Cameron relished his freedom as a single man travelling the country and was surprised to find settling down and opening his home to an older child would start a whole new adventure.
Lifelong educator Cameron, thought about becoming a foster carer for some time, but put it on the backburner as he travelled extensively. Once he settled down, he began a whole new adventure when he started caring for free spirited Ben*.
For over 20 years Cameron travelled across NSW working in the education sector in regional and remote areas. During this time, he contemplated becoming an authorised foster carer and believed he had the skills and time to devote to a young person.
After settling down in Western NSW and establishing himself as a school principal, Cameron signed up to become a carer with local agency Marymead, who have since nominated him for a Carer Recognition Award. The agency says, “Cameron is a 1 in a 1000 carer and we are very lucky to have him be a part of Marymead.”
My Forever Family has named Cameron as a winner of a Carer Recognition Award for his service in caring for teens, for providing the supportive and nurturing environment that Ben has been longing for.
Cameron stepped up to care for 12-year-old Ben after his placement broke down. Marymead and Ben’s teachers and birth parents are impressed by his progress in Cameron’s care.
Cameron is quick to reflect on the huge impact Ben has also made on his life, “I’d spent a lot of time alone, travelling, and only needing to worry about my own needs. Foster caring has changed my life completely. Now I go on bike rides after school pick-up and play board games after dinner. Our life is more focused on doing things together instead of alone.”
Before arriving to his placement with Cameron, Ben was shy and heavily medicated. Under Cameron’s care he has blossomed socially and now only requires minimal medication. His teachers and extended family have noticed that he has become engaged at school and even joined a soccer team. “He had been in a place that was falling apart, and he was very withdrawn and timid, he didn’t want to engage and now he’s a huge chatterbox. He has my undivided attention which is a big difference for him.”
Cameron has also found his life has become more purposeful, “Just our interactions are rewarding, going for a walk with the dog or going for a bike ride, it’s hard to put into words. He’s just so friendly and kind, he’s a beautiful boy”.
Cameron has also found that Ben has had a profound impact on his social life, deepening his connections with his own family.
“My parents absolutely adore him, and my mother specifically spoils him. He also hit it off with my two nephews straight away and they were adventuring in the bush together in no time.”
After decades of travelling in solitude Cameron has found himself relishing in homelife with Ben by his side, sharing in home maintenance projects, camping and fishing trips together and simple pleasures like walking the family dog – all things Cameron attributes to Ben being an older child in care.
“He’s like a fantastic apprentice tradie and he loves helping me around the house, he loves doing the lawn which is great because I hate it. We can have conversations about movies that we’ve watched because he has that developed understanding of the world. But it’s also fun to watch him be a young person doing WWE style wrestling with the dog.”