SMOOTH SAILING: Connor Schoch, of Springfield Lakes, experienced life aboard the Young Endeavour.
SMOOTH SAILING: Connor Schoch, of Springfield Lakes, experienced life aboard the Young Endeavour. Cordell Richardson

Once-in-a-lifetime journey boosts teen's confidence

AN IPSWICH teen believes 10 days on the Young Endeavour tall ship has transformed him into a more confident person.

Connor Schoch was looking for a new challenge when he came across the navy-run youth ship program.

The 16-year-old Woodcrest State College student knew of the program's long and proud history.

"I was into sailing a bit when I was in cadets so I decided to apply for it,” he said.

"I wanted to be a better communicator and improve my leadership skills.”

The Young Endeavour program takes people aged between 16 and 23 out of their comfort zones.

It encourages sailors to rapidly develop interpersonal, leadership and teamwork skills, which are transferable to everyday life and career settings.

"There were so many activities packed in,” Connor said.

"I made a lot of new mates.

"We were trained on how to conduct a safe ship, we would be yelling out orders.”

The high school student said the nature of the challenges and the leadership required meant the program "really changed who I was”.

"I was a bit shy before I went but I came back really confident and it's something everybody has noticed,” he said.

One of the most significant challenges was climbing the tall ship's 30m-high mast.

"It was really cool, but really scary,” he said.

"We had to do it four times and once it was in the pitch black and the ship was rolling.”

Connor, who wants to join the navy as a marine engineer or maritime warfare officer, encouraged other people to get involved with the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"The friendships and the knowledge that you learn there can be used pretty much everywhere in life,” he said.

"We got a bit of self-reflection time, I realised I could put a bit more effort into other areas, like fixing up my results at school.

"My teachers have noticed it.”

For more information, visit youngendeavour.gov.au.



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