Rocky Bay climb to new heights on Leeuwin

An excitable group of young Rocky Bay customers braved the wild and stormy conditions on Friday 4 October to enjoy the unique experience of spending a day on board the STS Leeuwin II at Victoria Quay in Fremantle.

Rocky Bay is a leading provider of disability services, offering choice and independence to people of all ages living with disability in Western Australia.

Rocky Bay’s Wishing Tree Committee worked with the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation to create a series of three unique experiences for Rocky Bay customers on the tall ship. The experience catered to those who may not be able to participate in the week-long ocean adventure.

Remaining berthed for the duration of the experience, which was specifically designed for school-aged children, the opportunity gave those with a sense of adventure on the high seas an insight into the workings of the iconic sailing ship.

The young crew enjoyed rotating activities, including a tour of the ship to learn more about its functions and history, bowsprit climbing with a harness and deck quoits.

Ten-year-old Zachary Barnes was one of the 14 young participants looking forward to his Leeuwin experience, accompanied by his grandfather, Jim. With the help of Rocky Bay Speech Pathologist, Jessica Eaton, Zachary is working to build on his social communications skills, with this experience allowing him to achieve his goal.

Traveling from Mandurah to allow Zachary to participate in the Leeuwin experience, Zachary’s mum, Nicole Alcock, said she encouraged her son to take part in activities that might be a little out of his comfort zone and thought it would provide a wonderful opportunity for him to bond with his grandfather.

“It means a lot that grandfather and grandchild can spend some time together,” said Nicole.

“Dad travelled quite a bit on a yacht, so this is an opportunity for Zac to learn from someone older and enjoy something different,” added Nicole.

David de Groot, father of seven-year-old Espen de Groot, was thrilled to be able to join his son on an experience he hoped would create wonderful memories for the pair.

“I think it’s a great adventure for him. It will stimulate his creativity and create joy and memories for him, which is so important,” explained David.

“Rocky Bay and the Leeuwin Foundation are very generous and I’d like to thank them both for the opportunity to come aboard and have this great experience and meet other people.”

Carol Shannon, Leeuwin Ocean Adventure CEO, said she hoped the children and their families got a lot out of the experience.

“Leeuwin Ocean Adventure is thrilled to be able to offer opportunities like this. We hope the kids get something really positive out of the day, ” said Carol.

Gavin Day, Chair of Rocky Bay’s Wishing Tree Committee, said the experience marked another milestone in Rocky Bay’s evolving relationship with Leeuwin Ocean Adventure.

“I would particularly like to thank the efforts of Leeuwin Ocean Adventure CEO, Carol Shannon, for bringing this to fruition.

“I am confident that this will be the start of a long partnership between Rocky Bay and Leeuwin.”

Another two series of activities are planned for Rocky Bay customers in the coming months for teens and adults.

The Leeuwin experience was made possible through the Rocky Bay Wishing Tree, which funds special experiences or equipment for customers when no other funding source is available thanks to community donations.