The flourishing SurfChurch Bargara Stoked program has wrapped up for the school holidays but there are plans to expand the community initiative.
Bargara Uniting Church Reverend Jennifer Lynn launched SurfChurch Bargara service two years ago, with a congregation on the soft sands of Nielson Beach welcoming beachgoers and curious passers-by, on the first Sunday of each month.
The surf-loving minister said shortly after SurfChurch Bargara started she had the idea to start a free children’s holiday program called Stoked and every year since it continues to grow.
“I surf myself, that’s how SurfChurch started, then I thought I’d like to get kids involved,” she said.
“Stoked is open to all children, whether they attend church or not, and it is free.
“It’s gotten so big – more than I could have imagined actually.
“We even have one boy that comes all the way from Mundubbera to take part.
“We had 22 children the first time, now we have to cap numbers at 30 children per day due to volunteer numbers.”
Jennifer said thanks to funding from Surfing Australia, SurfChurch Stoked was able to include Phil Moller from Surfschool Bargara who hosted the surfing component, which gave each participant surf lessons.
SurfChurch Stoked has become so popular Jennifer said they’ve had to increase the program to run four times a year throughout all school holidays and they were now looking for more volunteers to enable more children to participate.
“We are hoping to build a solid base of volunteers then once we do, I have a pipedream that I would like to see come true,” Jennifer said.
“I’d like to see kids come from the outback to take part in Stoked, but we need more volunteers to make this happen.
“We have volunteers come from the Sunshine Coast who say the program is wonderful, and I don’t think there is another program like it in Queensland.
“I’m thankful we also have local surfers who volunteer their time and help with the program.”
Jennifer is hoping her pipedream to will come to fruition within the next 12 months and anyone interested can find more information on SurfChurch Bargara Facebook page.
The monthly SurfChurch Bargara service will take place at 3pm on Sunday, 4 October at Nielson Beach. It’s open to all of the community, just look for the flag, take your surf or boogie board and enjoy a surf afterwards.
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