22 September 2015

Chaplains, youth groups and churches team up for Smash

Posted in Camp life

Something special happens when churches, youth groups and chaplains combine to impact the lives of young people. Smash Camp is one such example.

Held every September school holidays at Alexandra Headlands on the Sunshine Coast, Smash Camp has developed into one of SU QLD’s most popular camps.

Smash is an SU QLD cluster camp, which means that local churches, school chaplains and locally based volunteers come together and host the camp for local youth. Members of youth groups and young people from the same area can join the camp, which creates a good opportunity for attendees to make new friends who live near them.

Smash Camp is offered to young people living in the North West region of Brisbane. From live music, to tubing, to a massive water slide, to dance parties, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Camp Directors, Mary-Jane Burstow and Sam Green, love having a team of volunteers from a variety of local churches and youth groups. They have seen the benefits that result from this approach from years of organising the camp.

“We combine the schools, chaplains, churches and youth groups so we can put on a camp that for some is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. Camp is fun, it’s relational, it’s full of community and it’s full of love. It’s full of God as well, so if they’re experiencing all those things in a week then to us that’s a successful camp. But it doesn’t end on camp, as our aim is for it to continue on into the community,” says, Smash Camp Director and local high school chaplain, Sam Green.

Many chaplains find that young people are looking for something adventurous to do during their school holidays, and Smash Camp is well known as the camp to be on.

“We tend to get the same young people coming back each year because they have linked in with a local youth group and their youth group comes back each year. It’s amazing to see young people enjoying Smash as much on their second, third and fourth time around,” says Mary-Jane.

From the involvement of the chaplain, each church and their respective youth groups form the main source of leaders to host the camp and the backbone for all the fun activities that happen throughout the week. Cornerstone Christian Church Senior Pastor Charles Newington says that even though the church invests a significant amount of resources into Smash Camp, there are a lot of benefits they receive in return.

“We think of it as part of what we do. We feel that we are co-owners with all of the other participating churches and SU QLD. It’s a wonderful environment for training young leaders and for proving young leaders,” says Ps Charles.

“It’s a definite benefit. A lot of our youth leaders are no longer fazed by camp organisation and that sort of stuff because they’ve been doing it for years through their involvement in Smash Camp.”

SU QLD has 40 cluster camps that take place throughout the state. If you’re interested in running a cluster camp in your area, contact SU Camps on (07) 3112 6583 or info@sucamps.org.au.



  1. Hi, I’ve just read your post, re: Smash Camp and it looks soo exciting. Plus the 25 years of Tom in Chaplaincy. This is a wonderful site. Congratulations to ALL who are involved in Chaplaincy and spreading of the word. xxx 🙂

  2. While waiting for the ‘moderation’ I read the importance of Fathers in the home. Yes I so agree they are very, very important, but, what about the mothers as well? Where I live, many Mothers plus the Fathers go out to work, so the home is more stressed out for all the family. I myself was in this situation, many years ago. You see, I regularly go fishing and the young children/youth without their parents, is horrible. I totally agree that in today’s day and age, well communicating families is becoming a rare sight. That why I’ll say say, “Congratulations to those wonderful families as well as the Chaplains and Church Youth Groups, as well as those who try their best to help these children, youth and broken down Families.” 🙂

  3. Great to see SMASH Camp grow into what it is today. Enjoyed being a part of creating this camp around Phil Byard’s dining table, what seems an age ago now.

    All the best team for next week!!!

    Mark Owen

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