HistoryBest Friends since 1997
It all started in 1997 when Red Frogs Australia founder Andy Gourley (then youth pastor at Citipointe Church) hit Schoolies Week on the Gold Coast with his skateboarding mates and realised the need for a designated sober person at the massive drinking parties.
A couple years later, a South African guy wanted to do the same thing at Matric Holiday in Ballito. He heard about how Australia did it and they partnered together to bring Red Frogs to South Africa in 2009.
With a team of 17 volunteers wearing t-shirts screen printed with ‘Hotel Chaplaincy’, Andy hit the Gold Coast with a budget of $450 in pocket. They started door-knocking every hotel room and looking after Schoolies. Many Schoolies were skeptical and closed the door in their faces - until they discovered the magic of a small red lolly.
Volunteer Sam Bartlett cooks the very first pancake for his Schoolies. Little did he know they would become part of the very DNA of Red Frogs! We now do around 77,601 pancake cook-ups annually.
As the frog supply tips over the 1 tonne mark, Hotel Chaplaincy expands across the country – now aiding Schoolies/Leavers celebrations 10 locations with 685 volunteers supporting 95,000 party goers.
Previously having one number diverting to five box-shaped Optus mobile phones, Red Frogs officially pioneer the first National Call Centre, directing distress calls and pancake requests to teams across the country and allowing crew to gain intel, enabling them to respond to incidents just in time, not after time.
Red Frogs Education programs gain traction in over 60 schools, educating 8000 year 12 students on safe party behaviour and how to survive Schoolies week.
Allen's Lollies come on board with full sponsorship of the red frog lolly. Today, Allen's donate 24 tonne of frogs each year!
Red Frogs provide their first Festival response at Dreamscape Festival in Cairns, focusing on patron welfare and assisting emergency services. Frogs now support over 675 ,000 festival goers nationally each year including Australia’s largest festival, Splendour in the Grass.
Optus/Network Communications begin donating 5% of every mobile phone plan bill towards RF through their mobile charity plan.
The year we sadly said goodbye to the late Pastor Simon Campbell – one of the founding members of what has now become the Red Frogs Australia Support Network. Simon was one of the driving forces in initiating and pioneering this amazing program which has now had ripple effects all around the world, impacting millions of young people.
Andy shares why you should take candy from strangers at TEDxSouthbank
Andy becomes Team Chaplain for the Reds Rugby team and the Brisbane Bullets.
In its 20th year, Frogs now reach 1.4 million people annually through high schools, universities, sports, Schoolies/Leavers, leadership training, skate parks and music festivals. Red Frogs have had a lasting impact on a generation and will continue to safeguard the next generation in the years to come.