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Academic Programs: Therapeutic Recreation: Internships

The Purpose and Benefits

The design of the recreation internship provides majors with a full time structured learning experience in a recreational setting of the student's choice. The internship offers students an opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and practice as well as move from being a student to a professional. With this in mind students are encouraged to take more of an active role in setting up their internship as well as customizing assignments and due dates to fit with the outcomes they are seeking by completing their internship. A checklist is provided on the following page to assist students in seeking and setting up their individual internship.


To be eligible for the internship, majors must have completed all their coursework in Therapeutic Recreation (in both the common classes and those specific to the student's emphasis area) as well having finished the cognates and Recreation 380. Preparation for the internship begins a full semester before the internship is to be undertaken. Prospective interns are expected to work with their advisor (using the internship checklist) to prepare for their internship focusing on such topics as personal skill assessments, designing goals and objectives for the experience, understanding expectations for the intern, learning application and interview procedures, and understanding all assignments that will need to be completed throughout the internship. Please ask Professor Lee for "Therapeutic Recreation Internship Guidelines."


Therapeutic recreation students must complete a total of 600 hours. Students may register for either 3 OR 12 credit hours. Each option requires the same amount of work and assignment. The difference is related to the number of hours students need to graduate.  All students must have a minimum of C (2.0 GPA) and the approval of the academic advisors. Permission will be given to those students who have completed their core major classes (KIN 201, REC 203, REC 205, REC 314, REC 324, REC 326, and KIN 380).

Paid or Unpaid?

Students can use paid positions to serve as their internship if the agency is aware and approves of the extra work required of the student as well as provides a staff person to serve as the students on-site supervisor who will meet with the student on a regular basis. It has been our experience that hourly jobs present the most challenge to completing the internship as employers who pay by the hour have the right to demand exactly what the employee will be doing at work. Recognizing the challenge to the student of not getting paid and the challenge to the organization of paying by the hour we often recommend payment in the form of a stipend and/or room and board. We feel a stipend recognizes the contributions that an intern can make to an organization but also gives the student more flexibility to shape the internship in ways that would be more beneficial to him/her. We view the internship as a partnership between the college, the agency, and the student. The intent of the partnership is to make the internship the best learning experience for the student. To help understand the roles and responsibilities of each of these partners Calvin has developed a internship manual to serve as a resource throughout the internship. Internship manuals are available from the students academic advisor within the Therapeutic Recreation major.

Further Information

Internship Coursework

I. Journals

Throughout the internship, you will be required to keep a journal that will record your individual professional growth, your observations and insights about the organization, and your own experience within the organization. This journal will be turned in at least seven times throughout the internship. When you are turning the journal in to your instructor you will be required to address the following three areas.

II. Project.

Students are expected to complete a special project during the course of the internship. Students should discuss possibilities with their supervisor and agree on a useful project for the agency and you.

III. Resource File

One of the most useful tools a professional manager/programmer has is a well-developed and well-organized resource file. This file contains articles, notes, brochures, papers, etc. which will provide valuable information as needed for future reference. This project is intended to assist you in building & developing such a file.

IV. Final Report:

Upon the completion of the internship, students must complete their final report, which is due within two weeks after completing the internship.

Additional information of each of these assignments is presented in the course syllabus. Every effort will be made to work with the student to assure that assignments are relevant and provide good learning experiences for each individual student.