As Bridge II Sport’s full-time summer intern, I have had the privilege of participating in many of our sports programs, learning more about adapted sports and about adapted sports equipment. I’ve even created custom racing gloves for an athlete, and have helped out with various on-site projects. However, I’m actually spending the majority of my time here at Bridge II Sports engaged in important behind-the-scenes work…
As part of the degree requirements to earn my Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Mary Baldwin University, I am currently completing my Capstone Project at BIIS- a 14-week experience which allows for development of in-depth skills in one or more of eight domains: administration, advocacy, clinical practice, education, leadership, program/policy development, research, and theory development. Back in 2019, Ashley Thomas, my Bridge II Sports mentor, and I decided that I would center my efforts on improving the organization’s volunteer program, focusing on the two domains of education and program/policy development.
However, things took a shift. I’m sure by now we can all relate to that! Once I arrived on-site, developing skills in ‘education’ expanded beyond educating on volunteer management to also learning and teaching others about the spread of COVID-19, staying up-to-date on local restrictions and national guidelines, and how we could use this information to run programs, events, and maintain an open office during this time. Developing skills in ‘program and policy development’ transitioned from creating new volunteer management policies and procedures to also developing policies for operating our BIIS office during COVID-19, for cleaning and disinfecting our facilities, and specific safety guidelines for running each program.
During the past nine weeks I have created many COVID-19 related materials such as signage for our facilities and programs, an in depth COVID-19 Policies & Procedures Manual, cleaning schedules & contact tracing documentation for the office, COVID-19 Cleaning Kits, and Health Monitor checklists for programs. I’ve engaged in meaningful conversations surrounding being smart and mindful of the pandemic, while also moving forward with providing valuable sports opportunities to our community during this time.
An adapted sports non-profit is a nontraditional setting for an occupational therapist to provide services in, and this shift has allowed me to develop skills outside of that of a generalist OT… which has been awesome! Developing in-depth skills in these areas beyond that of a generalist OT is the purpose of a Capstone Experience. The previous two years of OT courses at Mary Baldwin University provided me with the knowledge and skills to seek out a range of trust worthy data sources, to create materials and processes that are inclusive and user-friendly, and most importantly to be flexible in finding solutions when changes to your plan occur. Overall, I’ve learned that I can in fact use my OT knowledge as the foundation for tackling something new in an unfamiliar setting. The volunteer aspect of my project is still ongoing, too, but navigating this unfamiliar territory with Bridge II Sports has been a rewarding and a unique experience that will likely inform my future as an occupational therapist more than I realize!