The Au Pair of the Year contest provides an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our amazing au pairs who go above and beyond in their role of caring for host children and inviting cultural exchange into a family’s home. This year, host families from across the country submitted hundreds of au pair nominations and it was up to the Cultural Care community to pick a winner from the top 16 finalists.
We are so excited to share this news with you and celebrate our 2022 Au Pair of the Year winner: Camila from Colombia!
You can read all about Camila in her host family’s nomination essay, included below.
“Camila and I matched in March of 2020, but due to COVID and travel restrictions, she could not travel until March 2021. About two times a month, we exchanged notes and pictures until she was finally able to travel. I felt like we knew Camila and her family pretty well even before she finally got her visa. Once she got here, she immediately made a great connection with the twins (six years old). She spent time with them, played games, and talked to them about things that interested them. I knew within 1 week, that it was going to be a wonderful experience for the twins.
A few months after she arrived, we went to have dinner with my two sisters-in-law and the extended family. Well, at this dinner, Camila and the two sisters spent most of the evening talking about organic gardening and sharing pictures of plants on their phones. It was at this event that I really realized how exceptionally talented Camila was and how well she was able to connect with anyone. Because of her expertise, my husband agreed to build a garden for Mother’s Day and Camila helped us all plant lettuce, cilantro, basil, and a few other herbs. Later in the Summer, I took her to the local Botanical Gardens and we had a great time listening to music and the twins bought a small tomato plant which we planted as soon as we got home. Camila showed me and the twins how to check on the plants each day and my husband ran a special sprinkler line to automatically water the new garden. We had so much basil we were able to share with the neighbors and the other families were also asking for advice on how to start a garden.
Camila is exceptionally thoughtful and is always trying to help others. Normally, my older teenagers don’t make a connection with the babysitters or au pairs, but somehow Camila actually made great friends with them. Camila helped my teenage daughter when she was getting ready for her homecoming dance. I know my daughter really loves her because she did an oil painting for her of her black cat and she also painted a beautiful picture of butterflies for Camila’s mom. (Camila was able to take this home on her trip to Bogota and Camila’s Mom was thrilled.) Camila and my daughter have hung out and made a few meals together including empanadas and Camila and Katie decorated the twins’ birthday cake with Spider-Man decorations.
Camila has also been a great friend to other au pairs and is always reaching out, especially to the new au pairs. She has gone on several trips and has been to Washington, D.C. and Texas with other au pairs. I am so impressed about how they have all been able to figure out the Air BnB and find good places to stay.
Camila is an expert with media and photography. I (host Mom) am also super interested in photography, so we really connected over this. Camila sends me cute pictures every day of something that the twins are doing. She is always so thoughtful.
Camila has also done some other amazing things. Our pet dog Fergus had a major abdominal tear and she sewed up his stomach. (Now, Fergus is a stuffed animal but my son Sean is very attached to him and he hugged Camila so tightly after she patched up Fergus). Camila has also pulled off some other miracles such as reattaching the head to the king on the chess set, fixing Santa’s leg on the dancing Santa toy and she even pulled out a massive splinter that was in Rory’s foot one evening.
She has helped the twins make really special cards for the school teachers and the bus drivers. She also got the twins to write a note to the tooth fairy each and every time they lose a tooth. (First-graders lose a lot of teeth, so this is a lot of notes.)
Camila is very charismatic, everyone loves her, even the caterpillars liked to hang out and eat her pepper plants in the garden.
One day, at the bus stop, one of the other parents was running late to pick up their kids. Camila immediately recognized a potential issue and stayed until the parents arrived.
My husband and I have very busy military jobs and it has been an enormous relief to have Camila to help us. My twins are doing really well in school, despite the situation with COVID. I give all the credit to Camila who gets them to knock out their homework every day. My twins are also playing tennis and I am super happy that Camila has been interested in taking lessons as well and learning how to play. She is getting better and better at tennis, so I am so glad she is not only improving her English but also getting some new tennis skills. Camila is just open-minded and willing to try new things. We consider Camila to be part of our family forever.”