NRL referee Tim Mander was set to blow the whistle on youth issues when he took on the role of CEO of Scripture Union Queensland, one of Australia’s leading Christian youth and children’s organisations, on January 9.
The move comes just months after being named the world’s number one referee.
SU Queensland is renowned for its camping and holiday programs and more recently has been recognised as the main employer of chaplains with more than 200 in Queensland schools next year.
Mr Mander said the career change was not a decision made overnight. After a highly satisfying NRL career and years of volunteer involvement with SU Queensland, it was the right time to move.
“With the full time siren blowing after 14 years as an NRL referee, I realised this was my chance to consider again the greatest passions in my life – my family, my faith and my lifelong desire to support children and youth,” he said.
“SU Queensland is absolutely intent on providing youth and children with hope, direction and purpose which can only come from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Each SU Queensland program is a vehicle for local churches to use to reach a young generation.”
After serving as Deputy State Director for SU Queensland in the 90’s and chairman of the board, Mr Mander sees the move “as though I’m returning home. I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Mr Mander, 44, completed studies at the Bible College of Queensland with a Bachelor of Ministries in 2003. He refereed the last two Telstra Premiership Grand Finals, and was named International Referee of the Year for the 2005 Golden Boot Awards. He was also 2005 Queensland Father of the Year.
Outgoing CEO Duncan Brown said Tim was the right person to steer the movement through a period of continued rapid growth. “In the past five years, SU Queensland’s services have skyrocketed in demand and scope. Tim’s passion, his top management skills and his positive profile make him the ideal candidate for CEO,” Mr Brown said.
SU Queensland reach out to young people through a range of services, including chaplains in schools, extensive camping and holiday programs, short term missions, specialist help in primary and secondary schools, and a dedicated force of over 250 staff and chaplains.
More than 3500 volunteers dedicate their time and energy to working with youth through SU Queensland to change kids’ lives.
Photo : New Scripture Union QLD CEO Tim Mander and family. Photo courtesy of SU QLD