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by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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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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Activity Questions
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

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For the times, they are a-changin…
By Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

As a second wave baby boomer, I never liked Bob Dylan.  However, looking back at his
trademark song – I realize the man is not only wise, but timeless.  The activity
profession is currently surrounded by the waters of change and as Dylan suggests “you
better start swimmin' Or you'll sink like a stone”.   The MDS 3.0, the culture change
movement, the universal worker concept, reduced funding for health care, and
increased expectations from regulatory agencies are a few of the pressing issues
facing our profession.  Will the activity professional allow others to define our path and
tell us where we belong? Or will we assume responsibility for our future and define our
own destiny?

As a new profession, we have been working hard to find our voice and be heard.  Our
profession has grown rapidly and we have gained considerable respect for the good
works we do, in the short amount of time we have existed.  However, we have reached a
turning point and as Dylan says “Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall for
he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled.”   It is time for our profession to assert
ourselves during these waters of change and join forces to define our role in the days to

The National Certification Council of Activity Professionals, in collaboration with the
Coalition of Activity Professionals, is inviting all activity professionals to participate in
shaping a brighter future for those who serve the elderly population.  NCCAP and COAP
are hosting a Call to Action Meeting on November 13th, 2010 in Raleigh Durham, North
Carolina.  The meeting will offer open and active networking, information sharing and
collaboration on the following topics:
  • ~Where we are as an industry
  • ~Where we are as a profession
  • ~The initial intent of the “Universal Worker”
  • ~The need to assure continued recognition as a profession in light of the MDS
  • ~Assess where we are for state and national regulatory compliance
  • ~The future of the Activities Profession and the Recreation/Activities Professional
  • ~What NCCAP needs to do toward the future
  • ~Collaboration of other associations as well as NCCAP of where we should be
    as an industry
  • ~Strategic planning of NCCAP, National Associations, State Associations and
    others for the future of the Activities Profession

This meeting is open to any and all activity/recreation professionals concerned about
the future of the profession.  It will be an open meeting, not limited by membership or
certification, and promote constructive dialog intended to drive our future and strengthen
our profession.  Dylan says “don’t criticize what you can’t understand”.  In times of
change, we need to work together toward common goals.  This meeting is an
opportunity to identify and define those goals as a united front.  The organizers of the
meeting are investigating opportunities to secure input from activity professionals all
over the country, through live streaming of the meeting, input via e-mail and regional
meetings.  This initial meeting is just the beginning of a combined effort which will
serve not only our needs as a profession but ensure the elderly with whom we work
receive the best services possible.  

Please visit the NCCAP announcement board on the NCCAP site ( or
the Official NCCAP page on Facebook for information.  You may also contact for a brochure or additional information about the
meeting.  Keep in mind Dylan’s final advice “Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get
out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.  For the times they are a changing”.  I, for
one, am looking forward to working together with other activity professionals, in building
this new road to the future.