I have recently just been on a 10 day youth development voyage as 2nd Mate on the Spirit of New Zealand. 40 teenagers aged between 15-19 years old. Youth from all over the country including exchange students from Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Italy and Chile came on board for a life changing experience. Three girls in particular really stood out from the other 37 teens on board. These three girls have life long dreams and goals ahead of them which they hope to live out one day. When they stepped onto the Spirit of New Zealand for the first time they knew no one. Despite being exchange students and having English as their second language they didn’t let that hold them back from putting in 100% in the voyage and getting back 110%. One girl had such a bubbly personality that made everyone smile every time she talked to them. She had dreams to travel the sea and work on a boat. But behind the scenes she had pressure from her family to join the Royal Navy. She likes to please people and always puts others before herself. Towards the end of the voyage she came up to me and shared that she was really scared about leaving the Spirit because she would then be heading into the navy. I could see her spark fading as she talked with me. She asked if there is any other way she could live out her dreams at sea and still please people. I shared with her my story of how I first went to sea and developed a career out of it. I gave her a letter with gave her 122 other options for pursuing a career at sea, one which she will enjoy, her parents may accept and the different roles which woman serve in on a ship or boat... She cried as she read it. A follow up chat with her the next day reignited her spark and she was on fire again and her smile reappeared :-) The young girl left the Spirit of NZ buzzing to tell her parent of her life changing experiences she had on board and also about her career options for when she leaves school. She is planning on joining a cruise ship to work in hospitality industry. She is so excited about her new found dream. She will then get to travel, work, have a social life, and enjoy each day as she lives out her dream of working on the water. Who ever new that by one person speaking it could make such a difference in someone else’s life.