The Young Endeavour program is the adventure of a lifetime. Learning how to sail under the supervision of Navy officers, while having fun and making lifelong friends is the perfect adventure! 

After a stressful year of university, global pandemics and cancelled travel plans that had flipped my 2020 upside down, being able to take part in the first voyage on the Young Endeavour since the start of the pandemic was an honour and relief! 

My onboard experience of the Young Endeavour was like no other. I honestly believe the best rule on board was no phones allowed. This really encouraged all Youthies to come together and socialise, forming stronger friendships and wholly participate in the program.

There were too many 'best parts' on the trip. I never know what to say to people that ask me.

Do I talk about the dolphins we saw almost every day we were out at sea? Or do I talk about the chance to lay aloft and watch the sunrise project magnificent shades of red, pink and orange across the glistening ocean? How about Command Day and the chance for all Youthies to work together to sail the ship by ourselves, and the honour of being elected Captain for the day? The 12am-4am watch with the silky velvet Milky Way above and seeing the first light of a new day? The time I was able to man the helm and steer the ship through Sydney Harbour at the early hours of the morning? Or the time we sat on the bow sprit, arguably a better water ride than anything Gold Coast has to offer? The genuinely hilarious banter between Youthies and Staffies? Constant cheeky shukkas from Pheebs? Salty's hilarious and informative daily updates? The sunset BBQ? Adam's unmatched quality in the galley, surprising us meal after meal? The time we jumped off the rope swing from the boat? The day excursions to Port Stephens, a hike around Patonga Beach on Floral Friday, overlooking Broken Bay, or the beach games and swim at Jibbon Beach, near Bundeena? Or how about the lifelong friends I made? 

Do you see the struggle I am faced with when asked, "what was the best part of the trip?"

These experiences on board the Young Endeavour taught me how to sail, leadership and teamwork skills, self-confidence, how to overcome challenges and adversity (i.e. developing sea legs is a process - let's just say paper bags were a hot commodity for a few days), my own capabilities and the importance of responsibility and duty while on board. 

This is an adventure where you get out what you put in - the more you put yourself out there, make new friends and really participate to learn something new, the more you will get out of the amazing Young Endeavour Youth Scheme.

Liam Mackay