I recently graduated from taking part in NCS and thought it might be a good idea to blog it.
Firstly, let me start by telling you what NCS is all about (for those of who don’t know). NCS is a national citizen service, where teens from 16/17 years of age take part in a social action plan that helps out in your local community. By doing this, you pick up skills that will help during your lifetime. It also looks very good on your UCAS/ university applications!
Now reading that, you probably think that it sounds pretty damn boring. Lemme tell you this: it was the most awesome, fun experience I have ever taken part in.
I found out about NCS as they, them being the NCS leader people, came into our school and did a talk about what it is and what you can get out of it by taking part. They handed out some flyers and asked the people who were interested to fill one in. Me and my friend thought: ‘what the hell, let’s try it’. We signed up and within a few days, was rang and informed about the go ahead.
See, before you actually start your social action plan, you go away on a residential with your team to get to know them better and to meet new people that have also joined (the slightly not so good, other team). We went to a PGL place, somewhere in Shrewsbury, for 4 days and 3 nights.
|This was what the rooms looked like, from the outside, that we stayed in at PGL. Our room was to the left of this picture, kinda hidden away.|
It cost my parents as little as £15 for the weekend, which I thought was pretty good as it was all inclusive (FREE FOOD) and full of fun activities that we took part in over the weekend.
Okay, I will admit, the food was yummy every day, except Sunday. As I don’t like any vegetables and normally on a Sunday dinner I have a plate full of potatoes, I struggled a little bit when we did have a Sunday dinner.
|Looks amazing, I know 😉|
On to the activities! We took part in loads of different fun activities such as: canoeing, problem solving, turning a person into a robot and then having a water fight blind folded. We also built rafts, went on the giant swing, plunged off a zip wire, took part in archery and Jacobs ladder and did a lot of team challenges. These helped us become closer as a team and get to the know the other team quite well. As the people in my team were mostly friends from school, we kinda already knew each other but it was great to get closer to them and meet the others. This would prepare us for the social action task where we would indeed, need to work as a team.
|Raft building was rather fun!|
|Archery ended us shooting arrows through one of my friends shoes.|
|Problem solving quickly escalated to PILE ONNNN!|
|All working together as a team to pull the rope back to the top of the hill during zip wiring.|
I bet most of you are guessing who the weird looking dude with the beach blonde hair is on the archery photo. Well… let me explain.
That, right there, is a man named ‘Chase’. Or we believed to be called Chase… His actual name was Jake and he was one of the activity team members working at PGL. He told us that he was in the champions final for BMX bide riding and that he was off to Japan the following day to take part in the finals. In reality, he was just a 20 year old guy, who dyed his hair beach blonde for a dare when he was overly drunk and was probably off home for the week to see his beloved mommy. He did make us laugh though so we all forgave him for the silly white lies he told us, in the end.
|This was ‘Chase’ – I just happened to be sitting behind him when this photo was taken, haha.|
After the residential, we had a days break and all met up in an local office in the middle of town. We made plans of all the tasks we did, learning how to plan our social action task (although most of us already knew how to plan). We soon picked up the name ‘Team Tangent’ as we never actually stayed on topic throughout our planning and always started talking about other random things.
|Planning our social action task and… my weird looking face there.|
As the town where we lived used to be a miners pit, we decided to design a memorial miners’ fence for a garden that was going to be made in the following summer, at a local pub, for the ex miner men that lived in town and still visited the pub frequently. We set to work with a designer, thinking and drawing ideas which could be useful. Once finished, we sent the design off to be made and the fence is to hopefully be put up this summer.
We also helped out at our local food bank, around Christmas time, packing up boxes of food for people who could not afford to buy any and were desperately in need. We managed to do over a 100 packages in a few hours, which was excellent!
We then went to our local supermarket – Sainsburys – to do a bag pack for the food bank. We managed to raise £1,026 for our local food bank which they said could not be raised over a period of weeks. They were extremely thankful to us for helping out their charity and it made me feel so happy to know that a few hours of my time could make a big difference to other people who struggle in their daily lives.
I had such fun taking part in NCS and making a big difference around my local community. It was a fantastic experience in which I will never forget and it will sure help me along my journey in life.
|My NCS certificate – signed by David Cameron.|
If you get offered the opportunity to take part in NCS, or something like the organization, then I would fully recommend that you do. You could make a big difference in your local community and to many people in our country that aren’t as lucky and isn’t that something to feel proud of?
– Millie xox