A recent graduate of the Defence Indigenous Development Program and a Navy Cadet from Esperance in Western Australia were amongst the excited young crew who embarked on an 11 day adventure at sea when Sail Training Ship Young Endeavour departed Cairns on 25 July.
The voyage was a part of the tall ship’s 2016 circumnavigation of Australia, and had special significance as it marked the beginning of the Young Endeavour Indigenous Leadership Program.
Jessica Lowth, of Cairns, undertook the youth development voyage with support from the Defence Indigenous Development Program ahead of her enlistment as a recruit at HMAS Cerberus in August.
She said the experience had pushed her out of her comfort zone.
“We had tasks like climbing to the top of the 30 metre foremast of the ship to secure the gaskets,” Jessica said.
“If you asked me to do that before the voyage I would have said there was no way I would do it – but now I know that I can. I’m learning more about my capabilities and my courage.”
During the voyage, the 24 youth crew members learned the skills to successfully sail Young Endeavour as a team, including how to navigate, keep watch, cook in the galley, set and furl sails and take the helm.
They were also encouraged to pursue individual and team goals, developing their leadership, teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills.
Year 12 Esperance Senior High School student Zachary Cahill, was offered a scholarship to sail onboard Young Endeavour by his cadet unit, Training Ship Kybra.
Like Jessica, Zachary was driven to experience life at sea in preparation for future involvement with the Navy, which he hopes to join as a Marine Technician.
“I’d never been sailing or out to sea for more than one night and though it would be a good chance to try,” he said.
“The biggest challenge was the irregular sleeping hours. We had to keep watches throughout the night, including getting up at midnight and keeping watch until 0400.
“It’s an achievement to be able to keep working efficiently as a team while waking up in the middle of the night.
“After this I think I’ll be able to wake up at anytime and do anything!”
STS Young Endeavour has been sailing around Cape York and across the Top End to the ports of Thursday Island, Gove, Darwin, then down the Western Australian coast to Broome, Exmouth and Fremantle.
The Young Endeavour Advisory Board is currently offering bursaries to youth from Indigenous communities to participate in the internationally recognised Young Endeavour Youth Development Program while STS Young Endeavour sails across the Top End this year.
Jessica encouraged other youth thinking of joining the program to apply.
“Definitely do it! It’s a great experience. It’s been useful to confirm that I am capable of living at sea for more than 10 days, because I will have to go to sea with Navy,” she said.
“The whole experience has just prepared me more for my future.”
For more information, visit www.youngendeavour.gov.au.