In 1997, Andy Gourley founded Red Frogs Australia after seeing a need to help young people during alcohol-fueled schoolies celebrations (high school graduation festivals that take place throughout Australia and other countries). The program started with just four volunteers but has now grown to more than 1,700 volunteers nationally and internationally to support 17 schoolies locations around Australia.
As a youth support program, Red Frogs Australia provides direct relief from alcohol- and drug-related issues. Volunteers are empowered across the nation each year to serve their peers in celebrations and events that can potentially be high-risk environments by providing a positive presence and educating young people on partying safely and making wise choices. The high school and university programs offer alternative alcohol-free events to students, along with providing student leadership training. In addition, Red Frogs also has a presence at music festivals, provides relief and support to team players and patrons at sporting events, and offers support and positive influence to skate board riders in order to strengthen skate culture within cities and rural communities.
Red Frogs relies mainly on volunteers to successfully run its various programs throughout Australia and overseas. Volunteers, who are aged between 18 and 25, are involved in providing entertainment, safely escorting students back to hotels, acting as hotel chaplains, and responding to the 24-hour Red Frog Hotline Crew.
In addition to his active role as a visionary leader of Red Frogs Australia, Gourley further has given back to his local community as a community outreach pastor since 1989 at Citipointe Church Brisbane. He is also presently the chaplain for the Queensland Reds Rugby Union.
Red Frogs conducts an annual corporate fundraising dinner to support the organization’s great work. In 2014, more than 520 supporters came together and raised more than $200,000. The company has also established successful working partnerships with many state and nongovernmental agencies and is lauded as one of the largest harm prevention programs in Australia that focuses on alcohol- and drug-related issues. The success of the program has led to its introduction in many places around the world, including Poland, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Fiji, Scotland, Bali, and Wales.
In 2004, Gourley was awarded Local Hero of the Year and more recently was announced a finalist in the 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year awards in the category of Local Hero for his role in founding Red Frogs Australia.