COVID-19 Update on SU QLD Camps and Events

SU QLD is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and acting on the advice of our Federal and State governments and health authorities. To ensure the health and wellbeing of…

SU QLD is closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and acting on the advice of our Federal and State governments and health authorities.

To ensure the health and wellbeing of the children, young people, families and communities we serve, we have made the decision to cancel all Easter camps. Our Brisbane Golf Day, which was scheduled for June, has also been postponed until next year. 

As the health crisis is still unfolding, we cannot rule out future cancellations for our winter camping program, and other events planned for the coming months. Please know that we will keep you informed if there are any changes going forward.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers at this uncertain time. You, our faithful volunteers, campers and friends, are certainly in ours.

For more information about COVID-19, please click here.

Posted: 20/03/2020

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

New SU QLD Training equips Charissa to change lives

For 34 years SU QLD has been training the next generation of youth workers through formal qualifications and internship-based programs. Through your support, we have launched a new qualification –…

For 34 years SU QLD has been training the next generation of youth workers through formal qualifications and internship-based programs.

Through your support, we have launched a new qualification – a Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (CHC42315). We’re already hearing encouraging stories from students who have completed the qualification.

Charissa registered for the first intake of the nine-month course, which equips students with the foundations they need to work as a school chaplain.

“I loved how even though most of the course was online – the sense of community was really strong. The trainers had lots of real-life experience in youth work too, which was really valuable as a student,” says Charissa.

After graduating, Charissa secured a job as the school chaplain for St Bernard State School. She says the training equipped her with skills she is now using in her work each day.

“Probably the most useful thing I learnt was how to have effective pastoral conversations with young people,” Charissa says.

“It’s all about helping them [the young person] to think about what they want to do in the situation rather than giving them the easy answers or putting your own bias on it.

“That was huge for me because before I’d just want to swoop in, fix all their problems and be the rescuer – but it’s actually about giving them the power to make those key decisions for themselves.”

Alanna Sorrensen, SU Training’s Delivery Manager, says the new Certificate IV in Chaplaincy is a great way to get the training and qualifications you need to work effectively as a chaplain.

“The course ensures students are properly trained and equipped to provide support as a chaplain, and only takes nine months to complete,” Alanna says.

“Intakes are open all the time, with new cohorts starting every second month throughout the year.

“It’s a great option for people who want to be equipped to make a difference to the next generation.”

If you have a passion for helping young people and want to make a difference, a Cert IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (CHC42315) may be for you!

Visit training.suqld.org.au to find out more about starting your qualification in Youth Work or Chaplaincy.

Please note: The completion of a qualification with Scripture Union Queensland (RTO 30548) does not guarantee employment in school chaplaincy with Scripture Union Queensland or other school chaplaincy employing authorities.

Posted: 4/03/2020

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’re creating safe spaces for our children

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can…

Stepping into high school is a massive step for many children. Everyone looks so much bigger, the workload and expectations (both academically and socially) rise. As parents it can be stomach-wrenching enough, but for the individual child, it’s even more daunting.

For Chappy Deb, she’s passionate about supporting all young people, but she has a special heart for these young ones in transition.

One way she does this is through her A2B program, which your support is making possible in schools right around Queensland.

In 2019 the entire seventh grade went through the program at Kuranda District State College, and loved every minute of it.

“A2B is all about teaching life skills. I like to describe it as ‘understanding more about myself, others and the world,” says Chappy Deb.

“I am so passionate about this program. It covers some of the key issues young people are going through starting school. We learn things about identity, physical and emotional well-being, personalities, friendships, teamwork, anger responses, purpose and potential.”

“I use A2B as a tool for the students to understand themselves better, and learn how to better relate to others in their cohort. It also shows them that I am someone they can go to when they have issues, and that I’m someone they can trust.”

12-year old Joel says that the program created the space for him to have real-life conversations and ask some big questions.

“My favourite part of the program was getting to be all together and talk about life and emotions and things you don’t get to talk about in class. It was a safe space,” says Joel.

The program has helped foster a strong sense of community at Kuranda, which features a mix of students from indigenous, low socio-economic and high academic backgrounds.

“This program helps our young people understand the uniqueness and commonalities of individuals in their town. Even though these students come from totally different backgrounds, it shows them they still have things in common and can encourage each other when they’re facing challenges,” says Chappy Deb.

“The teachers also found the program hugely beneficial. It enabled them to see their students in a different context, as they saw students taking on various leadership responsibilities.”

Thanks to your support our children and young people are discovering more about themselves, others and the world around them. Your generosity is making a big difference! To help our young people continue to discover their meaning and purpose, visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 4/02/2020

Because of you, Jonan finished the race

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional…

Chaplains are desperately needed in our schools for many reasons. Amidst all the programs, breakfast clubs, fundraisers and events, our Chappies are there to look after the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of young people like Jonan.

Through your selfless and big-hearted support, Jonan’s story today is a very different one. He was very nearly another tragic statistic, but because of your support, the Charters Towers alumni was given a second chance.

“Jo would never have finished school if it wasn’t for Chappy Sharon,” says mum, Sue.

“His dad died when he was ten. Jo was diagnosed with ADD, Tourette’s and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. By the time he got to Grade 10, he’d lost his way. Because of his ADD, Jo would lose his concentration every two minutes, and over Grade 11 and 12 he saw Chappy Sharon on a regular basis. She sat by his side, constantly reminding him to keep on track with his work.”

“Mind you, Jo wasn’t an angel! We begged the school to give him another chance. The school agreed, but with conditions. At first I just sat and cried, fearing that Jo wouldn’t be able to meet the conditions they set.”

Despite the mountain that loomed ahead of him, Jonan began to climb one step at a time and Chappy Sharon never left his side.

“I confided in Chappy Sharon as a friend, and she helped me through. When it felt like I would fail, Chappy was the one who stood by my side and said, ‘Jo, you can do this,’” says Jonan.

“I wanted the experience of finishing school and graduating with my friends, and Chappy Sharon kept me focused. She helped me make a plan, and she rallied other teachers to help.”

“There are heaps of kids like me who are struggling and need extra support to keep on track. They need a chaplain just like I did.”

Chappy Sharon knew Jonan had it in him to succeed – he just needed to know someone believed in him.

“I sat by Jo’s side and provided educational support for eighteen months. He was always on the verge of walking out of class, but when he did he’d come straight to my office. I knew he needed to let it out (with lots of colourful language) and I was there to listen,” says Chappy Sharon.

“Truthfully, it was really tricky working in that space. But watching Jo keep on going and not give up made it worth it.”

“The walk I got to go on with Jo’s mum was also really valuable. Sue was anxious about her son’s future, but my heart was to bring peace to the situation and encourage her too.”

Through your faithfulness, Chappy Sharon was there for Jonan and Sue in a season of uncertainty, and was there to celebrate with the family when Jonan came out the other side victorious.

“In the end, Jo got his QCE. And four months later, he was offered the job of a Drillers Offsider, for which the minimum requirement was his Grade 12 certificate!” says Sue.

“It was a fight to the end, but I’m so grateful Chappy Sharon was there. Facing the possibility of having your child not finish school, and missing out on their full potential is an awful feeling. Chappy Sharon lifted such a burden for me.”

Thank you for supporting chappies across Queensland schools.

Your generosity means that chappies like Sharon, who are inspired by their faith, are there supporting our young people in need. To keep this vital support in our schools visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 15/01/2020

A Time for Every Season

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1 This verse from Ecclesiastes and the passage that follows it fills…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1

This verse from Ecclesiastes and the passage that follows it fills me with a deep sense of thankfulness. It reminds me that God Himself invented the concept of time. Even more amazingly, He has carefully planned out the seasons of our lives!

In my role, I spend a lot of time talking to our amazing SU QLD supporters. They are inspirational people, many of whom have walked through many seasons of life, and now want to make a lasting difference for future generations through a gift in their will to SU QLD.

I love hearing the stories behind why people want to leave a gift like this, to hear about the journey they’ve been on, and the impact that God has had on their life through the ministry of SU QLD.

To me, these beautiful supporters are the living embodiment of selflessness. They know they have the power to help others beyond the span of their own time here on earth – and so they do.

It reminds me of the heart behind the work of SU QLD.

This movement has a rich history of planting seeds in the lives of children and young people, and watching the buds grow and blossom over the seasons.

It is my prayer that we continue to journey alongside children, young people and their families through our ministry arms well into the future — whether that be chaplaincy, camps, or our dedicated support for at-risk youth.

Whatever the vehicle, will you please join me in praying that we continue to ensure that Jesus is in the driver’s seat? I know you share my heart in this matter.

While we may not know how long we have on this earth, there are things that we can be sure of – that we serve a loving God who cares deeply for us, that He has a special place in his heart for our young people, and together we can work towards a better future for these precious ones.

SU QLD’s Relationships + Gifts in Will Coordinator, Yvette Atkins

If you are considering leaving a gift in your will to invest in the lives of future generations, please email bequests@suqld.org.au or get in contact with me on 0427 006 390.

Posted: 15/01/2020

From helped to helper – your support shaped Shakira’s story

Shakira’s story with chaplaincy began when she was a little ‘preppie’. She’d just lost her cousin after a terrible accident. Too young to make sense of the tragedy, she…

Shakira’s story with chaplaincy began when she was a little ‘preppie’. She’d just lost her cousin after a terrible accident. Too young to make sense of the tragedy, she found comfort spending time in the Chappy Room at Alexandra Hills State School. 

Through your support, someone was there for Shakira in her time of grief and confusion – Chappy Terry.

By Grade 4, Shakira had discovered a passion for helping others in times of need. Inspired, Chappy Terry awarded her with a badge and the title ‘Chappy Helper’.

Now in Grade 10, Shakira is still actively involved with her old primary school’s chaplaincy program, and is grateful for Chappy Terry’s encouragement all those years ago. 

“It’s hard to sum up how much chaplaincy has made a difference in my life. It’s lovely to know there’s a safe space in the school where there is a person or a group of people who you can rely on,” says Shakira.

“As a Chappy Helper, I would run little games at lunch, monitor the younger children and make sure everyone was okay and having a good time. I really enjoyed getting to know people from other grades, and being recognised around the school as someone they could go to if they needed help.”

Shakira reflects that being a student visiting the Chappy Room was quite different to being a Chappy Helper, but some things stayed the same.

“I would talk to Chappy Terry about anything I felt concerned or upset about, particularly with friendship issues. People can be a bit nasty, and Chappy Terry would encourage me to think about the situation from a different perspective,” says Shakira.

“Later, I really loved being a Chappy Helper because it gave me a platform to help others and share how Chappy Terry helped me.”

 

Chappy Terry recognised Shakira’s natural gift for leadership, and was blown away by her willingness to get involved.

“Ever since she was young, Shakira has always been such a strong supporter of chaplaincy. It’s so wonderful to see that the connection to chaplaincy doesn’t fade – that these young people still feel comfortable popping back in even after they’ve left,” says Chappy Terry.

“Shakira comes in to say hello and bakes a chocolate weet-bix slice as a sweet treat for the students at our Friday Chappy Breakfast. She has a beautiful story about how powerful chaplaincy has been for her. ”

Thanks to your generous support, students like Shakira are journeying past the pain into a bright future, knowing they have someone by their side every step of the way. Your support makes this possible. Visit suqld.org.au/donate.

 

Posted: 15/01/2020

Some Parenting Advice for the Christmas Season

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so…

Christmas is just around the corner and for many the pressure is on to find just the right gift for each child. In a world that has become so driven by and focused on achieving goals, it is clear that many parents have taken their eyes off the best gift to give to those you helped bring into this world.

Take a moment to reflect on your goals for your kids. For many it is providing a good education, setting them up for a good job, finding a life partner or a healthy lifestyle. As important as these may be, there is one goal that sits atop the list.

The biblical teaching clearly sets the home/family as the primary center for faith formation and nurture. As Christian parents our highest ideal is that our children will find the faith that we have and become lifelong, active followers of Jesus. To provide extra support, God has provided the gathered church, grandparents, extended family members, friends and mentors.

So what strategies and priorities are you setting in the everyday dance steps of life to work towards achieving that goal? Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” is a proverb (not a promise) that will most often be realised if we work hard at it.

Reflect on your week and consider how much time is being invested into this one goal. The only screens at the meal table should be the reflections in the eyes of each of the family members present as we listen to, and reflect biblically, on the events of our day. What family traditions are we implementing? What are we sacrificing as parents to create the time and energy into this one goal for our children? This is not about quoting Scriptures at our children all day – it is about seeing faith as a natural and intentional ingredient in our daily life. It is vital that we explore the big and the small questions of life around table conversations, windscreen conversations, bedtime conversations…. all of which flow from the words of Deuteronomy 6.

Can you add these ‘gifts’ for your family to your list?

  1. Get back to the meal table (a ‘screen-free zone’) with your family on a regular basis. Listen, laugh, struggle and journey together.
  2. Celebrate together the ‘seasons/events’ in your family year – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, holidays, first/last days at school, etc.
  3. Create your Family Traditions: choose your own meal on your birthday; write affirming words in all birthday cards to each other; family ‘treat’ after church; reading the Christmas story around a candle; etc.
  4. Write down a short list of goals for your children and develop some priorities that will work towards achieving them.
  5. Have fun together. Start and maintain an ever-growing list of activities you can all enjoy together – and make the time to tick them off.

So finish this sentence: One gift I will bring to my family this Christmas Season is … ?

Merry Christmas, everyone! Wishing every blessing upon you and your family in this special time.


Terry Williams
Family & Children’s Ministry Specialist
Scripture Union Queensland & International

Posted: 5/12/2019

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

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