(Our Recreation Department: Papapa, Coach Thomas and Chris)
Introduction: At AK Child & Family, we recognize the impact physical movement has on the mind and body, and how therapeutic recreation can lead to improved mental health. Key elements within our therapeutic recreation program are the development of self confidence, teamwork, healthy sportsmanship and strengthening body and spirit. Our goal is to expose youth to many different activities and provide them with opportunities to develop habits for lifelong healthy living. Recently our Recreation Department has incorporated a new therapeutic activity (live action role playing) that our students are enjoying.
Live Action Role Playing (LARP) engages students in their interests and embraces the trauma informed care model.
LARP encourages creative thinking and problem solving.
Therapeutic recreation exercises the mind as well as the body. Students brainstorm ideas for their characters and experiences, and this can be a mechanism to assist youth with engaging in treatment (by connecting with students on their level and incorporating treatment and life lessons through a medium they are comfortable with.)
An example would be the student who has modeled his character after a king: discussion could be had about what traits make a good king and what kind of morals, ethics, etc that a king should have and why.
LARP encourages individuality and imagination, and the students have built camaraderie with each other through role playing.
“It started with students that maybe did not participate as much in traditional physical/recreational activity requesting this activity to growing very quickly into something we facilitate for two units in the rotation with their regular programming. It was just about finding a way to format this activity for the youth that we work with.”
“Larping was a good way to get others to move around. They enjoyed it, I enjoyed it. I thought it was just a game but it was actually a more active game which involves your mind and imagination. I like it very much.”
Larping offers a unique and interesting, as well as entertaining, way to engage in physical activity. Great way to engage the imagination, I love it!! ”
(Here are a few images that the students posed for while in costume... while Halloween does seem to bring out the costume/superhero theme a bit more, the students are encouraged to dress up and bring props for the mythical characters that they create through LARP. In this case it seems they are ninjas!)