Okay, so, first of all, I apologise for the lack of posts on here, I had this whole National Citizens Service (NCS) over the summer and A levels had kept me way too busy and I guess I just forgot about this. However, because of the half term I have managed to get a bit of a break, and recently I have seen people from NCS coming into schools to try and get people to join up to this programme, and so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to reflect on the impact this programme has had and why I would recommend it to other people.
For those of you who have not heard of NCS before, it is a week/four week long (depending on whether you go in the Easter holidays or, as I did, in the summer holidays) which has three phases:
- Challenge Phase, which involves a residential trip to a local centre with various challenges such as raft building, rock climbing, orienteering etc.
- Life Skills Phase, another residential trip to a different location in which you learn about various things which may become handy later in life, such as first aid and how to budget effectively
- Volunteering Phase, where you spend a couple of weeks planning, fundraising, and carrying out an activity to support a local charity.
Whilst this is the basic structure that I personally went through, the experience could change based on when you take part and the provider you go with.
Before I took part on NCS, I never thought it would have such a big impact on my life. Yes, the activities I took part in and the skills I have learned have given me a great boost in self confidence, yet I was surprised at what had really made the largest impact throughout the programme. It was the people that really made the experience worthwhile, and never in my life had I met such genuine, upbeat, optimistic, dedicated, hard working people who I felt like I could relate to. For the first time I felt welcomed, accepted, I felt like it was okay just to be myself, and even if we don’t keep in touch forever, I will always consider them my friends.
When you sign up to these things, you might think “oh hey, there might be some cute people going too”, and I felt like that too, but not for one second did I think I would meet the love of my life. Yet I did, and we’re still going strong over five months after making it official. I admit that this will not be the case for everyone, and I am fully aware of how lucky I am, but even if you have a little bit of interest in this programme, I can guarantee that you’ll meet people like you, and when you do, it will be the best feeling in the world.
NCS has increased my self-confidence and opened up many opportunities. This is an experience which is more than just something to add to a CV or a University application, and this is why I would definitely recommend it to anyone.