Our Story


Recognizing the need in the community for individualized and meaningful respite solutions, Amy MacFarlane took on the dedication and commitment to creating Recreational Respite (April 2008). Amy is a strong advocate for inclusion, accessibility and removing all barriers to participation in social environments including community. Her own hands-on expertise supporting those in care giving roles and families in crisis is united with extensive education in therapeutic recreation, gerontology, psychogeriatrics, complex mental health, neurological rehabilitation and most currently (2015- present) her work towards her PhD in Critical Disability Studies.

Amy believes in only collaborative efforts to maximize support and minimize the dollars required to deliver optimal services and programs to individuals we work with and has partnerships with both social enterprise, profit and not for profit organizations to ensure it happens. This commitment to knowledge transfer and sharing through teaching and keynote speaking has also led her to a variety of other positions in education as a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Georgian College and as a Mentor in her community for Business to Bruce. Amy’s international projects have been extensive and have helped to spread the ideas, share thoughts and process around developing inclusive communities covering areas of support for those with disabilities and other vulnerable persons who might come up against barriers to participation. Amy’s years of experience started in the field of neurological rehabilitation and psychogeriatrics where she was a personal support worker in Toronto, ON in a hospital setting, community care and long term care homes, palliative and hospice and for those living in the community with complex mental health. Amy was most intrigued by the passion and energy in the therapeutic recreation staff in those settings at which point she then continued her studies in therapeutic recreation.. and so it began.

In addition to Recreational Respite, her advocacy for family caregivers lead Amy to become a Partner and Communications Director for Family Caregivers Unite! in 2010 with host, Dr. Gordon Atherley. FCGU! is a social media project of international scope that supports, connects and empowers family caregivers caring for family members with special and other needs to tune in to various topics that are relevant to their roles. It now has a listenership of over 1,000,000 people, internationally. The show is accessible for free though iTunes, satellite radio and offers over 400+ archived on-demand episodes, found here: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1669/family-caregivers-unite

Amy is also a member of the Standards Council of Canada’s Vulnerable Persons Committee and recently represented Canada at BSI headquarters (London, UK 2018) to assist in the development of ISO 22458. This is still in progress…

Our Founder has also been nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Highlights of Work Abroad:
Kuwait, December of 2014Amy was chosen as an international expert in her field and invited to visit Kuwait City to teach various therapeutic recreation tools, techniques and approaches at a day program for Adults with special needs (21+), Markaz 21. Many of whom had post Gulf War challenges: developmentally and intellectually and complex mental health. While there, she was asked to lecture at the University of Gulf for Science and Technology to speak to business students and promote the innovative business development approaches she has used here in Canada and more specifically, how for-profit and not-for-profit organizations can work together to create quality recreation programming.

Sydney, Australia, September 2015: Amy was asked to be the international keynote speaker at the National Respite Conference that was hosted in Sydney, Australia.  The topic was Respite in Canada and it’s successes and challenges.  Whilst there, she also did a podcast interview with Community West (a community agency of home care) in Perth, Australia and discussed innovation in respite and support to caregivers and what was working well in various settings. Listen here: http://ow.ly/TQBOR

Edinburgh Scotland, September 2016: Amy MacFarlane is one of the international keynote speakers at the ISBA Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, 2016: http://www.isba.me/speaker-biographies/

The International Short Break Association (ISBA) was established in 1995 and is a world-wide ‘community’ concerned with the effective delivery of short breaks (respite care) services. ISBA exists to create opportunities to share knowledge and experience of short break provision across international and cultural boundaries.  ISBA’s purpose is to support developments in policy and practice which improve the experience of short breaks for everyone.   Underpinning this is a shared belief that short breaks play a vital role in promoting health and well-being, and in strengthening carers and families.
Presentation is now available: http://www.isba.me/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Amy-Scriviner.pdf

Amy is a proud Mom of 2, lover of life’s moments and is a passionate advocate for many, including her amazing team of Recreation Therapists: https://recrespite.com/about-us/our-team/

Twitter: @recrespite and @busyaims @chloesfriendden
Facebook: www.facebook.com/recreationalrespite
Instagram: recrespite

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