What is politics? WordNet at Princeton University defines it as "social relations involving authority or power." This simple definition can open doors to an important discussion regarding politics and therapeutic Recreation.
Success in politics for therapeutic Recreation professionals hinges on the development of good relationships with local elected officials, state legislators, and members of Congress. The relationship is the funnel through which you, as a therapeutic Recreation professional, feed facts and observations to a legislator. Without a relationship, placing favorable information in the hands of the legislator is difficult. The facts are necessary and must be in your favor, but many times the facts are not enough. The legislator listening to you as a therapeutic Recreation professional must know you, trust you, and believe that you are motivated to do the right thing.
To get to that point, your legislator must recognize you as a person, and you must recognize your legislator as a person too. If you call your legislator only when you need a law passed or a proposed law stopped, you will not succeed. Inviting city council members, state legislators, and members of Congress to events with families of therapeutic Recreation participants is critical. Let them see your work and your participants, and just as important, let your participants see the legislators.