Children, carers and caseworkers came from far and wide to enjoy CareSouth’s Out-of-Home-Care fun day at Jamberoo earlier in the year.

The action-packed event, run each year to give carers, caseworkers and young people a chance to meet others from across CareSouth’s huge geographical footprint, was a success, despite an eleventh hour date change due to wet weather.

Shoalhaven Out-of-Home-Care team leader Lisa Loveday said horrendous driving conditions on the original date set for the fun day led to the OOHC team postponing the event.

“This meant numbers were down considerably from last year with around 150 carers and children attending,” said Lisa. “Carers came from the Goulburn, Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions and on the positive side it allowed for a more relaxed flow for getting everyone fed and for staff to interact with families.”

“Whilst not difficult, planning for Jamberoo has its challenges as we are required to pre purchase tickets and there is considerable cost to this,” said Lisa. “Catering is generally easy as we like to keep it simple and the cost down by doing the catering ourselves. In saying this, for the BBQ lunch to be cooked and served we normally need an army of caseworkers to ensure this happens without a hitch.

“The Shoalhaven OOHC team need a special mention as every year they do a lot of behind the scenes stuff to ensure a great day is had by all. While I took a few weeks off Merryn Corbyn took charge and liaised with staff from Jamberoo and other CareSouth regions. The team did all the food, drink and cutlery purchasing as well as assisted in cutting up a mountain of onions and cheese.”

Lisa described the food catering crew as a “well-oiled machine” carrying everything from eskies, bread, water, ice, salads, sauces and sausages like an army of ants off to a picnic.
“We even managed to arrive at Jamberoo at 9am with smiles on our faces, eager to see what the day was going to throw at us,” said Lisa.

“A huge thanks to Hayley and David from the Illawarra OOHC team and to Craig from the Shoalhaven OOHC team. You guys made my job so much easier and showed the real value of team work. I think for the first time ever you even managed to get the red onion into the salad so I was super pleased.

“It’s not easy feeding 150 hungry people and these guys made it look easy. Thanks also to Sorcha Conlon who was the ‘sauce extraordinaire’. I have to say though when it came to showing her bravery on the big rides she scored a 0/10. We have some work to do with Sorcha next year! Thanks also to Kellie from our Shoalhaven Residential Care team who supported a little person in OOHC to come along and really enjoy the day.”

Illawarra OOHC caseworker David Allman said activities like the Jamberoo fun day are an important part of the support CareSouth caseworkers offer to the children, young people and carers with whom they work.

“It’s normalising the experience for kids in care because they meet others like them. It is breaking down silos, for caseworkers, children and carers because we get to meet people from across CareSouth,” said David.

“It was really worthwhile day,” CareSouth OOHC manager Lisa Loveday. “Lots of fun and a reminder of the simple pleasures in life.”

Any leftover tickets for Jamberoo were given to families in the Aunties&Uncles and OOHC programs who could not make it on the day.