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Cameron making a difference in young lives at Riverside

Cameron Brewis has plans to grow the youth programs at Riverside Gawler Corps in Adelaide.


Cameron Brewis is the youth team leader at Riverside Gawler Corps in Adelaide’s outer northern region. He started the youth program four years ago after realising he could make a difference in the lives of young people. Cameron’s own life changed course following a moment of prayer outside a courthouse and the prospect of time in prison.

“I was at the pub one night having a beer, and Darren (Darren Dwyer, Riverside Gawler Corps Officer) was doing the pubs ministry. We struck up a conversation and built a relationship. At that time, I had dates in court, looking at jail time and was maybe going away for six years. Outside the courthouse, Darren supported me, we prayed and put it in God’s hands. I walked out with a fine. I then quit my job and went into full-time ministry. From that day on, I decided to dedicate my life to God.”

Cameron began volunteering at Riverside Gawler Corps, including managing the café and helping with the other programs. Gawler is the oldest town in South Australia, but urban sprawl is quickly turning it into an outer northern suburb of Adelaide. Rural areas surrounding the town are becoming suburban developments to accommodate the growing population and new families. With this rapid growth rate comes significant challenges, and Cameron knows the town’s young people face a tough time.

“I wanted to see the youth space in Gawler grow,” Cameron explains. “I wanted to keep young people from going down the path I went down. I can catch them and have the perspective and life experience that can help. There can be drug use and violence here. Some of these kids have been in care, parents living out of their cars. The closest suburbs are also lower socio-economic areas, and guys come up on the train line, sometimes causing trouble.”

Riverside Salvos work throughout the Gawler area, offering a range of community events.

Cameron oversees the Riverside Gawler youth program on Friday nights, life groups, and school programs throughout the week. They facilitate a cooking class for young people that supports their study goals. Young people in the Gawler area are less likely to study or work, and fewer are pursuing full-time secondary education.

“We take four to six young people and go through basic cooking skills, and they prepare meals for the homelessness program,” Cameron says. “They learn skills, we build relationships, and they do something for others. They also get points towards finishing high school. A lot of these guys don’t have the life skills, and their schooling can go off the rails easily.”

Education and employment are key challenges for young people in town, but the risks associated with the area can be higher. Tragically, young people in the Gawler area are twice as likely to die from preventable causes – such as suicide, road accident, or assault – than in the Greater Adelaide region. For young people in Gawler, the stakes are high.

Gawler is one of the fastest-growing areas in South Australia and presents many challenges and opportunities. Photo; Gawler Council

“It’s all at stake,” Cameron says. “Unfortunately, some of these kids don’t have good role models or a father who’s around, or there might be parents with addiction issues. If young people don’t have the right support, there’s only one way to go. The repercussions of not being given the right life skills are huge.”

Cameron has plans to grow the youth programs at Riverside Gawler Corps, to train leaders and build programs for different age ranges, and to continue to make some hope for those young people facing tough times.

“We have a young person who is from the foster care system,” Cameron explains. “We took them to a youth event, and they gave their heart to God. It’s made a huge impact on their life. There’s a hope you can get out of those situations too, that there is a God who loves you and cares for you and can remove you from those tough times.”


If you or anyone you know needs help, contact:

Lifeline at or call 131 114.

Headspace at or call 1800 650 890.

Mensline Australia at or call 1300 789 978.


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