Natalie Staples

It's not every day a Deputy Principal gives a Year 12 student the green light to skip school and go on an 11-day adventure at sea, but Lockyer District High School student Kyha Black found her luck was in.

The 17 year old first heard about Young Endeavour’s internationally recognised youth development program through school and, after applying and being drawn from the ballot, was excited to be accepted.

“All my teachers were really excited and happy to give me time off school to do the voyage,” Kyha said.

“I have a lot of assessments due when I get back, but I was able to get extensions to let me do the program.”

Travelling to Newcastle in NSW, Kyha joined 23 other young Australians on a voyage to Brisbane. 

On board, the special trained Royal Australian Navy staff crew trained the ‘youthies' how to sail a square-rigged tall ship, including how to navigate, keep watch, climb the mast to set and furl sails aloft, cook in the galley and take the helm.

Once the youth crew had met the challenge of learning to sail the tall ship, they elected a command team who took responsibility for sailing Young Endeavour for 24 hours.

The youth crew also had a digital detox with no phones and social media and were encouraged to explore personal and team goals.

Kyha, who is a school House Captain and is Captain of a footy team, said that she developed a few life skills.

“I obviously learnt about sailing, knots and how to sail, but I also learnt personal stuff.”

“At school, I have leadership roles and on Young Endeavour, I learnt about the different ways that people lead," Kyha said.

“I’m usually stepping forward at school, but on Young Endeavour, I learned to be involved in the team a bit more, how to communicate and appreciate people."

The sail training voyage also presented plenty of fun moments.

“We went snorkelling and used the rope swing off the boat, which was pretty cool,” Kyha said.

"I'm not too keen on heights, but I managed to climb right to the top of the 30-metre mast and hang the topsail."

“I also really enjoyed working in the galley with the chef Zach, he was heaps of fun.”

So how did Young Endeavour measure up?

“I got a lot out of it.  I’ve made new friends, seen and experienced things that I’ve never done before,” Kyha said.

“I’ll push my brothers to go on Young Endeavour, as I feel they’d really enjoy it.”

Each year Young Endeavour conducts up to 20 voyages along the east and south coasts of Australia between Cairns, Adelaide and Hobart. Young Australians aged 16 to 23 years are able to apply for a berth via a ballot at www.youngendeavour.gov.au.