Ray West, M.S., LRT/CTRS, FDRT  has played a significant role in the development of the recreational therapy profession and mentored countless students and professionals over the course of his esteemed career. Ray received his Bachelor of Science from Lock Haven State College (1970) and Master of Science from The Pennsylvania State University (1979).   He served as chief recreational therapist for the Williamsport Hospital and Rehabilitation Center and instructor of therapeutic recreation at Penn State before becoming the Director of Recreational Therapy at UNC Hospitals where he guided the program for twenty five years before his 2005 retirement.

Ray is a founding member and served as the second president of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). He was a co-author of the ATRA Standards of Practice and throughout his career Ray consistently focused on professional preparation and was instrumental in advancing the profession of recreational therapy through his leadership and initiatives. Through Ray’s work as a board member for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, the Southeast Recreational Therapy Symposium, the National Academy of Recreational Therapists and the North Carolina Recreation Therapy Association he strived to promote and help prepare practitioners and students to become more competent. Promoting professional preparation and competencies was a keystone to Ray’s efforts and led to the formation of the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE). The Ray West First-Year Practitioner Award is presented to a CTRS who is in the first year of practice and has demonstrated service to the profession and competency in practice.


In addition to being employed full or part time (minimum of 20 hours per week) in the field of recreational therapy, the Scholarship candidate has to actively be certified as a CTRS and licensed (as applicable). The candidate must provide demonstrated competencies in at least two of the following areas:

  • Utilization of evidence based practices in the delivery of services
  • Research and/or publications in recreational therapy or related health care journals, newsletter, etc.
  • Presentations made related to recreational therapy
  • Attendance at recreational therapy related conferences, symposiums, and work-shops
  • Membership/involvement in recreational therapy professional associations and/or clubs
  • Officer positions held in associations and/or clubs
  • Extra-curricular activities related to recreational therapy