“During this difficult time in our world today, recreation becomes an essential part in our everyday lives. It provides us an opportunity to cross all barriers to bring people together. Never has it been more important for well-rounded experiences with park agencies. This is where the value of interns come into play. Keychonia exemplifies that vision. She is a great asset for our department, city, and community. We look forward to seeing all that she accomplishes now and in the future.”
— Clinton Recreation director Jonathan Allen
MOUNT OLIVE — Keychonia Williams of Rocky Mount is a senior recreation and leisure studies (RLS) major and coaching minor at the University of Mount Olive. This summer she is interning with the Recreation and Parks Department in Clinton.
“With the help of Director Jonathan Allen, I am learning everything there is to know about the operation of the Recreation Department,” Williams said.
No two days are ever the same, but variety is one of the things Williams enjoys most about the internship. “I may be working at the pool, in the recreation center, or at the parks,” she said. “Every day is something different, and I am gaining experience in all areas, which will be very significant in my future career.”
One of the most important things Williams has learned at the internship is the ability to be flexible.
“This internship has prepared me to handle unforeseen situations in the best way possible,” she said. “With the pandemic taking place, the Center is currently closed to the public. However, every day the staff goes over plans to respond to the pandemic. I am able to sit in on both virtual and seated discussions about the changes being made.”
“During this difficult time in our world today, recreation becomes an essential part in our everyday lives,” Williams’ interning supervisor, Clinton Rec director Jonathan Allen said. “It provides us an opportunity to cross all barriers to bring people together. Never has it been more important for well-rounded experiences with park agencies. This is where the value of interns come into play. Keychonia exemplifies that vision. She is a great asset for our department, city, and community. We look forward to seeing all that she accomplishes now and in the future.”
After graduating from UMO in August, Williams plan to pursue a career as a Recreation Center Supervisor or within athletics.
“The University of Mount Olive has prepared me to achieve this goal by providing me with the knowledge and connections to succeed,” she said. “Networking and relationship building makes the UMO RLS program special and unique.”
Williams is no stranger to hard work.
“Growing up, I was taught that you have to work hard for anything that is worth having, and to treat people how I would like to be treated,” she said.
Those traits have served Williams well. She enrolled at UMO in the fall of 2016. A member of the JV Trojan Women’s Basketball team from her freshman through her junior year, Williams juggled practices, games, and schoolwork, all while consistently earning a spot on the Dean’s list.
Her love of basketball and her knack for helping others led her to volunteer as a Little League basketball coach with the Faison Recreation Department and with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department. She completed her field training with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department during her sophomore year and continues to work there part time.
Aside from academics and athletics, Williams is very family oriented. She treasures time spent with family and greatly misses the matriarch of the family, her grandmother, Charlotte Johnson, who passed away when Williams was a junior in high school. However, her grandmother’s influence still plays an important role in Williams’s outlook on life.
“I hold onto many of her teachings and beliefs which have led me to be the person I am today,” said Williams. “The love of sports and the desire to help people are things that will never change about me.”
Williams is the daughter of Pauline and Kenneth Williams.