Matt Clarke

Matt is passionate about getting kids to Summer Camps because he knows what a difference they can make — "I love seeing young people’s lives change for good," he says. In his role as Pathfinder Director for the Newcastle Multicultural Church, he helped raise $2000 for kids to get to Summer Camps.

"We did it by fundraising with the Pathfinders — chocolate drives and that sort of thing," he says. This fundraising effort saw seven kids from the church attend the camps.

Knowing the difference Summer Camps make is also personal. "I walked away from church when I was about 10 and played soccer for six years. In those years, I didn’t go to church, but I was coming to Summer Camps every year," he says. "Mum and dad would always make sure I’d come every year. When I was 13 years old, I gave my life to Jesus and I also chose to get baptised at Yarra."

Matt says the staff at Summer Camps helped him a lot — "It was really nice to have some friends who saw the potential in me," he notes. Now he’s paying it forward by working at the camps, with this year being his fifth year as a staff member (after six years as a camper). "I’m trying to give back to Yarra what Yarra gave to me," says Matt. "I also want to break Graeme Frauenfelder’s service record — I think he’s up to 33 years!"

Matt has been involved in a variety of roles at Summer Camp. "I do counselling, I’ve been assistant boys' director and boys' director, and have worked with snorkelling, kayaking, go-karts and waterfront activities," he says. "This year, I'm a boys' counsellor and junior boys' director."

Back at home, he’s involved in ministry too. "I go to other events like Super Fridayz and we’ve just started vespers up as well. We're trying to get kids more involved on Friday and Saturday nights — those are the party nights for teenagers particularly — and we want to get them joining in at church more," says Matt.