This summer I took part in the National Citizen Service Program (NCS) run by the Essex Boys and Girls Club, which runs for 4 weeks during year 11 summer holidays. Initially going into the program I did not want to take part as I thought it was going to be a complete waste of 4 weeks filled with boring activities, out of what was supposed to be a well-deserved summer vacation.
When I arrived for my first week I was incredibly nervous but the fact that I had 7 other friends from school coming with me on the trip made the journey to Solihull easier. The campsite consisted of around 10 small marquees in which each group of around 8 had to sleep in for 4 nights. We were sent straight into activities such as kayaking, laser tag, rock climbing, 7 mile hikes and Bushcraft. Throughout the week we learnt more about our team members which made it easier when we were doing inter-team challenges and also just being able to get along together better. Each group was also responsible at least 3 times in the week to do the washing up after each meal of the other 80 people on site. This task forced a sense of responsibility into everyone and for those who were used to being cuddled at home, one of independence.
During the second week we went to Hadleigh Park in Benfleet and the activities for that week were more focused on topics to do with education and work as well as just entering adult life. We had someone from Parliament to talk to us about getting involved in politics as a young person and someone else who spoke to us about university and budgeting money. Each evening there were activities between each group such as quizzes and Pictionary. At the end of the week there was a talent contest held and each group had to present something that represented or told the story of the NCS experience. We went home at the end of the second week dirty as a result of the inadequate bathroom facilities but extremely happy to have made new friends and had such a great time on the residential aspect of the program.
The Next Phase
Phase 3 was where we had a social action project to complete in a set amount of time. What that meant is that we had to try and do as much for the local community in the amount of time we had (60 hours) such as volunteering at a residential home for the elderly, litter picking and running free art clubs for children.
To conclude, I am extremely happy that I took part in the NCS program as I made a whole new set of friends and gained new knowledge about not only survival in the forest but survival in A-levels and university. I’d recommend the program as it is not only a fun way to spend your summer but a valuable place to learn new skill sets or find out if you’re good at something you didn’t already know you were good at.
For more information visit www.ncsyes.co.uk