Ben Heeringa, Recreation Coordinator
Ben Heeringa graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation in December of 2020 and began working at the Leo A. Hoffmann Center in April 2021. Before being employed by Leo A. Hoffmann Center, Ben spent time interning at an inpatient behavioral health unit where he used recreation to enhance the mental and physical health of clients. Currently, Ben coordinates and facilitates the recreation activities here at the Hoffmann Center.
"What I enjoy about my position is being able to impact the lives of our clients in a positive way through recreation. It is rewarding seeing the clients smile, laugh, and having fun while having a positive influence on their mental and physical health.”
Therapeutic Recreation Program:
Therapeutic recreation is a skilled service that is offered to clients on a group basis as well as an individual basis. All clients are evaluated and individual recreation plans are set up for each client. The purpose of therapeutic recreation is to improve health, well-being and replacement opportunities for old negative behavior through leisure-based activities and noncompetitive recreational skill building opportunities. These activities are designed to provide wholesome recreational/ leisure opportunities and experiences that replace unacceptable sexual, self-abusive, and delinquent behavior.
Leisure Education Program:
The leisure education program provides psycho-educational groups sessions to identify risky behavior. The goal is to learn new leisure activities to replace old behavior. Recreation Coordinator, Therapist and Youth Counselors and Primary Counselors coordinate activities specifically connecting children and adolescents with resources and activities during placement to provide these more appropriate replacement activities.
The Recreational Coordinator designs activities of non-competitive style to assist clients in learning to develop cooperation skills and achieve a sense of accomplishment in a groups setting. These activities provide resources and services that assist client in acquiring the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for health lifestyles upon transition back into the community. A comfortable and safe environment is created where residents feel protected and encouraged to develop significant / attachable relationships with peers in order to practice these skills.
Recreation/ Leisure Components:
The therapeutic recreation program is designed to assist clients in overcoming and managing behavior such as impulse control, making appropriate decisions, developing healthy images of self-body and abilities. Through experienced Youth Counselors, Therapists and Recreation Coordinator clients are experience various leisure activities and reactional opportunities. These activities promote physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development. Just a few of the program components are self-image/ self-esteem, focusing skills (concentration), physical development, anger management, fine motor/ gross motor skill development, social manners, relationships development, problem solving, sportsmanship, self –directed leisure behavior, leisure counseling, community participation and family leisure involvement are just a few areas clients have the opportunity to improve and prepare themselves for reintegration back into their communities.