I am an NCS Graduate. I took part in the programme in the Summer of 2016, after finishing my GCSEs. I thought that a would write a post to share my experience.
What is NCS?
‘National Citizen Service (NCS) is an experience you really don’t want to miss. If you’re 15 to 17 years-old, this is your chance to embark on exhilarating challenges, make your mark and build skills for work and life. More than 275,000 young people have already said YES to NCS. Don’t. Miss. Out.’
I remember seeing people in the year above me taking part in NCS in 2015, and thinking that I wanted to do that too. So when we had a presentation about the programme at school, I was so excited! When signing up, we were given the option of four different ‘waves’ available to us. Over the next few weeks, meetings were held and we were given information packs and consent forms.
A couple of months before the programme started, we were invited to team days. This gave us the opportunity to meet some of the other people that would be taking part, and also meet some of the leaders. On this day, we played some team building games and had conversations about why we were taking part, and what sort of things to expect.
Then after months of waiting the day finally came. We were on Phase 1 of the four week programme, and headed off to an outdoor education centre. After arriving, we met our roommates. We had previously given the names of our friends on the programme, and that majority of us were placed in rooms with them. However, we had a girl in our room who was on her own, and we bonded very quickly. That evening, we were introduced to the people who would be in our teams for the whole programme, and we played some games to get to know each other better. Apart from two or three people, everyone in my team was from my school, or the local area. Although this could be seen as a negative because ‘I should have interacted with new people’, I wasn’t really ‘friends’ with these people beforehand, and now we all have a closer bond, and still even have an active group chat!
Week One was emotional, I’m not a very ‘outdoorsy’ person. There was many things that I didn’t really want to do, but I pushed myself to do as much as I could. Our team mentors always encouraged us to take part, but never made us feel uncomfortable. One of my favourite activities from week one was raft building, we had limited supplies and had to build a raft that would support the whole team. This lead to a few disagreements, but in the end our raft lasted for about a good 2 minutes before the ropes came undone and we all fell in!
At the end of the week, it was back home for two days to wash my clothes and rest before Week Two started.
I loved Week Two! We stayed at a University, and experienced what student life may be like. Everyone was given a room in a flat, and we were given a budget and had to buy enough food to last us a whole week. During this week we attended different workshops, including: Body Image and Self-Confidence, First-Aid and Positive Thinking. I really enjoyed these workshops as they started a conversation amongst us, and we all shared our feelings on topics that are usually ignored. Week Two also gave us a lot more free time. This week fell during the time of the Olympics, so that was always on the TV in our flat. It was this week that I felt more confident and able to talk to others, and I made a lot more friends. We also worked a lot more in our teams during the evening activities. My favourite was the Lip Sync Battle, each team was given 30 minutes to create a routine for two songs to perform to everyone. My team came second! (Personally, I still think we should have won!)
And then the second week came to a close, and we all said goodbye to each other. We knew that some of us would not see each other again properly until graduation, so this was a sad moment for many.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first two weeks with NCS, and signing up was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made!
More information can be found on the NCS website
Make sure to stick around, as I will soon be posting about my experience during Weeks 3 & 4: Social Action, and Graduation!