School chaplaincy in regional and rural Queensland has received a massive boost of funds and awareness thanks to a cattle drove through central Queensland.
The third biennial Stock Up for Hope Charity Drove, presented by Medibank, connected kids, chaplains, cattle producers, chefs and city slicker corporates to raise $300,000 for SU QLD school chaplaincy in October.
Drove Director Duncan Brown said the Charity Drove was a unique way for the community in the bush to support their young people, many of whom are battling issues of isolation, family breakdown, depression and suicide.
“We recognise the incredible challenges the next generation is facing - especially out in the bush - and Stock Up for Hope is a great way for cattle producers and others to give back into their community, through school chaplains.”
“The Drove has captured the hearts of people from all walks of life and while it can be difficult to get a cheque out of a cattle producer, we’ve found they’re often willing to donate a head or two of cattle for a cause like this.
“One or two head of cattle may not sound like much to city dwellers, but that translates to a donation upwards of $700 per beast. When we get a mob together of 400 like we have this year, then it’s a great boost for school chaplains. ”
“Stock Up for Hope is a great way to raise not only funds but awareness and commitment to school chaplaincy, especially in regional and rural areas where it is often harder to recruit and retain school chaplains.”
The $300,000 raised will support individual chaplaincies as well as fund support workers throughout regional Queensland to ensure the longevity of chaplains in the bush. SU QLD is the largest provider of state school chaplains in Australia, with more than 500 chaplains in over 600 schools.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and SU QLD patron, John Anderson, joined the Drove with his wife Julia and children Georgina and Laura.
“Australia has an enviable economic and employment record, but we have failed to invest in our young people,” said Mr Anderson. “As a country, we were established on our Judeo-Christian values; chaplaincy leans on that heritage and what it means for us in our values today.”
“This is not just a Government problem, but an issue that the community needs to step up and address. That’s where Stock Up for Hope, through school chaplaincy, has a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of thousands and help shape the next generation.”
More than 50 city slickers from as far as Melbourne joined the Drove, eagerly trading in their suits and mobile phones for Akubras and shiny RM William boots. These cowboys and cowgirls rounded up cattle on horseback, shared bush poetry round the campfire and slept in swags under the starry sky.
Most importantly, the corporate guests got up close to the cause, seeing the challenges young people are facing in regional areas. Many spoke of gaining a greater understanding of how school chaplains are providing a listening ear and a caring presence for kids in crisis and those who just need a friend.
A number of significant Stock Up for Hope community events were hosted by locals along the way, including a Campdraft Classic which saw the nation’s top 20 open and juvenile riders compete in Springsure, along with attempts by politicians, musicians and journalists.
“All the creative, memorable experiences that have happened through the Drove are ultimately about building resilience in our young people,” said Mr Brown.
Over 400 cattle, donated by generous cattle producers from around Queensland, went on the stock route from Bauhinia to Emerald, where the cattle were sold on 27 October.
This is the third Stock Up for Hope Charity Drove, which takes place biennially. The first Drove in 2007 went from Hughendon to Blackall and in 2009 the mob moved from Mitchell to Roma.
For more information, visit stockupforhope.org.au
Cows deliver $300,000 of hope for outback youth
Stock Up for Hope Charity Drove supports SU QLD school chaplains
Stock Up for Hope Charity Drove
Monday, 14 November 2011, 11:44 (EST)