National Activity Professional’s
Week – Give the Gift of Education!
What I Learned at the 2009 National Association of Activities
Professionals Conference
Debbie Fitzgerald, COTA
Activities Coordinator, Martha & Mary Health Center

   How to describe, briefly, my recent experience at the national gathering
for activities professionals?  I found the answer in the subtitle of Activity
Director Today: “Encouragement, Education and Empowerment from the
Pros”.  That is exactly what I received at this conference:  the best advice
from the best professionals.
   The atmosphere at this conference is just what one would expect; lively
and energetic with friendly, dedicated mentors everywhere.  I left every
workshop with stacks of notes and business cards from new friends.  At
every meal, someone at a table called “I have an extra seat, come sit here”.
An hour later I had a colleague in New England or an invitation to visit a
facility in British Columbia.  
   The workshops I attended were excellent and well presented.  I
thoroughly enjoyed shopping at the vendor fair and returned with a
suitcase full of new resources and books.  I was particularly excited to meet
authors I have read and developers of programs I use.  It was very exciting
to tell one author that I use her resource daily and how much it helps me;
and it was humbling when she asked me exactly how I use her book and
how it has helped me serve residents.  I was also surprised at how much I
loved touring the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe; I was very impressed
by the landscape and the area’s history.
   In addition to two keynote speakers, I attended six sessions regarding
specifics of culture change, establishing relationships in order to write
better assessments and care plans, engaging those with dementia in their
environments, & adapting programs for lower functioning residents.   
   Some of the programs I learned and/or purchased at conference are
listed below.  I look forward to using them on the Marina Unit!

  • Culture Change.   I’m ready for it.  I’ve already begun changing
    around the furniture in the Marina TV room.
  • Assessments & Care Planning.  I have begun using some of the
    communication techniques and improved my ability to establish
    rapport during initial assessments.  I also think I am writing stronger,
    more individual-centered care plans.
  • Time Management  Amidst all the culture change, care planning, &
    new ideas, I know how to stay focused & avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Programs for those with dementia and/or lower functioning residents.  
    I learned many techniques for communication and helping these
    residents participate to the best of their abilities.
  • Purchased new resources for sensory stimulation, one-to-one visits,
    travelogues, reminiscing, & table games.

Thank you for supporting my attendance at this conference and the
opportunities to improve my skills and better serve the residents of Martha
and Mary!
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About NAAP
Founded by Activity Professionals
for Activity Professionals...

NAAP is the only national group that
represents activity professionals in geriatric
settings exclusively. NAAP serves as a
catalyst for both professional and personal
growth and has come to be recognized by
government officials as the voice of the
activity profession on national issues
concerning long-term care facilities,
retirement living, assisted living, adult day
services, and senior citizen centers. NAAP
is nationwide in scope with a growing
membership in Canada and Bermuda.

The National Association of Activity
Professionals recognizes the following

The quality of life of the
client/resident/participant/patient served is
the primary reason for our services.

The strength of NAAP lies in the diversity of
its members.  NAAP recognizes the rich
cultural, and educational backgrounds of its
members and values the variety of
resources represented.

The strength of NAAP also lies in the
development and promotion of scientific
research which further defines and supports
the activity profession.

NAAP values the development and
maintenance of coalitions with
organizations whose mission is similar to
that of NAAP's for the purposes of
advocacy, research, education, and
promotion of activity services and activity

NAAP values members who become
involved at the state and national level to
promote professional standards as well as
encourage employers to recognize them as

NAAP affords Activity Professionals across
the country the opportunity to speak with a
common voice...

NAAP successfully worked with members of
Congress to secure a change in the nursing
home reform title of the 1987 Omnibus
Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA).
Through our efforts, it became mandatory
that an activity program, directed by a
qualified professional, be provided in every
nursing home that receives Medicare
and/or Medicaid funds.

NAAP was the only professional activity
association to participate in HCFA's
workgroups that revised OBRA's interpretive
guidelines now in effect.

NAAP provides assistance at the state level
to promote certification of activity
professionals, working toward uniform
professional standards for activity practice.
NAAP Mission
To provide excellence
in support services to
activity professionals
through education,
advocacy, technical
assistance, promotion of
standards, fostering of
research, and peer and
industry relations.
There are so many benefits when you
belong to NAAP!  Each member will
receive a newsletter which will give the
updated reports on Government Relations,
Special Interests, International Updates,
Professional Development, Nominations,
Standards of Practice, Financial Updates
and a Membership Report. Along with this
comes an update from our President, Susan
Rauch and Executive Director Irene Taylor.

Members will also receive a discounted rate
at the Annual Conference which is held in
March/April of each year.

Effective JAN 1, 2006 membership dues are:
  • Active Membership = $59 USD
  • Associate Membership = $65 USD
  • International Membership (outside
    US) = $65 USD
  • Student Membership = $49 USD
  • Supportive Membership = $99 USD

Email us for more information at

Join Now!
Click Here to Download a
Membership Application
P.O. Box 5530
Sevierville, TN 37864
phone (865) 429-0717        
fax (865) 453-9914        


PLEASE NOTE: Any opinion, advice,
statements, offers or other information or
contents expressed or made herein by third
parties is neither endorsed nor adopted by
the National Association of Activity
Professionals unless otherwise stated. NAAP
is neither responsible for nor warrants the
accuracy or reliability of any such opinion,
advice, information or statement made or
offered by third parties in this publication
(website). NAAP has the right, but not the
obligation, to monitor and review the
content that it feels violates the terms of its
understanding with the third party: violates
the policies and purposes of NAAP; or is
defamatory or otherwise deemed


PLEASE NOTE: The articles set forth in this
publication are for informational purposes
only. Nothing contained herein shall be
construed as legal advice. The statements
made herein are those of the respective
authors and are not necessarily an
expression of the views of NAAP.