Meet Joel McKenna, Rocky Bay’s enthusiastic Activities Coordinator in our Community division.
Joel has been with Rocky Bay for three years, starting his career as a Support Worker in Supported Accommodation and then as part of our Community team.
Now as Activities Coordinator, Joel has the fun role of creating and organising fun activities and programs for Rocky Bay’s Community customers that support social skills, social connections and physical recreation.
Find out a little more about Joel and his role at Rocky Bay with our Q&A!
You recently started in your role as Activities Coordinator. Describe a typical day?
I start the day going through all my emails about the exciting new events and activities that are happening in local council areas, in the community and in recreation organisations. I then get in touch with customers that might be interested in an upcoming activity.
If I’m not planning the next outcome driven activity, I’ll be facilitating the physical recreation programs I designed. The programs are specific for each group and the activities focus on building teamwork, developing gross motor skills through sport and engaging socially with each other. Over six weeks we cover a range of activities like soccer, basketball, Frisbee and other team building games that might be unknown to our customers.
The program has received loads of positive feedback. Participants have made new friends and meet up after the program ended – you can’t get much better than that. It was an unintended consequence that goes to show how important it is to have social connections and physical exercise in your life.
Tell us more about your experience?
I completed my Certificate III in Disability Services whilst working in the sector when I was in year 12.
I then started studying Nursing at Notre Dame University, but whilst studying I discovered that my heart was not fully committed and decided to switch to Outdoor Recreation. The two and a half years of nursing were very insightful and I learnt a lot from my practical experiences in nursing homes and transitional rehabilitation.
I joined Rocky Bay in 2019 as part of the casual pool of Support Workers. I initially worked in supported accommodation in the North and then started working more in the Community division. I continued as a casual whilst finishing my degree and working towards completing a systematic review on barriers toward individuals with disabilities in the outdoors.
I graduated at the end of 2020 and accepted a full-time role as a Mentor for Rocky Bay’s S.T.E.P (Stages Toward Employment Pathways) program and Support Worker at our Clarkson hub.
I wanted to combine my passion for the outdoors with my work at Rocky Bay, so I pitched my idea for a physical recreation program to CEO Michael Tait and CFO Adam Maxwell. They believed it was worth looking into and I began working with our Community Business Services & Development Manager, Denise, and previous Community Program Coordinator, Catherine, to create my current position.
What do you love most about your role?
I love that I have a balance of creating and organising new and fun activities, as well as being able to run programs and engage with customers in activities I enjoy facilitating.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I love to play golf, cook, catch up with friends and spend time with my fiancé.
What are three things you can’t live without and why?
1 My fiancé. She’s always got my back and is able to put up with my sarcasm
2 Golf. I never thought I’d be putting golf on this list a couple of years ago, but it’s become an excellent way of taking my mind off everything and reinforces the saying “practice makes perfect”
3 Humour. The current society we live in is all very serious. Being able to switch off, relax, and have a laugh is very important to me
Click here to find out more about Rocky Bay’s Community services, or call our friendly Customer Engagement Team on 08 6282 1900.