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Dr. Sean Healy | University of Delaware
Camp Nugget | Dr. Melissa Bittner
Emily Giroux | University of British Columbia Okanagan
Tips for Doctoral Students | Dr. Gregory Reid | McGill University
President's Message:
Joonkoo Yun, Ph.D. - East Carolina University

Hello Friends and Colleagues,

 

We all suffered from a dark and depressing time due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the last year, but I know each of you and your family is resilient to dealing with this difficult time. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope we will see each other in person in the near future.

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I want to thank the board members, particularly Kristen and Roxy, for preparing this Newsletter. In this issue, we will introduce our outstanding emerging leader, Dr. Sean Healy from the University of Delaware, and highlight a community program called Camp Nugget. Camp Nugget started the program over 50 years ago and has served many children with disabilities in Southern California. Also, we will introduce a future leader, Ms. Emily Giroux from the University of British Columbia, and conclude the Newsletter with a tip for young scholars from Dr. Greg Reid. I have known Dr. Reid for close to 30 years, and I have always enjoyed his wisdom. I hope each of you takes advantage of Dr. Reid's insight into higher education.

 

Also, I want to let you know that the board is currently considering amending our by-laws. The current by-laws were not effectively addressing coping with events like COVID-19, and we may need to amend our by-laws to more effectively deal with an ever-changing world. The process includes a two- step approach. We will listen to all members' and potential members' opinions. Then, we will ask the members to vote on the amendment if needed. Please look for our email solicitation seeking your opinion within the next few months. Please be safe and we will meet again in person soon. Otherwise, we will see you at the NAFAPA conference at Brock University in 2022.

  

 

Thank you.

 
Researcher Highlight:
Dr. Sean Healy, University of Delaware
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I am an Assistant Professor of health behavior science in the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition at the University of Delaware. Originally from Ireland, after completing my B.Sc. in Physical Education at the University of Limerick, I pursued my Masters of Adapted Physical Activity at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Then, in 2012, I travelled to the United States to complete my PhD at the University of Virginia under the supervision of Dr. Martin Block. My early experiences of teaching physical education and surfing to children with autism spectrum disorder were instrumental in my decision to pursue advanced studies in the field of adapted physical activity.

I now pursue two related avenues of research. First, I seek to understand the patterns and experiences of movement behaviors (physical activity and sedentary behavior) among individuals with developmental disabilities, including intellectual disability and

autism spectrum disorder, to inform the promotion of health equity among these populations. I accomplish this via a range of methods from qualitative studies to the analysis of large, nationally representative data sets. The aim here is to see ‘the trees and the forest’; I seek to provide both a rich multidimensional understanding of health behaviors among the population I seek to serve, while also aiming to characterize the broader patterns of movement behaviors among this population. Collectively, this work has contributed to our understanding of the movement behaviors of this population and has been disseminated in journals such as Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Disability and Health, and the American Journal of Health Promotion.

My second avenue of research is driven by the goal of developing scalable and sustainable interventions to increase physical activity of individuals with developmental disabilities and improve the competencies of practitioners working with individuals with disabilities in physical activity settings. To date, these interventions have included online parent-mediated interventions to improve physical activity among children with autism and improve motor skills among children with Down Syndrome, online interventions to provide physical educators with the skills to implement peer-tutoring, and most recently, the development of wearables tailored to the cognitive and sensory needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities. For my research, I was humbled to receive the David P. Beaver Adapted Physical Activity Professional Young Scholar Award in 2017. As an academic, I am indebted to the too-many-to-mention influential mentors, collaborators, and students that I have had the joy of working with. Especially now, as I depart the United States to begin a new position at Dublin City University, I reflect with great pleasure and gratitude on the wonderful adapted physical activity community that have made the United States home for me over the last eight years.

Email contact: healys@udel.edu

 
Community Spotlight:
Camp Nugget | CSU, Long Beach | Dr. Melissa Bittner

Since its establishment in 1970, Camp Nugget, a summer program at California State University, Long Beach, is offered to children ages 5 through 12 years with disabilities. Camp activities include aquatics with swim instruction, fundamental motor skills, health-related physical fitness, dance, cooperative games, and adapted sports.

Camp Nugget is built upon the strong conviction that movement is important and beneficial for everyone! ALL children should be afforded the same opportunities to enjoy and successfully participate in physical activity. 

Instruction (3 to 1 child/staff ratio) is provided by university students enrolled in the Kinesiology Department studying to receive an Adapted Physical Education Added Authorization (APEAA). Camp Nugget goals include (a) offering a safe and affordable high quality physical activity program to children ages 5 to 12 years with disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy), (b) teaching leadership skills in the Junior Counselor program to young adults with disabilities 13 to 21 years of age, and (c) teaching opportunities for future teachers enrolled in the APEAA credential option to teach children with disabilities.

 

The Camp Nugget staff works to successfully accommodate children with disabilities in physical education.

Attention is given to best teaching practices including differentiation and universal design for learning. In addition, the importance of physical activity and leading a healthy lifestyle are emphasized to the families and their children who attend. For example, parents receive a list of their child’s health-related physical

fitness scores based on fun, age appropriate activities to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility. Parents also receive a swim ability classification for their child based on mastery of swim skill competencies in the form of a detailed swim rubric.

However, due to COVID, rather than cancel Camp Nugget for summer 2021, we are adjusting and offering two levels of Camp Nugget.

 

Level 1 will be free to all. We will livestream daily physical education/ adapted physical education lessons @ 11am PT on our social media @LongBeachStateAPE to children with disabilities. For summer 2020, we followed a similar livestream format which was very successful

with some days receiving 100 to 200 views per session.

Level 2 will be a paid version ($125 if registered by June 1) which will feature private, small group instruction four days a week @ 10am PT with preservice APE teachers. In addition, participants will receive APE equipment to use during lessons and keep after completion of the program.

 

The 4-week program will begin June 21 and end July 15. It will be open to anyone locally, nationally, or internationally. We have compiled a CSULB Glide application with a variety of content specific physical education activities and structured lessons that have been modified to accommodate students with disabilities: https://fsjfl.glideapp.io/

The following resources can be used to learn more about Camp Nugget and CSULB APE:

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Student Highlight: 
Emily Giroux | Doctoral Student | The University of British Columbia Okanagan

Emily Giroux is a first year PhD student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). Emily began her university career at McMaster University in Ontario, where she received an Honours BSc in Kinesiology. She then made the move to the Okanagan to complete her MSc in Health and Exercise Sciences, where she decided to stay to complete her Doctoral degree.

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Emily Giroux is a first year PhD student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). Emily began her university career at McMaster University in Ontario, where she received an Honours BSc in Kinesiology. She then made the move to the Okanagan to complete her MSc in Health and Exercise Sciences, where she decided to stay to complete her Doctoral degree.

Emily’s research expertise is with spinal cord injury community-based organizations. Specifically, Emily focuses on integrated knowledge translation and implementation science within this context. Emily recently published her MSc thesis work, which consists of two publications for supporting participation in everyday activities for people aging with spinal cord injuries.

Emily’s volunteering experience at McMaster MacWheelers is what first got her interested in spinal cord injury research. She volunteered with MacWheelers from 2014 to 2016. This volunteer experience led Emily to apply to do a practicum, and she eventually made the move from Ontario to British Columbia due to her passion for spinal cord injury research and the research opportunities in the area at UBCO.

“The spinal cord injury community I have connected with in British Columbia is fantastic, and any chance to interact with them in a research or community capacity is such a great experience.”

Academically, Emily has excelled since beginning her graduate career. She was the UBCO Master’s Student Researcher of the Year in 2018, and in the same year, won the MITACS Award for Outstanding Innovation (Master’s). Alongside being an outstanding researcher and winning these major academic awards, Emily also continues to maintain her community involvement with populations with spinal cord injuries. Of note, Emily has been a volunteer with the Okanagan Rattlers Wheelchair Rugby Team since 2016, and has volunteered with Wheel Love since 2020.

Connect with Emily: Twitter - @emilylizgiroux.

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Tip for Doctoral Students: 
Dr. Gregory Reid | McGill University

Celebrating higher education as a career.

When NAFAPA President JK Yun invited me to offer some tips for younger APA scholars I immediately thought of comments I made periodically to department members while chair, essentially enumerating the advantages of being a university professor. Perhaps it is timely to revisit these given the pandemic-related challenges to the three pillars of higher education; research, teaching, and service. We are 12 months into the pandemic and young scholars have likely been adept at moving to remote teaching and learning and modifying research programs with the latest technological assistance. 

My career began with the amazing inventions of the photocopier and calculator and ended with internet- based instruction, but I was hardly a technological leader. Essentially my grad students pulled me along. I cannot offer techie tips but reminding ourselves of why higher education is a wonderful gig might be of some assistance as we move toward the end of the pandemic. In a nut shell, being a university professor is a privileged and honorific career that offers personal development and liberty.

Of course, university professors are hired to perform certain duties. There are courses to teach, research programs to establish, graduate students to attract, and a committee or two to sit on. Stuff has to be accomplished. But universities are fundamentally about ideas and the freedom to explore those thoughts and concepts. No one will direct or restrict your research program; it depends upon your personal curiosity, passion, and drive. Professors also enjoy great liberty in selecting course content and its delivery.

Even service involves much choice. University committees may have been established a priori but there is considerable independence where one could contribute. Autonomy is a critical factor of intrinsic motivation thus it is not surprising that some of your older colleagues are still on the job!

Beyond freedom and autonomy, the rhythms of the university professor constantly change. No day, week, or semester repeats itself. There is likely a period when the focus of time and effort is a research grant proposal; regardless of the self-promise last year to distribute the preparation over a longer time frame. But submission deadlines dictate when that job is complete. Teaching is typically on a semester basis and may total 30 weeks. But a year has 52 weeks so for many weeks there is no teaching (for those who find teaching a chore). A Monday might bring teaching, office hours for undergraduates, and a laboratory meeting. Tuesday is devoted to a Department meeting, research seminar, and appointments with thesis-based students. At times, we may feel there are too many tasks to accomplish but there is nothing mundane or repetitive about the weeks and months.

Higher education is a decidedly social experience. The pandemic has underscored the value of social interactions. Professors engage with students, colleagues, and staff in teaching, collaborative research, and committees. The social experience can extend to national or international partners. These collaborations bring together individuals of unique but complementary skills; research and writing achieved by a group that would be impossible alone. And travel across the globe to interact with colleagues and attend conferences is both social and educational. Relatedness with others is also a foundation of intrinsic motivation, thus once again it is not surprising that so many professors remain at the university for long careers.

Professors will be successful over the long-term if they remain curious and dedicated to being life-long learners. In essence, professors earn a salary to continue thinking and learning. While a standing ovation is not received after every class or conference paper feedback received improves class learning and presentations. And we all know the critical reaction from a journal review can affect our thinking and debating! Thus continued personal growth is assured.

Will it not be wonderful to return to ‘normal’ professional duties? Have you missed the freedom, autonomy, social, and personal growth afforded?

Contact Information: greg.reid@mcgill.ca

 
Meet the New Editors

With the 2020 - 2022 NAFAPA elections this past fall, Kristen Morgan and Roxy O'Rourke serve as student representatives on the NAFAPA Board of Directors. 

Kristen Morgan
Roxy O'Rourke
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