The word that comes to mind for Adam Van Sickle about his new role as Transitions Access and Service Lead with CONNECT is potential – for himself, for Hamilton, for Ontario, and for the individuals who will be accessing the services.

“It’s really exciting to be part of something from the ground up and this role has so much potential,” says Adam, whose first day is June 3.

“I am really excited about this opportunity because I will be part of the entire journey with the individual, whether it’s helping with their transition from hospital to CONNECT, from CONNECT home, from hospital home. And a big part of the job will be building partnerships in the community and with care teams and community partners. Basically, I will be sitting at the right tables to spread the word about CONNECT.”

He says CONNECT’s philosophy of “doing with” instead of “doing for” resonates with him, but also drilling in to find out what’s important to the individual and building their Life Redesign Plan around that.

“I agree with CONNECT’s approach of getting to know the individual rather than primarily being concerned with their medical history. CONNECT’s approach of stepping outside the box and, really, living outside the box appeals to me.”

Speaking of living outside the box, Adam lives on a small hobby farm about 20 minutes outside of Hamilton with his wife and two young daughters. At any given time he has between 80 and 90 chickens, 11 or 12 turkeys, 4 dogs, 1 goat and some random farm cats.

“This is our 6th year out in the country and before this I was a pure city boy,” he says. “We make it all fun, even though it’s a lot of work between the duties and chores. I collect eggs with my eight-year-old daughter and she gets to see the circle of life first hand. It’s pretty amazing.”

He and his family like to do anything active and outside, including football, baseball, boating and hiking. He also coaches a baseball team.

Adam studied Recreation and Leisure with a focus on geriatrics and worked in the geriatrics field for three years. Since then he has worked with people with developmental challenges, moved into acquired brain injury work and went on to manage a rehab facility.

“You know, I sustained my own concussion a while ago and it made me do my own sort of Life Redesign. I wanted to get back to working directly with people.”

He took a position with Hamilton Health Sciences’ Patient and Family Learning Centre in partnership with the Hamilton Public Library’s Disability Information Services Program. A key part of the job was helping people engage in their community, get back to work and school and sometimes change their own paths – a job he really enjoyed.

“I am excited for this new challenge and the team I get to work with. I’m excited to work with the existing team, as well as the new blood who will joining us in Hamilton. There is a lot of energy and buzz around CONNECT and I am very happy to be part of it.”