Young people, carers and caseworkers came from far and wide to enjoy CareSouth’s annual fun day at Jamberoo on the weekend. And this year the action-packed event was bigger than ever with 260 people, including 17 CareSouth staff from the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Goulburn and Batemans Bay regions attending.

The fun day is run each year to give carers, caseworkers and young people a chance to meet others from across CareSouth’s huge geographical footprint. Distance was no deterrent, with some families coming from as far as Canberra and Moruya.

Batemans Bay caseworker Gregg Hendry went above and beyond to ensure an extended family from Canberra was able to join in on the fun. Gregg hired a mini-bus and drove from Batemans Bay to Canberra to pick up the family, then transported them to Jamberoo, before driving them back again after a full day of activities.

“Even though it was an early start and a long day we wanted to make sure the family didn’t miss out on the Jamberoo experience,” said Gregg. “It was an awesome day for the family, they had a ball. My overarching memory was the smiles on the faces of everyone in the sibling group, enjoying their day at Jamberoo together. They also had fun during the bus trip, playing music, watching the world go by and just spending time together.”

Event organiser Natalie Nicastri said despite the amount of hard work that went on behind the scenes to plan and execute the fun day, it was worth every moment just to see all the smiling faces at Jamberoo.

“An event as big as this is never going to be easy to organise and there are always hiccups along the way. But on the day everyone had a fantastic time and that’s all that matters,” said Natalie. “This year COVID-19 restrictions meant we couldn’t do our annual BBQ and all lunches had to be pre-made, boxed, packed and transported to the venue.

“We enlisted the help of the Berkeley Bakery who made almost 300 sandwiches on the morning of the event. Individual lunchboxes included mixed sandwiches, a cookie and chips. Staff then transported the lunchboxes to Jamberoo in time to feed the hungry hordes.”

CareSouth carers had nothing but positive feedback about the day, with one acknowledging that “it is a mammoth day to organise, and the cost is significant, but the positives for the children are immeasurable”.

CareSouth’s Southern Regional manager Tamara Lacelles-Smith, who attended, said activities like Jamberoo are integral to relationship building for young people, carers and caseworkers, and another level of support provided by the organisation. 

“It is a great way for young people, caseworkers and carers to connect in a relaxed environment and meet people from across CareSouth,” said Tamara. “It’s normalising the experience for kids in care because they meet others like them.”