Meet the Team
Hi I'm Ray (founder and CEO of Active Connections)I set up active connections when i saw that lots of young people would benefit form therapeutic work but could not get on board with clinical based supports on offer. I had previously work in the USA in wilderness and adventure therapy services and wanted to see if it could work in Ireland. I found out YES IT DOES.
I'm an outdoor nut and love to spend time in nature, whether that's rock climbing or just resting in a hammock.
One of my fondest memories was on a 7 day rafting trip, I had recently given out to one of the young people on the trip for messing around when he should have been helping someone out of the water. Moments later I was hit in the back of the head with what I though was a stone. I turned to and looked at the kid, (about to loose my cool) when all of the sudden the skies open up with gold ball sized hail stone. We rafted up flipped one of the rafts hid under and waited it out. For the remainder of that day we experienced the strangest weather I have ever seen which finished with us hunkered down on the side of the river surrounded by a massive thunder storm with absolutely no way off the river. Before that day, the group struggled after that day the group radiated confidence, togetherness and resilience. I'm still in contact with some of those young people, they still thanks me and Mark V for getting them through it. Myself and Mark V have and always will say all we did was not panic (on the outside), we all got one another through that 24-36 hours.
I, Emma, am a proud Active Connections staff member since Dec 2017 based in Waterford / Wexford region. Working for Active Connections provides me with the opportunity to combine my unique qualifications in an exceptional setting. I hold many watersports instructorships. I have also studied Psychological Studies at BA level and recently completed Counselling and Psychotherapy Certificate in 2019. Prior to working for AC I explored many places in the world such as Australasia, South East Asia and Canada. My most recent adventure was sailing across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to France in 2017. My work with AC is very rewarding as I enjoy supporting Young People in their lives while embracing nature through adventure.
Hey Folks, I'm Michael but everyone calls me Mikey. I have been enthusiastic about the outdoors and outdoor sports since I was a wee lad. I grew up in Cork, but spent many summers on the coasts of Kerry Camping, Kayaking and Coasteering. My love for the outdoors has led to many adventures in my life and this I am very grateful for. Working and meeting with people who are enthusiastic about the outdoors has opened so many doors for me and has made me the person I am today.
I love Hiking and getting lost in nature, the best cups of tea are the ones you make sitting around a campfire with friends. My fondest memories are the ones I made in the Outdoors. From snorkeling with angle sharks in California to having a campfire in my back garden. Every adventure into the outdoors is unique, as this is the unpredictable nature of the outdoors. One moment your enjoying a lovely day Kayaking, the next you lose your paddle and have to get towed 5k back to land by your Kayaking buddy. Great fun for me, not for him.
I work in the therapeutic outdoors because I know personally how being in the outdoors can help with things going on in life. Sometimes its good to get a clear head, away from technology. Other times its just important to spend some time outside with friends or even yourself. I enjoy the sense of teamwork and constant learning that is created while being in the outdoors. The outdoors can really bring the best out in people, it sure has for me.
Caroline, The outdoors has shaped my life and decisions I make, holidays are no longer sitting on a beach trying to get perfectly bronzed all over, rather having farmers tan from 2 week long kayaking expeditions in Bosnia and Montenegro kayaking through canyon on the clearest bluest water on this planet. Weekends away with friends involves hundreds of people sharing a love and passion for our shared sports, kayaking competition, rock climbing meets, woman with altitude or general walks through the hills. My favourite outdoor memory I have a couple kayaking at night and having the water light up around me from bioluminescence. Camping with 60 girls gathering firewood and sharing stories and songs until day break. But my favourite was the day I decided that my dog Cali and I were going to kayak out of Castlehaven bay and see if we could see any whales. It was such a magical day, I kayaked into a cave which was over 200ft deep with the walls covered in starfish, sea urchins and other fauna and flora, I paddled through sea arches and around rocks and just stared at the vast open ocean. And then I heard it “wohoooahh” I was convinced we were near whales, until the two boulders in front of my kayaked moved and the largest seals, I have ever seen started coming towards me, Cali who hates water decided it would be a great time to try jump in. I have never paddled so quickly in my life to evade the angry mob of seals. I decided at that point if seals scared me, I probably need a bigger boat to go in search of whales.
Someday I will see one.
Hi my name is Grainne. I work with Active Connections as a Field Guide. I've worked with children, youth and adults through the outdoors and recreation through different approaches since I was a teenager, in my own locality, my community, nationally and abroad working with at-risk youth in their own communities.
A storey I have about outdoors was back in the summer of 2015 I took a visit to my friend who lives in Juneau Alaska, and we spent the majority of the time hiking.She is very familiar, and comfortable with the idea of bears, me, not so much.And one of our hikes we spent the day hiking while singing and adding more choruses to the song Rattlin bog, (a) to keep me distracted because i was really tense about meeting a bear, and (b) so the bear would hear us in the distance and not cross our paths. It was working really well and on the way back down from the top, we met two hunters on the way back down with two deers on their back. They told us they had stayed up there the night before and were on the way back down, leaving a a lovely scented trail of deer for Mr.or Mrs. Bear to follow.. Lets just say there was less singing on the way down, and we got down in no time!
I work in the outdoors therapeutically,because firstly in the specific work we do and our role has been a dream of mine back since I first heard about Adventure Therapy in 2008. Secondly, because I genuinely love what I do and feel privileged to be given the opportunity to do this kind of work and facilitate a space for others to be at their best by experiencing the outdoors. I believe in what we do, and I value how much we receive and learn for ourselves from access to the natural environment if we make ourselves available to it..