Stories of Inspiration
Cam Can and Associates: Cameron’s Story
‘The answer is ours to discover’
Who is Cameron?
Cameron is a 21 year old man with a small business and a home of his own. He is shy but enjoys being around the people who know him well. Cameron does not communicate verbally but has a unique system of communication that those close to him understand. Cameron has a disability; however, it was not noticed immediately. When his diagnosis came, his young life was faced with therapy, doctors, and experimentation. Throughout his whole life, Cameron has faced a system that put him in the ‘too hard’ basket. He was told that he was too difficult for school and the workplace, and those who cared about him could only hope that he might end up in a day service. However, his parents, Marc and Anthea, knew their son was capable of more and that he had something to contribute.
Planning for Cameron’s life
Three years before Cameron left school, Marc and Anthea invited a selected group of people to take part in a planning day with Cameron. They found that many of the people who attended did so out of obligation and did not truly believe in Cameron’s capabilities, so, Marc and Anthea, made the important decision to ask only those who truly believed in the capabilities of their son to stay with the group. Unfortunately, some people did not remain involved. Six years on from that planning day, all of the goals of Cam’s life have been achieved (except travel, but Cam is off to Thailand this year). Cameron’s achievements have now converted the non-believers.
Planning for Cameron’s work prospects
Before Cameron left school, Marc and Anthea started investigating potential employment opportunities for him, and they found little hope. Many employment agencies refused to take Cameron on, and Marc and Anthea had already made the decision that business activity centres would not be a suitable option for Cameron. The transition from school was a difficult time as Cameron’s close supporters struggled to find a role for him.
The light bulb moment
Around this same time, Marc and Anthea were renovating their home and kept facing the dilemma of needing to be available for deliveries and tradespeople, while working full time. One day, around this time, Marc noticed Cameron waiting for a support worker to collect him. Marc thought to himself, ‘Cameron spends a lot of his days waiting for something or other and he is really good at it’. This sent Cameron and his support crew on a life changing path; could they turn this notion of waiting into a viable business or employment option for Cameron? They did! They set up Cam Can and Associates, a personalised waiting service, servicing busy people who are unable to wait around for installations, deliveries, or maintenance workers. Cameron also does odd jobs while waiting, such as gardening, car detailing, and cob web removal
Growing the business; what has been achieved and where to from here?
The business is not limited as a microenterprise; it is seen as a serious small business with constant opportunities to grow and expand. Cameron’s support crew pursued a creative solution to the issue of employment. They have found great success, not only in raising the bar for Cameron or succeeding in business but in transforming Cameron into an independent, confident, and happy person. He has a valued role, he is visible, and he does not have a token job. Cam Can and Associates do not accept charity; every exchange must have a mutual benefit. They have created a vast network in order to succeed in the business world, and they have a very high profile. While this short snippet of Cameron’s life story does not detail the hard work that went into setting up the business for Cameron, it is important to note that this is the result of many, many years of fighting and advocating for a better life for Cameron. Cameron and his family were faced with a society that did not seek to raise the expectations for Cameron and his future; the bar was set low, but Marc, Anthea, and their family and friends had the courage to dream big and to succeed.