Year 11 student, Tilda Picken, has learnt to say ‘yes’ to the opportunities that come her way.

A life-changing moment for Tilda was being selected to be part of the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme earlier this year.

A unique and life-changing experience for young people in this country, the Young Endeavour gives people aged 16-23 the chance to sail the Australian coastline and learn new skills – but, more importantly, learn a lot about themselves as individuals.

“I went on a Rotary Camp in Year 10 and one of the staff members told my Mum that I should apply for the Young Endeavour Program – that I would really benefit from it,” Tilda recalls.

“I said to myself, ‘Tilda, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing – you have to take it’. My mum was a huge source of encouragement… she knew how good it would be for me.”

After an extensive application process, followed by an interview, Tilda received the good news.

“The day I found out, I had just won a basketball tournament and already felt ecstatic,” Tilda remembers. “I got the email and just had to do a happy dance in my socks!”

Nervous about the experience and wondering what it would be like, Tilda began second-guessing whether she deserved such an extraordinary opportunity; one that so many young people covet.

But her days at sea were even more extraordinary than she could have imagined.

“After some initial days of seasickness at the beginning of the voyage, our group quickly adjusted to life at sea,” Tilda says.

“We learnt how to climb a mast, navigate, hoist sails, tie knots, clean the deck—and so much more.”

Like so many before her, the experience was life-changing for Tilda. Beyond the experience of sailing and the huge learning curve, it gave her a chance to reflect on life.

“When I was out at sea, I had so much time to think,” she says. “I became so content with simply being where I was in the moment. As young people we’re so much more than an ATAR or a percentage mark on a piece of paper.”

Having gone through such an amazing adventure on the ship, Tilda returned to shore with a different perspective.

“I’d always been so caught up in the future; daunted by what lay ahead,” she says.

“Back on dry land, the sun looked brighter, sunsets were more beautiful. I noticed the softness in my grandmother’s skin—everything seemed so much more meaningful.”

Tilda describes BSSC as “diverse” and loves that such a disparate group of people come together for what is a really crucial time in their lives.

Her teachers have been a great source of support.

“In some of my subjects, I’ve been told I’m doing quite well,” she says with surprise. “I didn’t know I was being noticed in class… it’s nice to receive that encouragement.”

Music has become a big part of Tilda’s time at BSSC.

In my music class, I’m surrounded by guitarists and other great musicians,” she says. “My teacher Ash Bird said, ‘Can you sing?’ and I replied, ‘only in the shower!’

“That lead to me joining a band and writing songs. I love my band, the people are great.”

When she’s not playing basketball or creating music, Tilda loves to de-stress by listening to the crackly magic of old vinyl, or hanging out with her kelpie, Cooper.

When asked who she would have a conversation with if she chat to anyone in the world, Tilda’s face lights up.

“A film director,” she says immediately. “Someone who has a clear vision and passion—like Wes Anderson, Stephen Spielberg or Christopher Nolan.”

It’s no surprise that Media is one of Tilda’s favourite subjects. Film is one of the ways she connects with her family—especially her dad.

“We have the same taste in movies,” she says. “We can talk about films for such a long time!

“I often feel like I see the world through a camera lens. I see moments in my life and imagine them as movie scenes.”

While Tilda isn’t fully sure what she wants to pursue in the future, it’s safe to say her sense of adventure will guide her to some more amazing experiences.

“I want to travel, experience different cultures, eat authentic street food and visit the rice fields in Vietnam,” she says.

If this year has taught Tilda anything, it’s not to doubt herself, or where life can take her.

If she could offer advice to her 12-year-old self, it would simply be: “Don’t lose yourself caring what other people think. And if you’re ever feeling sad, chuck on some funky socks!”