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

Helping your child navigate cliques and friendship groups

Everyone wants to feel accepted, especially young people. Childhood friendships influence the way kids will interact with others as an adult, and also contribute greatly to their self-esteem. The…

Everyone wants to feel accepted, especially young people. Childhood friendships influence the way kids will interact with others as an adult, and also contribute greatly to their self-esteem.

The dynamics of friendship groups, especially in our highly-connected society, can present real challenges such as peer pressure and conflict. Kids might feel they have to change to conform to the group’s rules, even if they don’t agree.

Being able to identify the difference between belonging to a group, as opposed to trying to fit in to be popular, is vital for kids to understand. (more…)

Posted: 15/07/2019

Ella riding high, thanks to Chappy

Your generosity means school chaplains can journey with children and young people through times of crisis and tragedy. They’re also in schools helping young people navigate their daily challenges….

Your generosity means school chaplains can journey with children and young people through times of crisis and tragedy.

They’re also in schools helping young people navigate their daily challenges. It’s these everyday encounters that continue to leave a powerful and lasting impact in the lives of our children.

Gympie South State School chaplain, Ronnie Timperon, helped one such student who was struggling with her self-confidence, simply by taking the time to build a relationship and connect with her.

Ella confided in Chappy Ronnie that she didn’t like herself.

“I got talking to Ella early last year. She said, ‘I’m not comfortable in my own skin’. She couldn’t see how wonderful she was,” recalls Chappy Ronnie.

“I knew the Hope Reins program would really help her build up her self-confidence.”

Started by ex-school chaplain, Kylie Read, Hope Reins is a place where rescued horses find a home. It’s also a safe place for people struggling with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression or overcoming trauma, to find purpose, self-worth, and confidence.

Chappy Ronnie says the program helped Ella rebuild her confidence, tackle some issues she was facing in the schoolyard, and prepare for high school.

“She’s more confident now and even asked and answered questions in front of others during our Transition to High School program in Term 4 last year,” she says.

Our children truly are wonderfully made. You can help continue to invest in their lives by supporting school chaplaincy. Visit suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 14/06/2019

Helping your child when families break up

Max is 8 years old. His parents have separated. Over time, he is changing. His relationships at school and at home are more dysfunctional and disrupted. He is not…

Max is 8 years old. His parents have separated. Over time, he is changing. His relationships at school and at home are more dysfunctional and disrupted. He is not sleeping well. He is not as happy as he was. On occasions he yells out how unfair things are.

This is just one way separation may affect a child. There are many other ways, of course.

In any case, separation is a loss for the child – a loss of what they need: security, a sense of status, and of significance.  However, children can have different outcomes depending on what happens around them, even after separation. And you can make a difference. (more…)

Posted: 17/05/2019

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

Tackling bullying for our children’s sake

Sadly, bullying is common in our society, and our schools are not immune. This month’s Parenting Corner writer, educator and social entrepreneur Rachel Downie of racheldownie.com, shares her tips…

Sadly, bullying is common in our society, and our schools are not immune.

Educator and social entrepreneur, Rachel Downie.

This month’s Parenting Corner writer, educator and social entrepreneur Rachel Downie of racheldownie.com, shares her tips on how parents and grandparents can help their children in the schoolyard:

It’s important to understand what bullying is. It’s deliberate and repetitive behaviour which seeks to achieve dominance and power over another person.

More often than not, bullies act the way they do because they’ve learned it from others. A significant number of bullies have been bullied themselves (1).

Bullying is not: a one-off fight, equal-sided teasing, friends arguing, being bossy, or expressing negative thoughts.

There are four main types of bullying: physical, verbal, social (spreading rumours, social exclusion), and cyber bullying.

Bullying is a problem we all need to work as a community to solve.

If your child is bullied, teach them what to do. It’s also imperative as a loving community that we teach our kids to stand up for others, too, in a safe and respectful way.

You’ll be supporting them to change the culture and empowering them to say no to bullying!

References: 1. Olweus, D. (1999). Norway. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Catalano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective (pp. 7-27). London & New York: Routledge.
2. https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2018/11/uq-efforts-see-bullying-recognised-globally-contributor-mental-illness

As parents, grandparents and carers, what can we do?

  • Slow everything down and breathe! Please don’t lose it in front of your child (do that later in your bedroom). They’re already stressed and don’t need to take responsibility for your feelings (because they will).
  • Right now, you need to L I S T E N, H U G and L I S T E N again! Praise them for telling you because you want them to know they can always come to you. Ask, “What do you need right now?”
  • Don’t take over. As carers we want to ‘fix it’ and this means we want to drive what happens next. Your child needs to feel part of every step of the healing process, because they need to be the one walking forward.
  • Fact check. Is it bullying? Has it been repeated? Is it deliberate and aggressive? I know it’s hard but you’ve only heard one side of the story.
  • Collect evidence (particularly if it’s cyberbullying).
  • If it is school based, contact the school. Make an appointment to see the relevant staff member. Don’t forget, the school and you are on the same team – your child’s. It’s important you let them guide you.
  • Role model appropriate behaviour.
  • Don’t contact the parents of the other child.
  • The school is your intermediary.

Posted: 5/02/2019

Chappy’s cadets bless Biggenden

Sometimes the impact of a school chaplain’s unconditional love and support reaches far beyond the playground.  With less than 1000 people calling the Central Queensland town of Biggenden home,…

Sometimes the impact of a school chaplain’s unconditional love and support reaches far beyond the playground. 

With less than 1000 people calling the Central Queensland town of Biggenden home, and less than 150 school students, there wasn’t a lot for young people to do when the school bell rang.

Biggenden chaplain, Moira Thompson, knew she could help.

“Ten years ago, Biggenden’s young people had little to do after school and very few were volunteers in the community,” Chappy Moira says.

“In 2009 I introduced a bushwalking program into the school. These remote hikes involved cliff climbing, scaling fallen trees, rock hopping creeks, scrub bashing, camping in rain, on starry summits or in caves, and swimming in crystal clear rock pools hours away from civilisation.”

Chappy Moira’s program was so successful, she needed something more to help feed into her students’ new-found passion for adventure.

“In 2012, with the support of our local council and emergency services we set up an Emergency Services Cadet unit for young people aged 12 and up.  We’ve had 20 young people in the unit since then, which equates to nearly half our high school,” Chappy Moira says.

Three cadets have won Australia Day awards for volunteering and ‘Chappy’, their Cadet Coordinator, is very proud of them.

But this admiration and respect is more than mutual, and shines a light on the impact a school chaplain has on the young people they work with.

Lucas was inspired and encouraged by his high school chaplain, Moira, and credits her for changing the trajectory of his life.

Emergency Services Cadet Lucas McAskill, who finished school recently, said his future was bright because of chappy Moira’s influence through the program.

Chappy has been a massive part in my life and has taught me about life. She has encouraged my quest for knowledge and most importantly has been a friend, a mentor and someone I will never forget,” Lucas says.

Anything I succeed in, whilst pursuing my future, will be because of Chappy’s influence, encouragement and overwhelming support.

For Moira, the work of chaplaincy doesn’t end at the school gate.

It’s about supporting young people to thrive in their school life and beyond.

“There is a ripple effect to what you do that can be seen in the mentoring given to cadets, providing them with opportunities to work with adults, and helping to reveal their generosity of heart,” she says.

“It can be seen in the development of trust and understanding, through engagement with the local community.  And it can be seen in the opportunity to foster wonder and awe at creation, through the huge unexplored mountain range in Biggenden.

“Being Cadet Coordinator continues the work of chaplaincy, bringing hope to a young generation,” says Moira.

Your support for school chaplaincy continues to bless so many young lives throughout Queensland.
To keep this support going, visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 5/02/2019

Horsing around reaps powerful change for Mikayla

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following…

Two years ago, Mikayla struggled with poor self-image and low self-esteem. Today, she’s a role model and an inspiration to others, including her best friend, who is now following in her footsteps.

Behind Mikayla’s massive transformation has been the loving support of her school chaplain, Erin, and her team of equine friends. You helped make that possible.

Allora P-10 State School chaplain, Erin Wilson, runs Mane Matters, a horse program that focusses on the social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students from diverse backgrounds.

“We’ve worked with young people with major behavioural disorders, some with backgrounds of abuse, and others who have autism. We’ve had both bullies and the bullied, and young people who are grappling with who they are and their place in the world,” Chappy Erin says.

Since joining the program, Mikayla has made huge strides in her confidence and overall sense of wellbeing – and her love of horses.

“I’m more confident getting up in front of people now. I’ve learned how to have a relationship based on mutual respect. It’s such an amazing feeling when you connect with a horse that chooses to work with you. Chappy Erin calls it a heart-to-heart moment,” Mikayla says.

The bond between the horses and students is a huge Catalyst for change
– a chance to build confidence, trust, and self-esteem.

For Mikalya, there’s one horse in particular that she’s connected with.

“Fuggles is my favourite. I’ve been involved in her training and rehabilitation from previous bad experiences. I’ve loved seeing her transform from a scared, antisocial pony to now being able to trust people,” says Mikayla.

Mane Matters is also about supporting young people to make meaningful connections with the horses – the benefits of which flow both ways.

“Fuggles was one of our rescue ponies with a background of trauma and we never thought she’d be a ‘program pony’ at all. But now she’s one of our best,” says Erin.

A big reason for this, Erin explains, is the love and support Mikayla and the other students have shown Fuggles.

“Horses show us a lot about ourselves. They can act like a mirror for what we’re feeling and how we’re behaving,” she says.

Chappy Erin has seen many young people start the program with no self-confidence. But before long, they find their courage and begin to flourish.

“It’s about getting them to remain calm and be gentle with the horses. When the children are calm, the horses respond. It’s like that verse in the Bible that says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. It’s in those calm and quiet times that we make those special connections,” she says.

Joining the Mane Matters program is not for the faint-hearted. There’s a lot of hard work involved and each student is expected to roll up their sleeves to help out. Mikalya is one who has risen to the challenge and is now mentoring others.

“I’ve seen a girl grow in confidence. I’ve seen her develop leadership skills and she’s really stepped into that mentoring role. It’s so encouraging to see,” says Chappy Erin.

Mikalya’s best friend, Sam, agrees.

“I decided to do this program after seeing the change in Mikayla’s life. I wanted what she had,” says Sam.

Your support is keeping chaplains like Erin in schools across Queensland. Thank you! 

To learn more about Chappy Erin’s Mane Matters program, check out the Facebook page, or to support her work directly, click here championyourchappy.everydayhero.com/au/erin-wilson

Posted: 5/02/2019

You helped Emily find her smile again

Emily never had the opportunity to be raised in a home with a mum and dad. For the past 10 years she, and her brothers, have lived with their…

Emily never had the opportunity to be raised in a home with a mum and dad. For the past 10 years she, and her brothers, have lived with their loving and devoted grandparents.

But when her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, Emily lost her reason to smile. Thanks to the support of friends like you, Chappy Sam’s been in her corner and there when she needed someone the most.

“Although we strived to give Emily and her brothers all we could, life has been difficult but Emily has never complained,” her grandmother Bettina explains.

“Until recently, she had always faced her fears and experienced life with a smile on her face. She’s always been helpful and kind, and strived to be the best she could be.

“However, since her grandad became ill, we noticed her confidence plummet and not so many smiles any more. She didn’t outwardly demonstrate her feelings but we could tell that it had affected her deeply.”

Enter Chappy Sam and a resilience program for students just like Emily.

“Emily used to come to my room with her friends before she did the program, to play Uno and hang out,” Chappy Sam says.

“I knew she lived with her grandparents and I felt she would benefit from the program and it would encourage her.

“The guidance officer, her teacher, and the principal agreed she would benefit from it, but we just were blown away with how the program has impacted her.”

Bettina was also shocked at the positive change she witnessed in her young granddaughter.

“Emily told us about the program and my first thought was, ‘That’d be wonderful!’.

“It’s hard enough going through the changes that are happening to her but she has a lot more on her plate, too. I had no idea just how much it would lift her up,” Bettina says.

“She became more confident, happier and content. I haven’t seen that glow in her for so many years; she was happier than l had seen in years.”

Your support for school chaplaincy is equipping young people like Emily with the strength and resilience they need to overcome some of their greatest hurdles. To keep this support going, and to keep chaplains there to help support young people like Emily, visit suqld.org.au/donate.

Posted: 17/01/2019

You’re changing lives through SMASH Camp

When a young person experiences God’s love and hope on camp, it’s always an incredible thing. But when they turn their experience into a wellspring of life for the…

When a young person experiences God’s love and hope on camp, it’s always an incredible thing.

But when they turn their experience into a wellspring of life for the next generation – that’s truly remarkable.

SMASH is an SU QLD cluster camp for high school students in Brisbane’s North West. From dance parties and live music, to tubing and giant water slides, the week has heaps of fun activities for campers to enjoy.

Sam Green has directed SMASH Camp for the past eight years, and in that time more than a thousand campers have enjoyed a fun-filled week of community, conversation and spiritual input.

But Sam’s story with SMASH goes back to his first camp when he was just 15 years old, where he first heard of and experienced God’s love.

“I heard about SMASH Camp in Grade 10,” Sam recalls.

“My friends had gone the year before and had come back raving about how much they loved it. The next year I came along.

“I just remember feeling – as soon as I got there – the energy and atmosphere and environment. It was super caring and loving, and it was pretty easy to settle into that straight away.”

Sam had been on school camps before, but SMASH was very different.


SMASH Camp is helping change young lives for the better.

“Having so many leaders giving up their time to care for me – that was so different in itself,” Sam says.

“I’d also never experienced a Christian camp before. But there’s no doubting my spiritual experience on SMASH was a positive one, which had a significant impact on my life. I became a Christian when I was in Grade 12, between camps.”

SMASH not only impacted Sam’s faith journey but also his personal life, so when the opportunity came for him to become a leader on camp, he was keen.

Fast forward a couple of years and Sam was heading up the directing team.

“In 2018 we focused on how Jesus is the light of the world, and how regardless of where the kids are at in their lives outside of camp, there is always hope.

“As leaders, we have found our hope in Jesus, and being able to share His life-transforming message was incredible.”

After eight years of directing SMASH Camp, Sam will now pass the reins to the next generation of leadership.

“I know SMASH is in good hands and I’m excited to see where the new directors take it,” Sam says.

“They know that SMASH is SMASH because of the God we serve. So it’s exciting to see how they bring their gifts and talents into that space to glorify God.” If you’re interested in leading or attending an SU QLD cluster camp in your area, contact SU QLD Camps on (07) 3112 6583 or email the team at info@sucamps.org.au

Posted: 17/01/2019

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

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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