materials (images, easy to
create books and tools), active reminiscing, memory sharing and recording can occur.  
Visit their web site at www.lifebio.com    Linked Senior is a senior friendly digital
entertainment system.  It offers trivia, books, spiritual support, and a variety of other
programs.  As a baby boomer, I would find this program appealing.  Their web site is
www.linkedsenior.com

4.        The Best Practice Award recipients made wonderful presentations on their
programs.  “Seniors for Soldiers” is a model program developed by Jayne Crussell
from Mapel Knoll Communities in Ohio.  Her facility adopted the local National Guard
unit through a variety of programs.  The residents and staff continued to write to the
soldiers when they were deployed to Afghanistan.  For information about the program,
you can contact Jayne at crussell-jayne@mkcommunities.org    The Celebrity Chef
program was presented by Bryan Rife of Golden Living Center in Charlotte, NC.   Each
month, a special chef would cook his/her special dish for the residents.  One month,
had Miss North Carolina International making stuffed French toast while another month
had two culinary school trained chefs from a local restaurant making a big vat of chili.  
The residents were involving in assisting the celebrity chefs prepare the food as well as
enjoying the results.  The visual presentations of both programs were heartwarming
and inspiring.  In the words of one of Bryan’s residents – “we come here to keep on
living”.  

5.        I have always been a proud NCCAP certified activity professional.  This
symposium not only reminded me of how far we have come as a profession but how
we need to continue on the path to higher levels of professionalism and respect.  Clear
and consistent standards, a strong educational component and now an internationally
recognized certification process have contributed to our growth as a profession.  With
the implementation of the National Exam in January, 2012 – new applicants to the
certification process will be asked to meet a higher standard.  However, with each
added standard, there are always a few who feel they should be exempt.  I am
reminded of the words of Dr. Teena Cahill, keynote speaker (www.teenacahill.com) ,
who said we need to look at life more from a perspective of opportunity rather than
privilege.  NCCAP certification is not a privilege but something to be earned or an
opportunity to be met.  Making the most of this opportunity and fulfilling the standards
without compromise - is what gives our profession and certification process validity and
merit.  

For information about NCCAP and the certification process, visit
www.nccap.org or e-
mail
debbiehommel@comcast.net