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The Program

A voyage in Young Endeavour is an amazing experience, and a unique personal development opportunity for the youth of Australia. The emphasis of each voyage is building skills and attributes to develop each participant into a better team player, a more effective communicator and a leader.



Since 1988, the youth development program conducted in Young Endeavour has evolved and developed into a highly acclaimed youth development program.

What is youth development?

Youth development programs challenge participants in order to foster positive growth and help them achieve their full potential.


The Young Endeavour program is designed to take young participants out of their comfort zone and place them in an unfamiliar environment where they must work together to succeed.


Participants are given opportunities to reflect and learn about themselves, to discover hidden strengths and talents, and to understand the value of working as a team. As they learn and put into practice the skills to sail the ship, they build confidence, self-awareness and a readiness to take calculated risks to further their goals and ambitions.

The Young Endeavour difference

The Young Endeavour Youth Development Program is internationally recognised in the field of sail training.  The experiential program conducted on board STS Young Endeavour is delivered by professional Royal Australian Navy personnel who are specially selected and trained for their roles.


During each eleven day voyage, youth crew aged between 16 to 23 years work in small teams, and sail the ship twenty-four hours a day in all types of conditions. They live ‘between decks’ in a close community with youth from a diverse range of backgrounds, and are encouraged to identify and pursue personal and team goals and challenges. Each voyage includes an opportunity for the youth crew to take responsibility for the ship for a twenty-four hour period.

Research shows that the Young Endeavour Youth Development Program has a long-lasting, positive impact on participants, building social capital in the community by increasing trust, cooperation and tolerance. The experience translates over time into more enduring social skills such as self-control, goal achievement, and a positive outlook, bringing broader benefits to the Australian community as well as to the individual.

The Youth Development Program

The Young Endeavour Youth Development Program is formed around the principles of Experiential Learning, Challenge by Choice and Transitional Instruction, culminating in Command Day, which brings together everything youth crew learn on board the ship.

Experiential learning
A ship at sea in provides a unique and powerful place for experiential learning as it requires participants to take on responsibilities with real consequences, albeit with supervision. The activities they undertake have a real purpose, and their decisions and actions have immediate and measurable consequences – for example whether a sail catches the wind or the ship sails in the right direction. The lessons learned at sea can be readily transferred back to their everyday lives.

Challenge by choice
Challenge by choice empowers people to choose their own level of participation (or challenge). Setting and achieving personal goals is of much greater value in terms of development outcomes than simply complying with an instruction. Different elements of the program will be challenging to different people. The key is to provide a safe and positive learning environment which encourages participants to make their own decisions and to give each activity a go.

Transitional instruction
Over the course of each eleven day voyage, delivery of the program moves from instructional leadership at the beginning, to guided leadership during the main learning phase and, finally, moving into a phase where participants are self-directing with the facilitators keeping a watchful eye for any safety concerns. We refer to these as the Crisis Phase, Transition Phase and Arrival Phase.
Read more about the three phases of the program

Culmination experience
Every program should aim towards something. Aboard Young Endeavour, the culmination of the program is a 24 hour period known as Command Day. The youth crew are collectively given responsibility for the ship with the aim of achieving set tasks and reaching their destination on time.
Command Day requires participants to draw on all their experiences on board, proving to themselves that they are indeed capable of successfully navigating the challenges that await them back in their “real world”.

Teaching others
During most voyages, the voyage concludes with an opportunity for participants to lead and instruct others, sharing their new found skills and abilities with a group of youth with disability during a Community Day Sail.
This activity provides an opportunity for youth crew to consolidate the skills they have learned and imparts valuable lessons in diversity and respect as they work together with youth with very different life experience to safely sail the ship.

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Research and Outcomes

The benefits and importance of youth development through sail training has been documented in a number of studies, most notably in research conducted by the University of Sydney, Australia, the University of Otago, New Zealand, and the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

If you’re into facts and figures you can download research papers from our resources page.

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