Access Rec Fall Conference: Thursday, October 26th

Beyond networking — we’re building the relationships that promote collaboration.

Access Rec conferences are a mix of professional development and planting seeds of collaboration. This community of practice is dedicated to improving and enhancing recreation opportunities for people with disabilities — together. Join us for a day of learning, brainstorming, and meeting people who GET what you do!

Thursday, October 26th
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

at the Hilton Garden Inn
450 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA**Exterior of Hilton Garden Inn, Waltham

Click here to register!

CEUs available*

General Session: Getting to Recreation: Accessible Transportation Strategies

Lack of transportation is perhaps the single largest barrier to accessing recreation opportunities. In this general session, Rachel Fichtenbaum, Mobility Manager for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, will share information on a range of transportation services available around the state. Discover creative approaches organizations are taking to improve mobility options – and opportunities to get involved. You will also hear from a Linda Shepard Salzar, a Travel Trainer with the MBTA who helps people with disabilities develop the knowledge and skills they need to ride the MBTA bus, subway, and commuter rail independently and safely. Bring your questions!


As the EOHHS Mobility Manager at MassMobility, Rachel Fichtenbaum helps organizations across Massachusetts improve mobility and access for seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income commuters. Prior to joining MassMobility in 2011, she worked in workforce development. She has a Master’s of Public Policy in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University.

Linda Shepard Salzer has served as a Travel Trainer in the Greater Boston area since 2013, and previously in Sacramento. Linda is English/Spanish bilingual, has experience writing social stories, and created a tactile map of the T. Linda currently works for MBTA Travel Training, a program of Innovative Paradigms.


Breakout Sessions

Preparing for Summer Camp: Paperwork, Policies, and Procedures

Libby Brockman, MPHAnna Wood, M.S., CTRSLibby Brockman, MPH & Anna Wood, M.S., CTRS

Join us as we discuss all things related to summer camps that serve individuals with different abilities and/or special health care needs. From specialized camps to inclusion programs, we will provide an in-depth look at what it takes to be thoroughly prepared to run a summer camp program. Topics to discuss will include camp policies and procedures, state regulations and other accrediting bodies, risk management plans, staff hiring/training, health care policies, and program marketing. Don’t feel like you have to recreate the wheel — bring your forms, policies, job descriptions and questions, and we’ll workshop them together.


Lobbying on a Dime

Jennifer Higgins, PhD.Jennifer Higgins, Ph.D.

This presentation will provide participants with an introduction to lobbying and advocacy from the Director of Research and Policy at the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP). Participants will learn about advocacy methods and skills, the legislative calendar and points in time when interaction is most impactful, and the distinct roles of self-advocates versus the agency.



Beyond Inclusion: Recreation as a Pathway to Friendships between People With and Without Disabilities

Jim RossJim Ross

Great gains have been made over the last several decades to support people with disabilities to be in their communities. We see that where people live (fewer institutions, more homes in neighborhoods), learn (many more children with disabilities in public schools), work (closing sheltered workshops has created more opportunities for real work) and play.  But this move towards “inclusion” often ends with just physical presence by the person with a disability; they are not truly “of” their community.  This session will explore the importance of friendships between people with and without disabilities and how recreation—in its broadest sense—can be used to support the development of those relationships. Brainstorming at this session will help The Arc of Massachusetts develop a “Making Friends Through Recreation Toolkit” for parents and providers.


Creating a Culture that Retains Volunteers: A Panel Discussion

Charles Baldwin (Mass Cultural Council), Brenda Kennedy Davies (Outdoor Access), Rachael Nease (deCordova Museum), and Julia Spruance (Waypoint Adventure), panelists

What happens after you get volunteers in the door and engaged through orientation and training? In this session, hear the creative ways that organizations from different sectors keep volunteers engaged long-term. Whether creating a culture that values volunteer input, providing opportunities to grow and contribute, ensuring they understand the impact they are making, or the systems that underlie volunteer programs, this panel discussion will provide you with many ideas to take back to your setting! Please feel free to bring any forms you think are working well for your organization to share during facilitated small group discussion time.


Laura’s Step-by-Step Service Animal Screening System

Laura GrunfeldLaura Grunfeld

Perturbed by the pets attending your gathering that are falsely presented as service or emotional support animals? Do you need clarity on the service animal laws? When pets are brought to your gathering it can be dangerous for other attendees. In an unfamiliar environment, animals that are not highly trained sometimes become excited, scared, out of control, and even aggressive. As the host, it is your responsibility to do all that you can do to help protect the rights of people with disabilities and protect all of your attendees, both two and four-legged. Laura Grunfeld will help you learn more about the requirements, prepare a service animal policy, and teach you a system to screen the animals.


Alexithymia: A Secret Barrier to Being Seen and Heard

Rebekah Milhoan, MSWRebekah Milhoan, MSW

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world that couldn’t understand your words or expressions? Being unable to express or describe your joy or sadness in a way that others could appropriately respond to? Alexithymia is a personality construct that affects a person’s ability to describe and express emotions, verbally. Alexithymia is prevalent in approximately 10% of the general population and is almost four times higher in persons with cognitive/psychiatric conditions. In this workshop, we will define Alexithymia and discuss how it may affect your participants, as well as the results of a study that suggests recreation and alternative therapies offer particularly supportive contexts. We will explore non-verbal/non-directive forms of communication and strategies professionals can employ to support participants.

More to come!


  • Facilitated and open networking time
  • Executive Director Roundtable (Only one person from each organization may attend this session)
  • Exhibitor hall
  • “Lightning Round” mini-sessions after lunch
  • Breakout time for interest groups

Schedule at a Glance

  • Networking Breakfast, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
    • Exhibitor Hall opens until 2:00 p.m.
    • Executive Director Roundtable
  • General Session 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions 10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
  • Lunch & Facilitated Networking 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
  • Concurrent Sessions 1:45 – 3:15 p.m.
  • Interest Group Networking/Social 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.

**The American Therapeutic Recreation Association has approved all breakout session CEUs as a Category B CEU Opportunity. Please Note:  Category B CEUS are not automatically accepted for credit by NCTRC, it is the individual attendee’s responsibility to retain documentation of sessions attended to demonstrate the relevance of the session content to the NCTRC Job Analysis.

**Ample, free parking is available. The Hilton Garden Inn is accessible via MBTA Bus #70 from Central Square or Express Bus #170 from Dudley Station; the closest stop is at 440 Totten Pond Road.


Registration Info

$5 off registration if you sign up before October 1st!

Price Before Oct. 1 / After Oct. 1

Access Rec Members*: $60 / 65
Non-members: $85 / 90
Undergraduate Students: $30 / 35
Graduate Students: $45 / 50

Not yet a member? Join here

*Remember, Organizational members can send up to three staff at the member rate! Fourth and subsequent staff register at the non-member rate. Want more information on membership? Contact Chenine Peloquin at

Accommodations: If you need an accommodation, please let us know as soon as possible and no later than two weeks before the event. If ASL interpreters are needed, it is best if we have four weeks lead time. We may not be able to accommodate last-minute requests.


Exhibitor Info

Connect with leadership from over 40 local and regional organizations providing adaptive, inclusive, and therapeutic recreation services! If you are interested in exhibiting your product/service at the Access Rec Fall Conference, please contact Chenine Peloquin at for details.