Zac Crouse

Zac Crouse (M.Ed, CTRS) is a recreation therapist, musician & expedition kayaker who delivers keynote presentations and workshops focusing on mental health, recreation and leadership.

Zac has a unique ability to discuss sensitive topics with respect and humour. His presentations are designed to engage and entertain the audience through stories, film and live music.

Zac has worked for over 17 years as a frontline practitioner with at-risk youth & families. He specializes in working with individuals who have mental health and substance use issues; and has an extensive background in adventure therapy and eco-therapy.

Zac has instructed at St. FX University for the Faculty of Education and at Dalhousie University for the Faculty of Health & Human Performance. Zac is a contributing author to Quality Lesson Plans in Outdoor Education (Human Kinetics). He has also acted as a consultant in Belize on a national citizenship curriculum for youth. Zac is currently an instructor at the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Health Sciences.

In 2013 Zac released the film Paddle To The Ocean – a documentary about Zac’s use of recreation therapy as part of his treatment for PTSD. He uses this film as part of his work as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator on the topics of mental health, leadership and recreation therapy.

In addition to paddling class IV+ white water in Uganda, Mexico, the USA & Canada; Zac has circumnavigated the islands of Newfoundland (2006 – sea kayak) and Cape Breton (2002 – canoe) and travelled from Ottawa ON to Halifax NS using only self-propelled transportation (2011 – sea kayak & bicycle).

Zac is extensively certified in water-based sports through Paddle Canada [canoe, kayak, paddle board].

What can you expect from a keynote presentation by Zac Crouse?

Zac uses stories, original music and clips from his documentary film ‘Paddle To The Ocean’ to engage, entertain and empower. His ability to explore sensitive topics in an honest, respectful & light hearted matter allows participants to gain insight into his recreation therapy self-practice and unique approach to recovery from PTSD.

Topics include the stigma surrounding mental illness, the links between mental health and recreation, and leadership development.

Zac draws from personal experiences and adventures – using humour, anecdotes and theory – to illustrate points and facilitate connection with the audience. He’ll explain why it’s a bad idea to joke with police in rural Oklahoma; and why you should always say “Yes!” to an invitation for Tea in outport Newfoundland.

Participants will walk away with practical tips to help them make time for the things they love while improving their quality of life.