Posted in Camp life
For 16-year-old Ben, surfing is more than a hobby — it’s a way to connect, to grow, and to tackle the big issues of life.
Ben grew up on the Gold Coast with his mum and his younger brother. He loves his footy and his family — but for the last three years, one of his biggest highlights has been his annual pilgrimage to SU QLD’s Surf Safari camp (now called Surfishari).
During his first camp in Year 8, Ben and six of his mates from school spent the week surfing, skating, riding waterslides and watching surfing videos. But it was also a chance for them to explore deeper issues of faith and explore the Bible, something many of Ben’s friends had never experienced.
“My mates got to hear about God and my faith, which helped them to understand me a bit more,” Ben says.
“They saw a side of me they wouldn’t usually see at school, and they also connected with God, which I was really stoked about!”
Ben’s mum, Shannon, says she’s recommended SU QLD’s surf camps to a number of parents, and no one has ever been disappointed.
“As a single mum, I’ve always believed you don’t just need one man in the life of your son… you need a community.”
For Ben, that community comes in the form of his fellow surfers, camp leaders and school chaplains.
“I watch [my chaplains] and how they react and respond to stuff. They just seem to love people and they’re so encouraging. It helps me to be the man I want to be.”
Ben catches up with his two chaplains — also avid surfers— a couple of times a week. “They really walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” Ben says. “I reckon that’s the most important thing.
“I watch them and how they react and respond to stuff. They just seem to love people and they’re so encouraging. It helps me to be the man I want to be.”
Shannon agrees. “I’ve seen Ben really grow in confidence as a young man, and I know it’s because of his faith, because he can get alongside people who love what he loves at the Surfishari camp and because of these chaplains that are really interested and invested in his life,” she says.
If you want more information about Surfishari or any of our other SU Camps, contact Andrew Beavers on 07 3112 6458, or visit suqld.org.au/camps