Two members of west Melbourne’s African-Australian community recently sailed on Royal Australian Navy operated tall-ship STS Young Endeavour as part of a leadership challenge.
The development opportunity was established by the local member for Gellibrand Tim Watts with support from local business.
Winta Eyod, an aspiring actuary studying commerce at Monash University, and Mohammad (Mo) Semra, a first year commerce and international relations student at La Trobe University, joined the ship in Brisbane and sailed to Mackay in July. Neither had set foot on a boat before. Both were motivated to try new things, meet new people and to overcome stereotypes.
The experience was more challenging than either expected, but also more rewarding. Mo said he had many ‘firsts’ on board.
“Young Endeavour is one of the best things I’ve done. I experienced lots of new things, like being at sea on a boat, swimming in the ocean, climbing and seeing whales and dolphins.
“When I was at high school I thought leadership was one dimensional. Being on Young Endeavour and working in a team, I’ve learnt that being a leader isn’t just about being in charge. It is about showing people through action and working with a team for a collective goal,” Mo said.
“I used to take on lots of responsibility and think that I had to carry that load. This trip has taught me that many hands make light work and that tasks can be distributed.”
Winta also said she picked up new skills and learnt about herself on the voyage.
“On Command Day when the youth crew took control of the boat, I learnt a lot about teamwork, and how to communicate and adapt if things don’t work the way you expect them to.
“Not everything went to plan. We learnt from our mistakes as much as the good things that we did. I’ve learnt that criticism can be constructive and used to improve and develop yourself,” Winta said.
After making 20 new friends from around the country and experiencing some incredible part of Australia, Mo and Winta said they were looking forward to telling their friends about their experience.
“In my community there aren’t a lot of people looking for new opportunities. Through coming on Young Endeavour, I hope I can be a role model for someone else to look and see what’s out there. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life,” Mo said.