Young Endeavour adventure exceeds Gympie teen's expectations
SEVENTEEN-year-old Australian Navy Cadet Aaron Morante recently joined Young Endeavour for an unforgettable sail adventure from Airlie Beach to Gladstone.
When the offer was made, the Gympie cadet jumped at the chance to join 26 young Australians on the 11-day voyage.
"When I was offered my berth, I thought this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I should take it because I won't get the chance to do it again,” Aaron said.
On board, specially selected Royal Australian Navy staff split the youth crew, or "youthies”, into three watches and taught them all the skills they need to sail the 44m brigantine so they eventually take command for 24 hours.
"Once I stepped on board it instantly exceeded my expectations. I thought Young Endeavour was sailing a ship, but I realised it was so much more,” Aaron said.
"It was about navigation, leadership, teamwork and communication - which are all really important in ensuring that everything runs efficiently.”
Aside from learning how to take the helm and set and furl sails, the youthies develop valuable life skills as they learn to live in the unique tall ship environment.
"The main skills I'll be taking away from this are time management, stress management and self-reflection,” Aaron said.
"I had a fear of heights, but on Young Endeavour they encouraged me to push out of my comfort zone, which was really good and I've now overcome that fear.”
Towards the end of the voyage, youth crew take over the command of Young Endeavour and sail her to the final destination.
"I was elected Sail Master, which was a surprise at first. A lot of people must have had faith in me,” Aaron said.
"I really enjoyed calling the sails and learning how each sail can be trimmed to ensure the wind is in the best angle while sailing.
"The voyage had plenty of highlights. I really enjoyed the watches and getting to know other people and becoming closer as a team. The food was also amazing.”
The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy, has been delivering its award-winning youth development program for 31 years. Since then, nearly 14,000 young Australians aged 16-23 have completed the program.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and you'll get everything you want out of it and more. To anyone tossing and turning about it, just throw your hand straight up,” Aaron said.
To learn more about the program visit www.youngendeavour.gov.au.