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

Chappy celebrated for going “above and beyond”

A massive congratulations to Gympie State High School’s beloved Chaplain Joy Mahoney, who was thrilled to discover she’d been nominated for the 15th Pride of Australia Award in October…

A massive congratulations to Gympie State High School’s beloved Chaplain Joy Mahoney, who was thrilled to discover she’d been nominated for the 15th Pride of Australia Award in October this year.

The Award is designed to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Australians who are making a difference in their communities. Those who know Chappy Joy are the first to say she is doing a wonderful job as she selflessly sows into her community each and every day.

Chappy Joy is a devoted chaplain who strongly believes in her call to chaplaincy, and works whole-heartedly to brighten the lives of everyone around her.

“For me it’s not just supporting people who are going through crisis, but walking alongside young people and their families towards a future of hope,” says Chappy Joy.

“One thing I love is supporting people to function in a healthy way so their future is not dictated by their past.

“My work lets me uncover the genuine gold in people. Getting this nomination was unexpected, but also made me very grateful for the community I’ve been placed in. I couldn’t do it without their support!”

Chappy Joy, you certainly live up to your name! Thank you so much for all you do in your community, and congratulations on this nomination – terrific work!

Chappies like Joy are making a massive difference in communities across Queensland. If you feel the call to chaplaincy, visit suqld.org.au/morehands to find out more.

Posted: 18/11/2019

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

Trek through our heartland launches new chappy services

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. A group of 14…

In July, Scripture Union Queensland and Inspired Adventures partnered to send a team of passionate supporters to trek the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.

A group of 14 big-hearted SU QLD supporters undertook the 6 day challenge to ensure the vital work of school chaplaincy continues. The team hiked 60+ kilometres across Australia’s beautiful, rugged and formidable red centre – and raised an incredible $55,461!

Through the funds these amazing adventurers raised (and a massive thanks to you wonderful people who supported them) we’ve been able to launch two new chaplaincy services, while also providing support to four existing services.  For long-time SU QLD supporters, Wendy Phillpotts and husband Steve, the trek meant so much more knowing what it was in support of.

“Larapinta was fantastic – the highlight of my year! We’ve had a long-term involvement with SU and chaplaincy, so it wasn’t a hard decision. Right from the start, we knew it was going to be achievable but still a challenge,” says Wendy.

“We had 3 chaplains in our group, which was wonderful. Getting to see the gifting’s they have, and hear about how they are using those in their schools was incredible. It was great to meet other people who are like-minded.”

Along with the community building, Wendy was blown away by the diversity of the landscape.

“The scenery was breathtaking. We trekked through massive gorges, sandy riverbeds and rock-hopped on rocks that were purple, pink and blue. At night we got to sleep under the stars in a swag, which was a new experience for me. It was a spectacle to see the shooting stars, and watch the moon moving across the sky.”

Steve and Wendy Phillpotts – long-time supporters of SU QLD

 

Also taking part in the adventure, SU QLD Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay, Kerry Evans, says the trek not only had an impact on those who took part, but it will now positively impact children in his local community.

“These funds have been fundamental in getting new school chaplaincy services started in schools that have never had a chaplain.

“The journey was more challenging than I was expecting, but seeing the need for teamwork and encouragement every day out on the trail showed me that by working together, we really can make a difference in the lives of young people.”

Kerry Evans – Regional Manager for Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay

 

A massive congratulations to this amazing group of people who have put in an incredible effort to raise money for school chaplaincy. And thank you to all those who supported the team financially and prayerfully.

Posted: 22/10/2019

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

When floodwaters subsided, your support saw them through

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School…

When her high school students were being evacuated from their homes in the dead of night, with rain pouring so hard it was deafening, William Ross State High School chaplain, Kay, was there to support them in any way she could.

The February floods tore through the Townsville high school community, destroying everything in its path – carpets, furniture, resources. Some staff lost everything.

William Ross State High School principal, Allan Evans, who steered the school community through the flood disaster, said one teacher was lucky to escape with her life.

“[The teacher’s] fiance was shifting the vehicle up the road to get out of the water and when they walked out again the water was chest-deep. The guys in the boat said ‘dump the lot or die’, so they got in the boat and that’s what they left with,” he says.

Chappy Kay recalls that many students feared for their lives too.

“I was talking to some kids and they said they were taken out in great big army trucks, and there was a cover over the top but because the rain was so heavy, there was a foot-and-a-half of water inside the truck,” she says.

“They couldn’t see anything, and every time the truck lurched, the parents were grabbing their kids because there was so much water, and they didn’t want them to drown inside the truck.”

In the light of day, the devastation became heartbreakingly clear. Many of the buildings at nearby Oonoonba State School had to be completely gutted and rebuilt.

Mr Evans found himself adopting 350 year 3-6 students on the high school campus for Term 1 after quickly offering his support.

“We were given 12 hours to completely revamp the school. We were a little protective of the younger students,” Mr Evans says.

Even after the floodwaters began to subside, it was clear that the full impact was still being felt. Mr Evans recalls that many of the students would panic whenever it would start to rain again. “Every time it rained, it was like they were re-traumatised,” he says.

But he was full of praise for Chappy Kay and the school’s other support staff.

“The support staff are the pivotal edge of any change. Kay is one of five support staff and each brings that element of support and that’s critical,” he said.

“The day-to-day business, the staff have got the ammunition to deal with it. But when you’ve got the blow-ups, a teacher can’t handle that because they’ve
got 20 other kids – that’s when you call for Chappy.”

Chappy Kay was there to support her traumatised school community because of your support. Help keep this support going, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 10/10/2019

Chaplaincy celebrated in Sarina

It’s nice when hard work is recognised, especially when it’s work done for a good cause. The efforts to promote chaplaincy in Mackay have been recognised by Sarina Community…

It’s nice when hard work is recognised, especially when it’s work done for a good cause.

The efforts to promote chaplaincy in Mackay have been recognised by Sarina Community Bank® Branch, Bendigo Bank who recently awarded the local School Chaplaincy District with the inaugural Community Impact Award. The award recognises  organisations that are making a significant difference in the community.

Rod and Raylene Ballard, long-time community members, and joint-chairs of the Local Chaplaincy Committee, are deeply invested in growing chaplaincy in their region and were pleasantly surprised for their team of chaplaincy supporters to be recognised.

“Sarina Community Bank® sees us as a group which interacts widely with the community in both our fundraising and our service. Our chaplains do such a great job in the schools supporting young people, so that doesn’t go unnoticed either,” says Rod.

“One of the benefits to this award is that you receive that little bit of extra exposure in the community. We’ve worked pretty hard over the years to help people understand what chaplaincy is, and how it helps young people.

“I’d just say, we don’t do what we do to get awards, because that’s not what it’s about. It’s all about the kids. When it all boils down, we’re just an ordinary group of people doing the best we can to help those who need it.”

Chair of Sarina Community Bank® Branch, Karen May, explains how the Community Bank® model works, and emphasises the importance of chaplaincy in the Sarina district.

“The benefit of the Community Bank®  is that we are able to invest profits locally. With 50% of the profits available to the local company, Sarina Community Bank® Branch is able to invest in various community programs and initiatives. This means that when local people bank with Sarina Community Bank®, funds are able to be invested straight back into the community.”

“We have had a longstanding relationship supporting Sarina District School Chaplaincy for up to $6,000 each year because chaplaincy is a centerpiece in our community. By running a smooth transition to high school program, chaplains become the go-to person for our young people who are going through a difficult time.”

This generous support has enabled Rod, Raylene and their team to help chaplaincy flourish in our region. You too can empower communities to support the work of chaplains by visiting www.suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 26/09/2019

Feeding the 1,100 – meet Queensland’s top dad

A big congratulations to Wynnum local, charity-worker and 37-year-old father-of-two, Phil Sargeson, who was named the 2019 Queensland Father of the Year – an award proudly presented by SU QLD….

A big congratulations to Wynnum local, charity-worker and 37-year-old father-of-two, Phil Sargeson, who was named the 2019 Queensland Father of the Year – an award proudly presented by SU QLD. Phil was nominated by his wife Samara, who spoke highly of his dedication to their kids.

“He is just an absolutely beautiful father,” Samara says.

“He spends large amounts of quality time with our kids – he has such a beautiful bond with both Joe and Hope – they just relish being in his company.”

For Phil, being a dad has had a huge impact on his life, he says.

“It helped me become more selfless and put their [his kids] needs above my own.”

In 2015, along with his wife Samara, Phil launched Cereal for Coffee, a charity focused on providing a healthy breakfast for kids who miss out.

“One in five kids turn up at school without breakfast,” Phil says.

“We knew a youth worker at our local school who was running a breakfast program and decided to help him out in getting supplies.”

Phil had the idea of going to local cafes and getting them on board.

“We asked a few cafes if they’d be willing to give away free coffee in exchange for cereal boxes – just for one day,” Phil recalls.

“In the first year nine cafes participated in the Manly area. We collected around 450 boxes of cereal – it took five car loads to collect them all!”

Since its inception, Cereal for Coffee has grown significantly. They’re now feeding more than 1,100 Brisbane young people a healthy breakfast each week.

Congratulations Phil – a deserving winner. Keep up the great work!

Posted: 18/09/2019

A Little Church with a Big Heart

Hidden in the bush between Esk and Somerset Dam stands a little white church. Built in 1905 by the local community, this church was founded with a purpose –…

Hidden in the bush between Esk and Somerset Dam stands a little white church. Built in 1905 by the local community, this church was founded with a purpose – it is ‘undenominational’ (sic) and the doors are open to all.

This concept was revolutionary in the early 20th century, however, it perfectly aligns with the heart of our school chaplains.

Since 2004, Caboonbah Undenominational has made a yearly donation to Chaplaincy, a gift that both honours the legacy of the church founders, and blesses the local chaplains – and the children and families they serve.

The great-granddaughter of Church founder Henry Somerset, recalls the stories her mother told her when she was a little girl, “[My great-grandfather] always said that Caboonbah was built on compassion and grace, and I’m really proud to have him as an ancestor.

The church reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Son. Everyone is welcome in God’s house in the same way the doors are open to all at Caboonbah.”

This message has a beautiful link to the work of school chaplains, who are there to listen to and include everyone who crosses their path.

The community of Caboonbah is a close-knit one, with many members having been involved for over 50 years.

One such member says, “The church has a very special feel about it. I think it’s the peaceful surroundings, with the mountains in the distance and the Brisbane river running not far away.”

While the church no longer runs a weekly service, the idyllic venue is often booked for weddings, christenings and funerals, and the annual service which is held in early November.

The simple history of Caboonbah carries a rich encouragement that we can take with us today. What was founded long ago by a group of believers in the bush, is the same message of non-judgmental love and compassion that is carried forth by our school chaplains.

You can support SU QLD’s school chaplaincy ministry, by heading to suqld.org.au/donate.

 

Posted: 16/09/2019

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