City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch

A yearning for a career in the Royal Australian Navy inspired 17 year old Samantha Howard to join sail training ship Young Endeavour for its first voyage of 2021. 

Samantha, from Mayfield West, was supported on her journey by the City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch, and quickly rose to the challenge of the youth development voyage.

Before the voyage I was worried about heights” Samantha recalls. “On the second day I managed to get to the top of the fore-mast on the first try. I surprised myself, but I think I was so determined that I didn’t even think about the height situation. I always avoided things that were high and never gave them a try. It was worth overcoming the fear”.

City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch is a long-term partner of the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, funding youth from the Newcastle area to join a voyage each year for more than a decade. Each participant has had the opportunity to grow as individuals, leaders and team players, and have brought that skill set back to the local community. 

As happens during each voyage in Young Endeavour, Samantha and her fellow crew learned the skills required to sail a square-rigged tall ship; including how to navigate, keep watch, cook in the galley, take the helm, climb the 30 metre mast and set the sails - all while building their self-confidence and learning to work together as a team.

The eleven day sail training program culminates in Command Day, where youth crew elect a leadership team and take over the ship for 24 hours, sailing the brigantine under the watchful eye of the specially trained Navy staff crew. Samantha is proud to report that the adventure helped test her resilience and discover new depths of confidence in herself.

“Sailing in Young Endeavour has given me the confidence to challenge myself more often.” Samantha said. “It’s confirmed that I want to join the Navy and that life at sea is the one for me”.

Commanding Officer STS Young Endeavour, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Callander said the ship’s staff crew had worked hard to deliver a modified program with COVID-safe measures in place to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

“We are ecstatic that our return to sea was a success, and that our youth crew worked together to make the most of the experience,” said LCDR Callander. 

“It’s no surprise that the last 12 months has been challenging for young Australians, and this voyage proved to our youth crew that they are resilient, and more than capable of overcoming the challenges of everyday life”.  

Voyages through to April 2021 will be delivered in New South Wales. The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme is currently developing a program for the latter part of 2021, which is expected to include opportunities for youth from other states to participate in a voyage.

Applications are now open to young Australians aged 16-23. To apply or register interest for future voyages visit www.youngendeavour.gov.au.