CFA youth at ease on land and on water

He’s a four-year running State Champion; spent most of his childhood around Tatura Fire Station, recently completed Minimum Skills and spent 11 days in February sailing from Melbourne to Sydney.


Grady (right) with one of his youth crew

Yes, indeed, we are talking about Grady Tyson.

Grady was chosen by District 22 to take part in the Young Endeavour Voyage 02/18.  

The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme is a not-for-profit organisation which provides young Australians with a unique and challenging experience. Their voyages increase self-awareness, develop teamwork and leadership skills and create a strong sense of community responsibility among members of the youth crew. Each voyage  involves 24 young Australians and nine specially-trained Royal Australian Navy crew.

Grady and the other youth crew learnt to navigate the ship, culminating in a 24-hour period of control, sailing the ship into Sydney harbour without help from the Navy crew.

“Navigation of the STS Young Endeavour encouraged many of us to discover leadership potential that would otherwise have been left unfound.” Grady said.

“This experience has shown me how far I can push myself to act in situations that demand intense focus, and how different that standard actually is to where I thought it existed prior to my trip aboard Young Endeavour.

I saw firsthand how much effort an individual can muster to remain useful to the crew past what they understood as their original threshold of effort. It amazed me how many times teens, not unlike myself, broke down in tears then immediately just picked themselves up and moved on with the original task they were working on. It inspired us all when we saw this nod to a greater deed. A task that was bigger than one person, something that could only be achieved by working together.”

The whole Endeavour journey was memorable but the task which impacted Grady most was the tucking of the main stay sail.

He continued telling us about the challenging experience. “A genuine lad named Josh and I were tasked with tucking the main staysail back to a position where it could be tied down and kept for later use. This involved both of us climbing one single ladder around 20 metres above waves measuring close to 3 metres in height. We had to position ourselves on the ladder with each of us only having one hand and one foot on the ladder at any given time.

“Josh had to retrieve the rope that would be used to tighten the sail, by swinging out around the mast and passing the rope around the back of the sail to my waiting hands. There, I would secure the rope to my side of the mast, effectively restricting the movement of the main staysail. This would be completed for 10 more ropes located along the mast taking about an hour. I reflect on this experience as potentially one of the most physically demanding tasks I have completed, and I draw on it nearly every day!”

Grady emphasised the importance this program could hold for the current and future youth in CFA brigades. He said he can’t wait to apply the practical hands-on leadership skills taught, along with specifics like knot-tying and chart or map reading now he is an operational member of Tatura brigade.

“I have attended leadership days before but I doubt any experience will ever come close to this one.

“If you ever have the chance to take part in this adventure, say yes now and do the thinking later.”

It is people like Grady who form the future of CFA and we need to make sure we grow and foster these gems to become our leaders.

Districts in the North East are looking at different opportunities to develop our youth, contact for more information. 

Author: Saskia Van Bever