Former SU Camper now CEO has a heart to reach others with God’s love

Brisbane’s second largest digital marketing agency, R6 Digital, is passionate about using their talents to further the work of Christian ministries like SU QLD.  In fact, for R6 Digital Founder…

Brisbane’s second largest digital marketing agency, R6 Digital, is passionate about using their talents to further the work of Christian ministries like SU QLD. 

In fact, for R6 Digital Founder and CEO, Michael Dogger, his life was profoundly impacted by SU QLD’s camping ministry almost two decades ago when he first attended a technology-centred camp called Übertweak.

“I heard about Jesus and his message of salvation for the first time at Übertweak, and ended up becoming a director for about seven years. During my time as camp director, I met a young man called Sam and fifteen years later he’s now working for me as a programmer!” says Michael. 

And now Michael wants to sow back into the very work that started his own faith journey. 

“As a CEO, I’ve got to be a wise steward of the resources that God’s given me, but when we’re working with ministries like SU we try to do things at a minimal rate,” he says.

“I believe our whole life should be about using the skills God has given us to reach people.”

It’s why R6 Digital is partnering with SU QLD to offer their expertise and software to help us and our ministry partners, particularly churches, improve their digital presence in an increasingly online world. 

Übertweak is all about teaching and challenging high school students in matters of God and technology in a supportive camp community.

In Michael’s experience, many churches think of marketing as almost a dirty word. But it doesn’t need to be, if it’s done right and with the right motivation. 

“Churches are not traditionally very good at marketing, and I’ve realised that churches need to market. I’d almost go so far as to say if we’re not marketing, we’re not fulfilling our calling as the church,” says Michael.

“At its core, sharing Jesus’ love is about reaching those in need. And nowadays people are living their lives online so we need to be there to reach them. Digital marketing means your church comes up when people Google ‘Churches near me.’

R6 Digital recently refreshed Citipointe Church’s website, and they were thrilled with the result. 

“R6 was absolutely fantastic. They were so committed to achieving our goal of having a functional website that had the ability to grow as we did,” says Jess, Head of Graphics at Citipointe Brisbane.

“They didn’t speak in a language that was foreign to us and always took the time to explain and educate us on things so we were well-informed about decisions we had to make.” 

“Our church’s calling is to influence the world for good and for God and we believe that having a strong online presence is a very effective tool in which to do that. R6 really takes the time to find out exactly what your needs are and where you want to grow to. That’s what we loved about them!”

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From all of us at SU QLD, we want to say a massive thank you to Michael and his team at R6 Digital for being such a blessing to us. Your heart to use your skills and expertise to make a difference in the lives of others is an inspiration. 

To get in touch with Michael and the R6 Digital team, click here.

Posted: 28/09/2020

How my personal experience drove my love of camps

People often ask me why I love camping so much. Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships. Going deeper, at the…

People often ask me why I love camping so much.

Camps are super fun, they create amazing memories and allow people to build incredible friendships.

Going deeper, at the centre of every camping journey is your personal experience – and my experiences with camps growing up inspired a love for them as an adult.

I remember going on my first Beach Mission as an assistant leader when I was 15. We started each day with worship and a devotion together before going to the beach to show God’s love through various community programs. Spending this week with a strong Christian community of leaders showed me what it is to be a Christian.

After that camp, I became more engaged with church and started reading my bible to keep growing. It was my experience on SU Beach Missions as a teen that led me on a lifelong journey of faith. This is why I’m so passionate about camps.

Camps give young people the opportunity to get a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Camps are not an everyday experience.

Research from McCrindle and The Christian Venues Association shows Christian camps have significant positive impacts on faith formation*.

As camp leaders and church congregations, it’s important for us to understand the flow of a camp – there are three main stages…

1. The lead-up
As campers get ready to go on camp, they can go through many emotions – ranging from excitement to anxiety. It’s important that parents and camp leaders are aware of these emotions – and able to set realistic expectations for the child so that they are not caught off guard when they arrive on camp.

2. Not an ‘everyday’ experience
Camps can start off relatively similar to the ‘everyday’ we know, but when they get rolling and the camp’s community starts to grow, many campers experience God’s love – something they might not feel in the everyday.

3. Heading back to the ‘everyday’
When camp is over, leaders, parents and churches can support their young people by helping to welcome them back into the ‘everyday’. Life after camp can be a bit dull – so youth groups and social activities are a great way of helping young campers transition back.

Overall, the sense of community that develops over the course of a camp, and the time spent learning and growing in faith is transformational. My experience on Beach Missions at age 15 changed the course of my life, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

Due to COVID-19, our normal SU Camps were not able to run in the Easter Holidays. For the Winter Camps Season we have moved to an online model – which we are so excited about!

We believe that having online camps will create an online community that will allow our kids to still have a peak experience – you can find out more at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sucamps/

*https://www.christianvenues.org.au/impact/

 

About the author…

Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience as working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.

Posted: 28/05/2020

You’re helping children like Jonah beat the odds

Through your support school chaplains are supporting children and young people in need, particularly those considered to be at-risk. Tragically, young Indigenous Australians continue to be significantly more at-risk…

Through your support school chaplains are supporting children and young people in need, particularly those considered to be at-risk.

Tragically, young Indigenous Australians continue to be significantly more at-risk across many categories when compared with their non-Indigenous peers.

They’re 26 times more likely to be incarcerated*, 10 times more likely to be placed in out­-of-home care**, significantly less likely to finish year 12*** – and the list goes on.

These are stats regional school chaplains like Dan at Biloela State High are working to overcome through his A2B-inspired program for Indigenous boys in grades 7, 8 and 9.

The term-long program culminated in a peak camping experience, which was made possible through a generous grant from Collier Charitable Fund.

“The boys loved coming together for the program and camp. They learned some valuable life skills along the lines of teamwork, trust, communication and perseverance,” says Chappy Dan.

“We saw lots of moments of triumph and challenge, and we were able to give the boys the freedom to have fun in a structured and caring environment. One highlight was the trust fall. They went from being scared to do it, to cheering each other on.”

One participant, Jonah, says he was particularly grateful to connect with his friends and embrace his heritage.

“My favourite part about camp was using the fishing rods. I also really liked cooking on the hexi stoves,” says Jonah.

Chappy Dan could see with his own eyes the profound change in each of these young men, and this was backed up by the stats when they got back to school.

“One boy had 40 behavioural incidents in Term 2, and this halved when the program was running in Term 3. Halving that amount of incidents is almost unheard of,” says Chappy Dan.

“It was awesome to see the boys really come into their own. The aim of the program was to develop a sense of identity and pride, and that’s what we saw happen.”

“Our school is happy, the kids are sad it’s over, and parents are extraordinarily thankful. It was a great success.”

Your support means chaplains like Dan can serve in the early intervention and prevention space for our at­ risk youth.

Please continue to support this vital work. Click here to donate: www.suqld.org.au/donate

 

*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016, Youth detention population in Australia 2016, pg. 10

**17. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017, Child protection Australia 2015-16

***Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report 2017, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, pg. 43

Posted: 8/04/2020

You’re building community across cultures

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions. Through your generous support and a grant…

Part of Australia’s beauty is found in its diversity. But diversity without a shared sense of community can lead to sharp divisions.

Through your generous support and a grant from Department of Home Affairs, SU Camps have launched the its first CHAT Super Sports Camp. These events bring campers together, helping them better understand and engage with different cultures and beliefs.

17-year-old lta, who comes from a Samoan background, first heard about the camp through her local church pastor.

“I went along with some people from my church,” lta says.

“My favourite sport was basketball – it was competitive and really fun.

“Even though I didn’t have any school friends with me on camp – I made new friends from different backgrounds and cultures.”

As much as she enjoyed the sport, lta says her favourite part of camp was the group chats after sport ended each day.

“Someone new would get up and speak about how they came to Australia and what it was like in their home country,” lta says.

“I really engaged with it – just hearing what they went through and how life was different for them.

“It changed my perspective. Their lives were so much harder and tougher than what I’ve been through here – a lot of them experienced racism.”

Camp Director Troy Wilson felt inspired and encouraged after seeing cultural barriers break down over the five-day camp.

“The goal is to get kids from different cultural backgrounds to come together, have fun and learn about one another in a safe space,” Troy says.

“Sport is the perfect medium for this. We had some kids who couldn’t speak English really well, but once you got them on a court or a playing field they understood how to work together to score a goal or get a ball over a net.”

The camp had a positive impact on lta. She said she’ll definitely come along to the next CHAT Camp.

“It’s a really memorable experience and heaps of fun too. It taught me that no matter what religion, culture or belief we have, we are still the same in that our humanity makes us ‘one’ – and regardless of our differences and difficulties culturally, we can overcome them all,” lta says.

Your support makes camps like this possible. We couldn’t do it without you. To find out how you can get behind camps like this one, head to suqld.org.au/camps or email camps@suqld.org.au

Posted: 5/03/2020

You helped Daniel celebrate schoolies

Finishing school is a key milestone for a young person that should be celebrated. But for teenagers with disabilities, this is not always possible. Thanks to your support, NSW…

Finishing school is a key milestone for a young person that should be celebrated. But for teenagers with disabilities, this is not always possible.

Thanks to your support, NSW mum Kathie was able to send her son Daniel to SU-Schoolies Whitsundays. Spoiler alert: he had the time of his life!

For many parents who have a child with Down Syndrome, the thought of sending them on a week away would cause some serious nerves.

“Parents of kids with disabilities often ask questions like: ‘Is anyone going to understand my child?’ or ‘Is anyone going to support them?’,” Kathie says.

“Children with disabilities can have limited life experiences. Most of the time they really want to be involved in groups and social circles, but don’t have the ability to initiate conversations.”

But for Kathie, she knew her son was in good hands with Scripture Union. In fact, he’s been an SU camper since Grade 7. When she discovered Queensland’s SU­Schoolies program, she signed Daniel up on the spot.

“In our culture, ‘schoolies’ has become almost a rite of passage,” Kathie says.

“It was such a blessing to know SU QLD organised everything and had responsible adult leaders supervising the event.

“Without SU-Schoolies, Daniel wouldn’t have been able to experience that ‘rite of passage’. Now he can say, ‘Yeah I went on schoolies’ .”

With some help from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS}, Kathie sponsored two of Daniel’s friends – Matt and Connor – to come along on SU-Schoolies Whitsundays with him. Connor said the week was a blast.

“There wasn’t really one part that was my favourite. I liked all of it,” Connor recalls.

“Activities were prepared and planned, but there was still enough free room and we
were treated like adults – not kids.

“He [Daniel] really enjoyed it. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he was smiling a lot and definitely had a great time.”

Event Director Jane Moe said SU­Schoolies is all about helping all schoolies enjoy the ‘week of their life’.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a disability or if you don’t have anyone coming with you,” Jane says.

“You’ve finished 12 years of school – we think that’s worth celebrating and we’re gonna help you do just that!”

Kathie says SU-Schoolies was a great way to finish her son’s journey as a SU camper.

“I’m so glad that Daniel is going to be able to look back in 30 or 40 years and remember what he did on schoolies. Knowing that is such a blessing.”

Spaces are available for SU-Schoolies events in 2020! For more information, visit su-schoolies.com

Posted: 18/02/2020

You helped these boys become overcomers

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly. Young…

If we asked most camp leaders to identify ‘that one kid’ on camp who was a little more challenging than the rest, they’d come to mind almost instantly.

Young people who anger easily and struggle to control their behavior can have a huge impact on the pace and feel of a camp. But the truth is, they can feel isolated and alone.

Don Truss’s heart for these at-risk youth spurred him to assemble a team of leaders to launch Overcomers Camp. The camp, which ran for the first time in the 2019 June/July school holidays, hosted 17 boys from South and Central Queensland schools.

The boys came from a diverse range of backgrounds. Some had a parent in trouble with the law or came from broken homes, while others had experienced alcoholism or substance abuse first-hand – or even a combination of all. The camp focused on loving and supporting these young people through a week of fun, yet sometimes messy activities.

“I guess the heart behind it is to support boys who are going through major challenges internally and don’t know how to express it without acting out or getting angry,” Don says.

“A bunch came off suspensions at school – when they feel threatened they often answer with their fists, which gets them into trouble. The week gave us a great chance to speak into that space, showing God’s love and giving them alternatives to the physical responses they often default to.”

The camp was themed around military history – focusing on how character and mateship are crucial for any good soldier.

“On the first day, we ran team challenges where the boys and leaders had to get everyone through obstacles in thick mud,” Don recalls.

“One of the rules was to get through together – no man left behind – so we got sent back to the start a lot of times!

“But in the end, they got through it together and the feeling of success as a group was such a powerful way to start camp.”

On top of the mud-based activities the boys conquered a range of obstacle courses, had flour bomb fights, explored tunnels together and ended the week zipping around in dirt buggies.

12-year-old camper Eli had a great time on camp.

“My favourite part was going through the mud,” Eli recalls.

“I think it’s important to have fun in life – this camp was heaps of fun and much more.

“I’d love to come again, and I’ll make sure I bring more of my mates with me!”

Overcomers Camp introduces 17 at-risk campers to aspects of leadership, responsibility, self-control, respect, forgiveness and mateship.

Thanks to your support, at-risk teens in regional communities are growing through tough circumstances at camps like Overcomers. Keep this vital support going – visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 7/11/2019

You’re planting seeds through SU-Schoolies

With tens-of-thousands of high schoolers about to graduate, there’s a growing number who are picking safe schoolies alternatives to the more precarious party­culture on the Gold Coast. SU QLD has…

With tens-of-thousands of high schoolers about to graduate, there’s a growing number who are picking safe schoolies alternatives to the more precarious party­culture on the Gold Coast.

SU QLD has been running SU-Schoolies for 39 years, currently offering events in Hawaii, Whitsundays, Sunny Coast and Fraser Island.

Each location provides an action-packed week of fun activities in a drug and alcohol-free environment.

When Goondiwindi teen Kirah first heard about SU-Schoolies on the Sunshine Coast, she wasn’t sure if it was for her. But after finding out some more information from her school chaplain, Sonia, she took the plunge.

“When we arrived there was a lot of people – at first I was nervous because I didn’t know anyone, but then some leaders and other schoolies came up to me and introduced themselves.

“It didn’t take me long to feel comfortable, and from that point on it was awesome,” she recalls.

Kirah says she loved activities like ice skating and aqua fun park, but most of all she enjoyed the ‘Pluggers’ spiritual input program held each night of the week.

“Once I was at pluggers I didn’t want to leave at the end,” Kirah says.

“It helped me a lot – just being able to reflect and have time to think about some of the big questions in life.”

Andrew Beavers has been directing SU-Schoolies Sunny Coast for 10 years. In that time he’s seen thousands of lives impacted and empowered through the event.

“It’s so inspiring to see how God works through SU-Schoolies in different ways each year,” Andrew says.

“We want to help young people celebrate this important milestone in their lives in a fun, safe environment. After 12 years of school, they deserve it!”

For Kirah, schoolies had a lasting impact that she hopes leads into her future.

“I’m thinking of coming back again as a leader,” Kirah says.

“You meet a lot of cool people and have such a great time – it’s an awesome week.”

SU-Schoolies offers four incredible trips to Hawaii, Whitsundays, Sunny Coast and Fraser Island.

SU-Schoolies registrations are open until late October – spaces are limited! If you know someone graduating this-or-next-year, bookings are open for 2019 and 2020.

Head to this link to find out more and register: su-schoolies.com

Posted: 15/10/2019

You’re empowering children to grow deeper in faith

Faith was never meant to be passive. It’s something to be lived and experienced. Through your support for SU QLD’s camping ministry, young Queenslanders are being challenged and inspired to…

Faith was never meant to be passive. It’s something to be lived and experienced.

Through your support for SU QLD’s camping ministry, young Queenslanders are being challenged and inspired to live out their faith and make a difference in their community.

Quest Camp is centered on challenging activities and experiences to help children grow deeper in their faith. For children who have grown up in church, it is their opportunity to explore how they can put their faith into action to help those less fortunate.

Pastor at Vision Community Church, Debbie Dodds, launched Toowoomba Quest Camp in 2017.

“It’s a discipleship camp, focused on challenging and inspiring kids who already have a faith to dig deep,” Debbie says.

“We want to give them life experiences that stretch them, so that at the end of the 5-day program these campers have done some quite courageous things.”

Central to the camp’s mission are community outreach activities, aimed at extending campers beyond their comfort zones so they can experience how Jesus equips them to engage in community.

“Over the last two years we have taken the campers to feed the homeless in Toowoomba, run a simulation of what it would be like to live as a refugee, and visited an independent living facility for adults with mental disabilities,” Debbie recalls.

“This year we challenged our campers to engage in a cross cultural setting with Yazidi refugees, who recently settled in Toowoomba.

“The day was full of sport, games and dancing together. At night we ate a Syrian feast cooked by the Yazidi mothers, before gathering around a campfire to sing songs and toast marshmallows.

“It was a delight, and I think we built bridges better than any of us expected.”

For camper Melody, Quest Camp was a week that helped her learn to depend more on God.

“I heard about the camp when my older sister went to the first Toowoomba Quest camp in 2017,” Melody says.

“My favourite parts of camp were when we were pushed out of our comfort zones to do things we’d never imagine we could.

“When the Yazidi people came over it was very silent at first, but once we broke the silence and started up conversations with them that changed.

“Then we played sport together and sang songs around the camp fire – that was the most enjoyable part for me.

“It’s taught me that life will definitely be very challenging and hard sometimes, but God will always be there for me.”

Your support is crucial for camps like Quest to continue. You can help continue to powerfully impact children and young people. Visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 18/09/2019

You helped Daniel connect on camp

We were created to connect with others. But for some children, trying to connect can cause much heartache — particularly children with a disability. For mum Debra, she’s seen…

We were created to connect with others. But for some children, trying to connect can cause much heartache — particularly children with a disability. For mum Debra, she’s seen this firsthand through her son Daniel’s struggles.

Through your support for SU QLD’s camping ministry, Daniel recently made meaningful connections with other young people at Central Queensland’s Wet‘n’Wild camp. (more…)

Posted: 15/07/2019

You’re connecting cultures through sport

For the Sudanese community in South East Queensland, sport and faith are playing an important role in bridging the gap between cultures. Senior Pastor at Hope Pointe Church, Debbie…

For the Sudanese community in South East Queensland, sport and faith are playing an important role in bridging the gap between cultures.

Senior Pastor at Hope Pointe Church, Debbie Garth, works closely with the Sudanese community in Caboolture, so when an opportunity arose to partner with SU QLD and run a sports camp, she jumped at the chance. (more…)

Posted: 11/04/2019

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Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

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