We think you’ll find plenty of good things when you join the Y’s regional team. Sometimes, the very place you live in is a big part of the appeal. That’s certainly the case for the Y’s Early Learning Trainee, Emma McNamara.
Emma’s home is the tiny southern coastal town of Mallacoota, famous for its national parks, pristine waters and wild-caught abalone. Emma’s helping raise the next generation, at Mallacoota Preschool, rather than heading for the city like many of her peers. And we can well understand why!
Take a drive 1,000km northwest of Mallacoota, and you’ll find the picturesque farming community of Robinvale. Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, it’s home to Paula O’Bryan, Educator at Robinvale Preschool. Paula grew up in the Robinvale community before moving away. But she was drawn back by the appeal of the outdoors rural lifestyle.
For some regional communities, the Y is the only organisation on hand to provide care and education for young lives. Playing such a vital role in these communities means a lot to our team, and it means a lot to the communities, too.
Just ask Ben Leersen, Area Director for the Mildura region. Ben has lived in the inland western rural city his whole life. He oversees kindergartens in Mildura and several smaller neighbouring towns, including the tiny farming community of Nangiloc, southeast of Mildura. Ben’s passion for the communities he works in is obvious – that’s why he’s so motivated to keep kinders like Nangiloc’s Bush Kinder open and staffed. And the community has responded in kind.
Ben wouldn’t have it any other way. For him, it proves the Y’s important role in supporting communities.
Our teams build connections with the children in their care at every Y preschool. But there’s something extra special about the connections you can make in small communities like Mallacoota.
When Emma joined the Y in 2023, she found herself working alongside the same kindergarten teacher who taught her when she was a whipper snapper.
And Emma knew many of the kids she now cares for before she started working at the preschool.
What’s more, living in such a small town means Emma knows she’ll be able to see how the children she’s taught progress for years to come. By working with Mallacoota’s most precious resource, Emma is playing a vital role in the very future of the place she calls home, and that’s a great feeling.