By Katherine R. Dougan
On April 21, the Wood Activity Center in Clinton will be transformed into a mini-spa for ladies only from 2 until 5 p.m., when Clinton’s Therapeutic Recreation program hosts its first “Girls Night Out,” event, Chandra Broomfield, the program director said.
“The idea for the event came about when “one of our Challenger League Participants’ sister, who has a passion for helping people, came up with the idea,” Broomfield said.
Maria Miller, a student at Clinton High School with a brother who has Downs Syndrome, is the volunteer who came up with the idea for the ladies-only event. “She has a passion for helping people,” Broomfield said, and has been a volunteer at the center for several years.
There is no age limit and no cost for this event, and the center is not seeking donations. The Wood Activity Center, 111 Clinton Blvd., is the location for the event.
“We want girls to come out and be pampered,” said Broomfield.
Ladies attending will enjoy hand massages, manicures, girl talk, snacks and a movie during the mini-spa afternoon. Miller and other volunteers from the Clinton Chamber Youth Leadership program will be providing the manicures and massages, and also are preparing the snacks.
“We have a lot of high school students who volunteer for dances and interact with participants; the younger people have and bring energy [to the programs],” Broomfield said.
“Most of our participants either have a physical, developmental or cognitive disability,” Broomfield said. Since 85 percent of the participants in the therapeutic recreation program are male, Broomfield hopes to raise awareness and increase participation in the program among females. The program serves ages 6 to adults.
“We are hoping through the churches, newspaper, word of mouth, and through junior high to increase the participation. We don’t have a lot of girls/ladies on our mailing list, but we want to reach out to all age groups,” Broomfield said.
The therapeutic recreation program has been active for many years in Clinton, and was part of the Parks and Recreation Department until 2014, when Mayor Phil Fisher made Therapeutic Recreation its own department.
Other cities have therapeutic recreation programs, and often offer the program through senior services departments. However, the program in Clinton is especially terrific because of Broomfield’s expertise and guidance, say City officials.
“We are blessed to have one of the best practitioners of therapeutic recreation and seniors in the state,” City Communications Director Mark Jones said. “She [Broomfield] is recognized by her peers as innovative, and one of the more knowledgeable program directors in the state.
Broomfield has a degree in therapeutic recreation, and not works to make Clinton’s program the best, but also strives to focus on other things that might be underserved or forgotten, Jones said.
The center serves two specific populations; those age 50 and older are part of the Living Youth program, and residents age 6 and older with disabilities participate in the Therapeutic Recreation program.
According to the programs’ brochure, the Living Young Program and activities are designed for individuals in and around the City of Clinton ages 50 and older. Programs consist of daily, monthly and quarterly offerings to meet the varied interests of participants.
The ABILITIES Program is designed to meet the needs of individuals with mental and physical disabilities utilizing community resources in a therapeutic manner, to expand leisure and recreational knowledge and skill. The therapeutic recreational consists of modified and adapted programs suited to the individual’s ability level. Each participant is assisted in the development of physiological, psychological and social skills to increase quality of life.