This month marks the fifth anniversary of The Helmsman Project. In July 2013, excited by the possibilities ahead of us and aware that multiple challenges would present themselves over the years, the very first The Helmsman Project program set sails. 15 young girls from Chester Hill, Bankstown Girls and Sir Joseph Banks high schools participated in our pilot.
Fast forward five years and the lives of more than 300 Year 9 students from 11 high schools around Western Sydney have now been impacted. This is not a small feat. Much hope, self-regulation, resilience and community spirit - all values deeply ingrained in our fabric and life skills we aim to help young people develop - were needed along the way.
Ultimately, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the financial backing and belief of our generous funders, the tenacity and passion of our employees, the dedication and energy of our volunteers, the collaboration and flexibility of our research and adventure partners as well as the absolute commitment of our partnered schools. The Helmsman Project is without a doubt a collaborative venture.
So as I temporarily step aside this week to bring a new life into our family, I am thrilled to welcome another collaborator to The Helmsman Project in Robert Milne, interim CEO. Robert brings the business experience, network and enthusiasm needed to continue to deliver on our five-year strategy in concert with our board and team.
I have been rewarded over the past five years by the wonderful relationships formed with The Helmsman Project community. I look forward to rekindling those upon my return in 2019 (and as I randomly poke my nose over the coming months) so that together we can create more positive stories of change for young people.