woman swinging golf club

Jun 29, 2022 / Spotlight

Get to Know our Staff: Dana Dempsey, Therapeutic Recreation

What is your job title/your role at Scottish Rite for Children?  
As director of the Therapeutic Recreation department, I make sure my team has the resources and support they need to provide therapeutic recreation services to our patients. Therapeutic recreation services include inpatient interventions, outpatient interventions and community outreach programs, such as camps, All-Star Tennis and the Learn to Golf program. I also provide direct patient care when my teammates are occupied with other patients.

What do you do on a daily basis or what sort of duties do you have at work?  
Each day is a little different, depending on variables like how many inpatients are in the unit, clinic schedules, project meetings and preparations for community outreach programs. On a typical day, I can find myself meeting with a patient and parent in the clinic, prepping for camps or pulling golf clubs and confirming instructors for Learn to Golf clinics.

What was your first job? What path did you take to get here or what led you to Scottish Rite? How long have you worked here?
My first job at Scottish Rite for Children was as the Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator. In 1997, Scottish Rite opened the Jas. F. Chambers Jr. Youth Fitness Park, and I had the privilege of using that park as a tool. At the time, we didn’t have a therapeutic recreation department. I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful colleagues while developing therapeutic recreation programs that provide a variety of services for our patients. Prior to coming to Scottish Rite, I provided therapeutic recreation services in mental health settings for about 10 years. This October, I celebrate 25 years at Scottish Rite.

What do you enjoy most about Scottish Rite?
“Our patients” is the easiest answer. But beyond the patients, I’ve developed some close friendships with other staff members that bring amazing joy to my life. People – they are important. At Scottish Rite, that message comes through.

Tell us something about your job that others might not already know. 
Although I run a junior golf program for our patients and approximately 50% of my job is devoted to Learn to Golf, I’m lucky if I get to play golf three to four times a year! Most folks think I play golf all the time. 

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
I find most places I go very interesting. It’s a toss-up between Addo Elephant Park in South Africa or sailing in the British Virgin Islands. However, I find that my own backyard is really interesting, too!

What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
I’m not much of a spectator. I love to play golf!

What’s one fun fact about yourself? 
I’ll get to be a part of history because I am going to be at the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open in Pinehurst on July 18 - 20, 2022. Because of the Learn to Golf program, I’ve become friends with several adaptive golfers who are in the Championship Field. 

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