In June this year, Tameeka Taylor (16) took the helm of the STS Leeuwin II as it came into Fremantle Port on the final day of her week-long voyage onboard.

The Waikiki local received a full scholarship through RMD Tankers to take part in the Leeuwin Foundation’s youth development voyage which sailed from Fremantle to Geraldton on 17-23 June.

Under the direction of Captain Richard Grono, Tameeka was chosen out of the 40 participants onboard to guide the 55m long, barquentine style ship alongside.

“Being able to steer the STS Leeuwin II into the Fremantle Ports and watching how proud my family was, was one of my proudest moments,” said Tameeka.

In replacement of payment for RMD Tankers services they offer an annual scholarship that covers the voyage fare for a student in the Rockingham area.

RMD Tankers Director, Robert O’Connell explains this ongoing partnership.

“The only thing that is important to us is the development of our youth within this area by assisting in leadership qualities. The development, as demonstrated by Tameeka, has been exceptional and well worth this ongoing commitment by both organisations,” he says.

RMD Tankers services for the Leeuwin includes supplying necessary tankers and crew to remove and appropriately dispose of the Leeuwin’s black, grey and oily waste water. They also cleans the ship’s diesel tanks and dispose of contaminated diesel fuel.

Tameeka applied for the scholarship as she saw it as an opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone and develop skills that she could take into her future.

“I have had a lot of struggles these past few years and I wanted to be able to prove it all wrong and show that I can accomplish great things,” she says.

During a Leeuwin voyage participants are involved in all aspects of sailing the tall ship, and in doing so develop key skills in leadership, teamwork and communication to take into their future.

“My mother told me that I was a new Tameeka, a better women then the girl who she’d watched leave on the bus a week earlier. It was just flabbergasting.”

“Leadership is a very big part of the voyage. I learned new skills that I have actually been able to apply into my role as a Cadet Corporal in the Australian Army Cadets,” says Tameeka.

Participants onboard the Leeuwin follow a ‘challenge by choice’ motto, where they push themselves to reach individual milestones whilst onboard.

“I achieved my goals as I climbed to the top of the main (33m) mast and I’ve made some of the best friends that I still talk to on a regular basis. I also feel like a new and improved version of myself in all honesty,” she says.

The Leeuwin Foundation aims to enrich the lives of young people through adventure, participation and challenge and is funded through a combination of grants, corporate sponsorships and donations by organisations and the general public.

The Foundation is an award winning provider of personal development and leadership programs which provides key life skills for young people aged 14-25 that they will take into their studies, careers and community.

Since 1986, the Leeuwin has provided exciting and life-changing programs to more than 40,000 young people across Australia.

The first three voyages on the 2017 – 2018 season are already at capacity, and berths are filling for Voyage 1711 (21 – 27 October) and Voyage 1712 (7 – 13 November). To book your space, download your application form today!