Victoria Zotz – Pediatric Occupational Therapist

I am so excited to be a part of the Roots 2 Rise Outdoors team. I am a pediatric occupational therapist, who has spent most of my career working in clinic and school settings. Occupational therapy at its heart is about what we do to occupy our time. The foundational idea is that what we are doing, being, and becoming are integral parts of wellness. It’s about all the meaningful activities that make up our precious time here on earth.

As I have grown as a person and as a therapist I have begun to see the disconnect we have as a society between us. I notice the contrast between my own childhood and the childhood of children in this generation and the impact that this disconnect is having on our overall wellbeing.

The busier and more structured our lives become, the less time there is for children to spend time exploring nature and exploring their own nature.

The word “nature” is derived from the Latin word “natura” which originally meant essential qualities or innate disposition. This original definition has a deep meaning to me as a therapist as my goal with clients has always been to support children to connect with their innate qualities (or their true nature). I believe that the foundation of heathy childhood development is developing a sense of self, a sense of trust, and a sense of belonging. Exposure to the natural world is such an important part of this foundation, as having a strong connection to nature reminds us of our own true nature.

“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” – Alan Watts

Roots 2 Rise Outdoors has come to the forefront of my life at just the right time. I am so thankful for the way the programs, values, and mission are aligned with the way I want to show up in the world as a person and as a therapist. The connection with nature and prioritizing child-led learning are pieces that have been missing from my previous practice.

Roots 2 Rise Outdoors provides children with space and time to just be with nature and develop their sense of self. The outdoors offers so many natural opportunities for self-exploration, learning and growth where traditional clinical and institutional settings are not able to replicate these same conditions, opportunities or experiences, which can often limiting growth and possibilities.

I am so excited to have nature as a co-collaborator for therapy, teaching, and supporting development. Health and wellness really start at the beginning of our lives, and connecting with nature is such an important part of wellness (for ourselves, for our communities and for our planet). Providing children with opportunities to connect with nature to build healthy foundations for the rest of their lives is an integral part of healthy development.

Roots 2 Rise Outdoors is well rooted in the spaces, supports, and connections that I believe are so necessary for children. I am so excited to share my knowledge and experience, to learn from Robyn, the team and all the children, and be a part of the next chapter of Roots 2 Rise!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or just to say hi!

[email protected]

Victoria Zotz

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