The 12,000th young Australian to set sail in STS Young Endeavour completed the Young Endeavour Youth Development Program over the weekend, after an eleven day voyage along the Queensland coast.
Twenty-four youths from around the country joined the national sail training ship at Cairns on 3 June 2014 for an adventure at sea under the guidance of Lieutenant Commander Michael Gough and a specially trained Royal Australian Navy crew.
Nineteen year old Braydon Eastwell of Port Macquarie embarked Young Endeavour having never sailed before, and said the experience was absolutely amazing.
“From day one the voyage was full on and absolutely awesome,” said Braydon. “Working in a team in close quarters and being able to mingle with so many people from so many walks of life was amazing.
“The most challenging thing on board was hanging 33m over the ocean in the rain and 40 knot winds, but everyone got in there and worked really hard - it makes the challenges easy when you’ve got those people around you.”
A voyage in Young Endeavour is a unique experience, and one which develops skills for life. Youth crew participate in all aspects of sailing a tall ship, including learning to set the sails, take the helm, navigate using the ship’s charts, and climb to the top of the 30 metre mast.
The internationally recognised youth development program delivered on board builds teamwork, leadership and resilience, and fosters a strong sense of community amongst participants. After a week at sea, youth crew members demonstrate these skills by taking command of Young Endeavour and sailing the ship to their final destination.
After arriving at Hamilton Island on Friday, Braydon said “I feel like I’ve got a lot more commitment to everything I do. None of us were sailors at the start, and by the end we realised that if you put your mind to it you’ve got the drive and passion to do whatever you want!
“If you’re thinking about sailing Young Endeavour, do it! It’s an experience of a lifetime, one you can’t forget, and the things you get out of it are beyond words.”
STS Young Endeavour is the gift given to the government and people of Australia to mark the Bicentenary in 1988. Since then, 12,000 Australians have completed the Young Endeavour Youth Development Program, and a further 10,000 guests from organisations supporting youth with special needs have joined the ship for a Community Day Sail.
Voyages in Young Endeavour are open to all Australians aged 16-23. For more information please visit http://www.youngendeavour.gov.au.