Written by Tarian Attallah about her service placement at Red Frogs Chaplaincy and Support Network. Tarian was a Spring 2017 student from Cairn University.
Red Frogs Australia tags itself with the motto, “safeguarding a generation”. I personally had the opportunity to witness and take part in this ministry whilst studying abroad in Australia. Red Frogs is unlike any ministry I had ever seen in my (21) years growing up in America. The ministry truly meets university students “where they are at” by showing up at college parties, dorm rooms, etc. There were various college parties where the Froggers (what the Red Frog crew are called) cared for the physical needs of college students. I recall one such party, a Jazz Night held at an airport hangar in Brisbane. My role was to make fairy bread (buttered bread with sprinkles), hand-out throw-up bags, water, and of course the Red Frogs shaped gummies. But here’s the thing, none of this was glamorous work. By the end of the night, I could smell the stench of beer in my hair and was pretty sure I had stepped in vomit several times. The other part of the ministry occurred back on college campuses where Froggers would walk students back to dorm rooms or pull individuals out of dangerous situations often the students were quite intoxicated. I witnessed many lives saved by this physical form of care.
“Red Frogs is a support program for young people from the ages of 15 – 25. Red Frogs recognize that the culture of young people is dominated by alcohol and that excessive consumption of alcohol and other substances can lead to dangerous and life altering behaviours. Therefore Red Frogs make it their mission to provide a positive peer presence in alcohol-fuelled environments where young people gather, educate young people on safe partying behaviours, and promote and provide non-alcoholic and/or diversionary activities that engage young people in these environments.”
The Froggers would also have something of a weekly pancake cook-up, where they would show up at residential colleges and cook pancakes unannounced. This allowed for natural conversations to develop with students. Over time, I got to see some students give their life to Christ! During these cook ups, I was either on pancake duty, walking around dorms and handing out food, or simply in casual conversations with students who’d showed up. I don’t think I had ever been asked so many questions about America then those on my Thursday nights spent with students. It was amazing how receptive the students were to our team, they opened their lives to us and we had the privileged of loving them just as they are!
Throughout my life, I had always been encouraged to serve the ones around me from different stages of life, like the elderly or children. And although our world needs people to serve in those areas, it was just so special to serve those who are of my age. I learnt how to love and serve young adults exactly where they are at in their life journey. Red Frogs helped me to relate and understand my peers better, in ways I had not experienced back home.
I would say, Red Frogs is a change agent to the community they serve. They enter the lives of young adults in a loving and non-judgemental way. Their ability to care for students in all situations is so compassionate, so loving. More importantly, their ways of helping college students to see different ways to approach and participate in life beyond the party scene was nothing I’d seen before.