Red Frogs is an internationally-recognized Matric holiday and university support network that has been operating since 1997. In South Africa, we currently provide support during the Matric holiday season in Ballito, Umhlanga and Plett, handing out tonnes of Allens Red Frogs during the events.
The Red Frog volunteers aim to support Matrics through their week-long celebrations at the end of the school year, and provide a positive presence within their party culture. The Red Frog Crew assist Matrics by walking them home, cooking pancakes, cleaning their rooms, handing out Allens Red Frogs, and – most importantly – offering emotional support through what can often be a challenging week.
It all started in Australia, back in 1997 when Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network founder Andy Gourley (a youth pastor at Citipointe Church) hit the Aussie equivalent of our Matric Holiday – Schoolies Week on the Gold Coast. While visiting his skateboarding groms, he realised the need for a designated sober person at the massive drinking parties. After approaching a hotel manager to see if they needed volunteers during Schoolies week, the manager jumped at the opportunity and recruited Andy and many of his friends to help. And so Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network was born.
Since this time, the program has become renowned for the support it provides not only to school leavers, but also to university students, party and festival goers, event managers, sporting groups, and musicians in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Canada.
In South Africa, it all started back in 2005 with a group of volunteers helping out Matrics in Ballito. It wasn’t long before the the relationship between these volunteers and Red Frogs Australia began. In 2009, Red Frogs South Africa officially started operations in Ballito. Since then, the South African Red Frogs Crew can be found supporting our Matrics in Ballito, Umhlanga and Plettenberg Bay.
SO… WHY RED FROGS?
After a few nights of meeting the Aussie school-leavers and finding opportunities for pastoral care, Andy went down to the local corner store and randomly chose a bag of ‘Allen’s Frogs Alive Red Frogs’ to use as “icebreakers” when first arriving at parties. It didn’t take long to realise that party-goers loved the red frogs. In its first year, the crew handed out 80kg of the gummy sweets, and now more than 11 tonnes of Red Frogs are distributed each year. Originally, the volunteers were called ‘hotel chaplains’. However, after a few years of handing out ‘red frog’ sweets they became affectionately known by Aussie matrics and others as the ‘Red Frog Crew’. So, it was an obvious move to rename the support network and the programs that have been birthed from it as ‘Red Frogs’.