RT Alumni Feature: Brent Harpe

Name: Brent Harpe

Degree and graduation year: B.S. Recreational Therapy, class of 2014

How did you become interested in this field of work?
I had an aunt with cerebral palsy growing up that was a big part of my life. I also worked at an incredible Camp for kids with disabilities, called Victory Junction for 3 summers.

What were some of your favorite courses while studying here in HHP? 
Aquatic Therapy, Disability Survey, and Adaptive PE

What aspects of recreational therapy do you enjoy the most? 
Seeing someone with a disability accomplish something that they never thought would be possible.

Tell us about your current job? 
I am the Specialized Recreation Supervisor for the Greenville Recreation and Parks. I organize, plan, and implement all the programs for individuals with disabilities in Pitt County. This includes: Pitt County Special Olympics, camps, art programs, and sports leagues.

What is a typical day like for you? 
I plan and organize for our monthly programs for individuals with disabilities. A big part of my job is being the local coordinator of Pitt County Special Olympics. I budget, schedule, fundraise, and market for our events.

What has been your favorite experience working with Recreational Therapy so far? 
Building relationships with athletes and families. I love being able to provide a safe and fun summer camp for kids with disabilities. I also, really enjoy our Special Olympic competitions and seeing athletes win medals for the 200th time or the 1st time.

Where do you see the field of Recreational Therapy heading?
I believe RT is headed in a good direction, however there is a need for more community jobs. A large part of RT these days is with the senior population and behavioral health. We also need more people to stay in the field once they graduate.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a recreational therapist? 
COVID continues to be a big obstacle in Specialized Recreation. We have had to make many adjustments throughout the past 2 years.

What advice would you give to students who wish to enter this field? 
Stand up for what you believe in and be passionate.