| ||Youth Development, What's it all about?|
Youth Development is about living, working and playing with people you haven't met before; about becoming a member of a team, about taking responsibility, giving and taking orders, pushing yourself physically and mentally. Being cold, wet, weary, perhaps sick, often frightened -
and looking back on it as the most wonderful experience of your life.
As a crew member of a sail training ship you quickly learn that 'they'are no longer there to do things for you;the plumber to fix the tap, Mum to make the bed, the council to sweep up the litter you drop in the street, the 'takeways' to provide a quick meal. On board there is only 'us'. If something needs doing it can only be you, me him or her; not 'they will do it' which shelves all responsibility.
Spuds to be peeled, decks to be scrubbed, bunks to be tidied, sails to be set, heads to be unblocked, anchor cables to be stowed. The list is endless, but if no one does it, it doesn't get done. No spuds peeled, no meal. Cause and effect brought into much closer proximity than usual; if a sail is not adjusted correctly, we cannot point the ship where we want to go, which means bed an hour later, which means and hour less sleep.
Q.E.D as we used to say in geometry.
Another early lesson is that it is easier if a team works together. One person cannot get the mainsail up; six pulling together do it with ease. But to pull together, someone has to say 'heave' and if someone has had the forethought to rig a block and tackle, we can get it really tight.
Slowly the need for discipline and self discipline is accepted. By the end of a 10 day voyage, what started as a group of 15 disparate individuals, some shy, some nervous, a few suspicious or rebellious, and nearly all totally inexperienced young land lubbers, has become a crew. They are now 'shipmates' and what the have learned goes far beyond seamanship and navigation.
Thanks to Captain Geoff Rowarth
New Zealand Sail Training Association