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Toronto teen wins chance to sail aboard Young Endeavour


Riley Dodson will soon set sail on an adventure of a lifetime.

The Toronto High School student has been awarded a scholarship that will see him sail from Newcastle to Brisbane aboard the STS Young Endeavour later this year.

The voyage is thanks to a Lake Macquarie City Council scholarship aimed at providing personal development opportunities for the younger generation.

Riley will depart in June on an 11-day odyssey aboard a brigantine tall ship purpose-built for sail training as a bicentenary gift to Australia from the UK.

The 17-year-old will juggle HSC study with preparation for the trip.

“Luckily the voyage takes place between any form assessments, so it shouldn’t affect it too much, but I’ll need to work hard to make back that time,” he said.

Riley said he applied after talking to others who had previously undertaken the Young Endeavour Program.

Riley Dodson

“They spoke with high regard about their experiences on board,” he said.

“I also believed it would be a great way to push myself in a challenging environment.”

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said participants not only learnt about sailing, but about leadership, teamwork and initiative.

“I’m really proud that council unanimously supported this new scholarship program,” she said.

“It’s about developing young people in Lake Mac and getting them ready for their next steps in life.

“The experience translates over time into enduring social skills such as self-confidence, goal achievement, and a positive outlook, bringing broader benefits to the community as well as to the young person we’re supporting through the scholarship.”

Lake Macquarie City Council manager community partnerships Andrew Bryant said that after careful consideration by a panel of judges, including councillors and Youth Council members, Riley’s application stood out for its honesty, passion and enthusiasm.

“It was clear that he was very keen to get the most he could out of an experience like this,” Mr Bryant said.

Young Endeavour Youth Scheme executive director Jennifer Reilly said she was pleased to welcome Lake Mac’s first scholarship recipient to the program.

“Our 11-day voyages help young Australians develop resilience, confidence, teamwork, communication and leadership – skills that will help them improve their everyday lives and future career opportunities,” she said.

“We look forward to welcoming Riley on board for the adventure of a lifetime.”

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