Children return to Radford’s campus for a spooky SOTA Halloween party


Children from across the region who were part of the occupational therapy camps last summer returned to Radford University’s campus for a fun, spooky time at a Halloween party on Oct. 23. Hosted by the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), all of the kids who participated in the main campus camps during the summer were invited, along with their siblings. A total of 32 children, ranging in age from 3 to 12, attended the event at Waldron Hall.

“The children had the chance to carve and paint pumpkins, bob for apples, search for candy during a scavenger hunt and create sensory bottles,” said Jacob Fridley, a student in the Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.) program and the president of the main campus SOTA club. “We also had some sensory bins available for the children who were not interested in bobbing for apples.”

SOTA volunteers who organized the Halloween party.

Fridley said most of the children participated in every activity available, but the pumpkin painting and the scavenger hunt seemed exceedingly popular among the group.  

“My personal favorite activity was the scavenger hunt,” said Bailey Bennett,  M.O.T. student and vice president of the main campus SOTA club. “It was really fun to watch how excited the children got to participate in this activity.”

The summer camps were held on both the main campus in Radford and at Radford University Carilion (RUC) in Roanoke last June for children aged 3-5 and 6-14. They were designed to provide participants with opportunities to engage in “purposeful play,” or enjoyable activities that allow children to make meaning out of their experiences.

OT student Kari Portington with one of the kids attending the Halloween party.

In addition, the activities gave the M.O.T. students a chance to learn how they can help pediatric clients improve their skills to increase their confidence, participation and independence in life.

Children were invited to participate in the camps through fliers posted and shared through social media and a mass email to local schools, special education educators and pediatric OTs in Roanoke and Radford. Anyone who saw the call for participants was welcomed to share information, so the OT program also benefited from word of mouth. For the Halloween party, all of those children were invited to return.

“Because of the restrictions from COVID-19 last year, we were not able to do any events this past fall or spring semester,” said Noelle Cox, M.O.T. student and SOTA Club community service chairperson. “Our goal now is to engage in at least one community event per semester that addresses the needs of our present community while also promoting the awareness of occupational therapy.”

OT student Devin Hebble painting pumpkins with one of the children.

SOTA is a student organization that consists of first- and second-year occupational therapy students at Radford University and RUC. The mission of SOTA is to enhance the knowledge of the profession of occupational therapy through professional, educational, community and social activities. The organization facilitates opportunities for camaraderie among students, as well as provide meaningful, productive interaction with the community. Because Radford University has two locations and the M.O.T. program spans both, there are two SOTA chapters for each location.  

Nov 8, 2021
Mark Lambert