Byline: Natalie Staples

Two recipients of the Cowan Grant Trust were given the opportunity to reach their potential after being awarded berths on STS Young Endeavour for a youth development voyage.

Third year Bachelor of Medical Imaging student at UniSA Juhee Han and third year Bachelor of Engineering student Aliesha Smith from JCU in Cairns were selected for the program.

The recipients joined 22 other young Australians on the square rigged tall ship in Brisbane and spent 11-days developing their teamwork, communication and leadership skills.

While on board they learnt how to sail a square-rigged tall ship including how to navigate, set and furl sails and climb the 30-metre tall mast.  They were challenged to push themselves out of their comfort zones and in the process learnt what they are capable of.

Aliesha, who is majoring in Electronic Systems and the Internet of Things and leads a robotics club for students in grades 3 to 5 said that she developed her teamwork skills on Young Endeavour.

“I’ve learnt that sometimes I have to step back and let others find their way.”

“I’ve also learnt that persistence pays off.  Towards the end of the voyage we (the youth crew) took command of the ship for 24 hours.  During this time there were a number of communication break downs, but we got there in the end,” Aliesha said.

“I can’t thank the Cowan Grant enough for this life changing experience and for the adventure.  I’m taking so much away from it.”

Juhee, who will graduated as a radiographer next year applied for the Cowan Grant to develop her leadership skills, but found she gained self-belief.

“The voyage was amazing.  On board you get a real sense of achievement when you are pushed to your limit and you do things that you didn’t think you were capable of.”

“I’ve made new friends from around the country and I’ve learnt so many new skills including how to communicate with people and how to work together,” Juhee said.

“Before Young Endeavour I was the sort of person who wouldn’t try something if I didn’t think I could do it, because I’ve done this, I know that I can challenge myself to do more.”

“Anyone who has the opportunity to apply for the Cowan Grant should do it.  The voyage is the best thing I’ve ever done and it will benefit me as a health professional in the future,” Juhee said.

The Cowan Grant was established in 1994 by Bob and Marnie Cowan to benefit financially stressed tertiary students.  Four trustees from the Cowan family administer the trust, which has benefited more than 1,200 students and given over $2,500,000.

Tiffanie Bulstrode, became a trustee in 2006 and proposed that the Cowan Grant sponsor a berth on Young Endeavour.

“I was lucky enough 30 odd years ago as a fresh faced 19 year old to have the opportunity to sail on Young Endeavour’s delivery voyage.  That experience changed my life.  It personally challenged me in so many ways by taking me out of my comfort zone, pushing my perceived limits and gave me a greater awareness of my potential.”

“We all know that, if you want to strengthen someone’s sense of self-belief, or, if you want to bond people into a team, a tight, cohesive unit, you don’t show them a good time. You challenge them, and being out on the Ocean on a Tall Ship is the perfect environment to do just that.”

“I faced many personal challenges on the 14,000 mile journey from England to Australia.  I discovered many things about myself.  This awareness gave me courage and confidence.  As a trustee of the Cowan Grant, I am delighted that we are able to give this other young Australians the life changing experience I was given in 1987/8.”

The first UniSA Young Endeavour berth was awarded in 2008 and a total of 13 recipients have sailed.  The first JCU berth was awarded in 2012 and Aliesha was the 7th recipient.