Adjournment: Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network

I rise tonight to speak about an extraordinary network-or perhaps better described as a ‘craze’-supporting our young people: the Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network. Red Frogs founder and director Andy Gourley describes Red Frogs as:
… not just another program but an experience! At its core is the heartbeat of 2000 volunteers with a mission to serve young people and assist them through some of the most important years of their lives.
I could not agree more. Red Frogs started out as a small outreach initiative of Citipointe Church in my electorate of Bonner but has since been adopted by a network of churches across the globe in countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. I believe that the reason for Red Frogs’ success lies in the uniqueness of its approach-for example, seeking to change the attitude that alcohol is necessary to have a good time. It is the mission of Red Frogs to create a fun yet safe lifestyle alternative for young people. Quite literally the Allen’s red frogs that we all grew up with and loved have been the icebreaker for the Red Frogs Crew since 1997. Starting with only 80 kilograms in its first year, the Red Frogs chaplaincy now distributes over 11 tonnes of Allen’s red frogs all around Australia. Many parents of students leaving school take comfort in the Party Safe and Stay Safe at Schoolies seminar and its message that goes out each year to over 40,000 high school students in years 10, 11 and 12. The proactive and preventative seminars grab the attention of students and provide insight into how to make positive partying decisions so as to avoid negative and often life altering behaviours such as violence, sexual assault, drug taking, depression and suicide. Red Frogs education seminars have been a large part of the reason for the reduction in alcohol fuelled violence and other negative behaviours once common to Schoolies Week.
Red Frogs Australia have received local and national awards for the outstanding service they have provided at schoolies, including the Local Hero: Metropolitan Australian of the Year award-truly well deserved. Again, thankfully for many parents, Red Frogs does not end at schoolies. In residential colleges and university dorms, at parties, at O-Week events and market days, universities have endorsed the Red Frogs chaplaincy as a vital support for their students. The Red Frogs crew are also known for their non-alcoholic events such as Monday, coffee crawls, random acts of pancakes, camping trips, surfing safaris, sporting events and other activities that encourage a lifestyle where alcohol is not the only means of having a ‘fun night’.
In my electorate of Bonner, the God Bowl and the Red Frog Boardriders Tuesday night skate sessions are well known throughout the local skating community and we see skaters coming from near and far to skate at the God Bowl, the indoor ramp and the new addition to the facilities, the Stoke Bowl. The Stoke Bowl was generously donated to the Red Frog Boardriders recently by Brisbane City Council’s Museum of Brisbane after their exhibition showing the history of skating in Brisbane concluded. I know that the com-munity are extremely appreciative towards Brisbane City Council and in particular to local councillor Adrian Schrinner for this donation. This is a great example of the government working with local community groups to get positive outcomes.
This really is an extraordinary network whose sole purpose is the safety and protection of our young people. It is run by extraordinary people and acknowledgement really needs to go to Andy Gourley, Craig Hepplewhite, the general manager, Brendan Hannah, Elicia Pretorius, Chris George, Justin Vickers and Andrea Vickers as well as to the thousands of dedicated volunteers. All should be commended for their unique approach and incredibly valuable work to the community.

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