Red frogs with Andy Gourley
Red Frogs founder, Andy Gourley, drops by to chat on Your shout as they gear up for another Schoolies week.
Listen to Andy’s full story below.
It’s Schoolies Week and as you and your mates limp home on tired feet from another beach party you see a person wearing a Red Frogs t-shirt handing out their signature lolly.
Fuelled by sugar from the frogs, you all make it the rest of the way to your hotel with your Red Frogs escort. They get you home safely and while everyone collapses onto the nearest surface, they make you pancakes and check everyone is okay.
Maybe one of your friends had a bad night and isn’t in a good way, so they call the paramedics to look after them or a mental health worker to help them through a tough time. The Red Frogs always know exactly who to call.
Anyone who has been to Schoolies in the last 20 years will have a Red Frogs saviour story just like this one.
If you’d told Red Frogs founder Andy Gourley, an accountant by education, that he would be spending two weeks a year handing out lollies to teens on the Gold Coast, he wouldn’t have believed you.
“It was such an accidental thing, I never planned to give out lollies to children as a living – that just wasn’t one of my life plans,” Andy said.
Andy had been doing youth work through Citipointe Church on the south side of Brisbane when he was first invited to Schoolies as a volunteer. But it wasn’t until he bought a box of Allen’s Red Frogs one night that the Red Frogs organisation was born.
“We’d go up and find kids that were passed out in stairwells and we’d get them back to their units and made sure they weren’t on the verandas hanging off dangerous things,” Andy said.
“We’d also find kids passed out in really dangerous positions and get paramedics to look at them.
“But we were having trouble getting into rooms as they were a bit sketchy on us.
“We had event shirts – we were called Hotel Chaplaincy back in the day – and we had IDs and all that, but you knock on a door and they go ‘who are you?’, with no idea.
“I went to my mate and said, ‘there’s got to be an easier way to get into parties’, so I went down to the local corner store and there was a big box of Allen’s Red Frogs sitting on the counter.”
With red frogs in hand, Andy and his team were able to ‘crash’ parties and get help to any kids inside who might need it.
Back then it may have only been a small box of frogs but now the Red Frogs go through two tonnes a year and have widen their efforts to festivals, overseas Schoolies and university parties.