The Helmsman Project started as a vision to help young people achieve their potential and make a difference in the world. This vision was brought into being through the passion and dedication of a team of people committed to this idea. Now, six years on, we know our program makes a difference in the lives of our participants not only because that’s what our research tells us, but most importantly, because our graduates tell us it does.
Our focus is supporting young people to develop their hope, self-regulation and resilience, which we do, but along with that we have discovered that participating on The Helmsman Project also grows their confidence, ability to make friends, sense of belonging, and leadership skills. So, we think the best ‘evidence’ of our impact is to share with you the words of program graduates.
“After Helmsman I can do things I didn’t think I could do physically and mentally because I thought “I can’t do this” [the adventure] and then I did it. I keep referring back to this to help me at school. It set a marker for me that was hard and now it is like nothing is hard. I feel more confident.”
“What I got from Helmsman was patience – before it, I was a ticking time bomb. It has influenced what I want to do. I've always been set on being a tradie but The Helmsman Project made me want to finish Year 12.”
“On Helmsman, I learnt being able to start something and finish and maintain belief you can do it.”
“Helmsman helped me realise how resilient I am. Now, when there is a problem I think this is how we are going to fix it and if that doesn’t work we will try something else.”
“I don’t feel fear of failing now. If I do fail, I see it as a challenge to improve myself.”
“Helmsman gave me more confidence: I could do it: I can stand up in front of others and talk.”
“It gave me an open mind on meeting new people and new challenges.”
“After Helmsman, I find it easier to connect to others when you [have learnt] people are pretty much like you.”
“Helmsman helps you know other people better – we are similar and that has made me confident in approaching others.”
“After Helmsman, I am a more open person and I feel like I have the potential to lead.”
“I got leadership skills from Helmsman. I know there will be hard times but as long as I come back from it is ok.”
Working with a variety of evidence
The Helmsman Project is deeply grounded in evidence-based theories of positive human development, psychology and learning. We understand research and know that participant self-report is only one measure of our effectiveness. We have previously shared stories of our impact told by our partner schools, our coaches and our consulting experts and we will continue to do so.
Our program has also been the subject of an Australian Research Council funded longitudinal randomised control trial in partnership with the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (ACU). The initial reports of the data from this trial have shown quantitative evidence of the outcomes reported above. We look forward to sharing the final report from this research with you later in the year.