What if I told you that there was a way for your year 11 child to develop leadership skills, build their confidence and make new friends this summer, would you be interested? And to add even more of a bonus element into it, all this would cost you just £50 (maximum). Your teen would be fully engaged in the most amazing outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event - ALL over a period of two to four weeks? The National Citizen Service (NCS) It sounds amazing, right? I'm sure you want to hear more about the National Citizen Service (NCS), the providers of all this fun. My children are not 15 yet but I am so pleased to have discovered NCS as I'll definitely be chatting to them about taking part, especially my eldest who is 14 and can use this as an opportunity to engage on a platform tailored for young people once she's finished her GCSE's. As parents we are always talking to our children about being good citizens and how to engage with our local communities, it is one of the most important values we aim to instill in them as we feel it is far too easy in this day and age to forget the value of community and working together for the greater good.
What is NCS? NCS is a government backed initiative that was established 2011 with the aim of building a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens. NCS is a powerful tool that can help our teens be able to see the value of difference but also importantly look for the similarities between them and other teens that come from completely different walks of life. In a nutshell, the programme:
Puts young people through a series of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zones and develop their strength of character
Provides a progressive journey that hands over more responsibility to young people as the programme progresses and develops leadership skills necessary to succeed in the workplace
Enables young people to connect with their communities through social action.
Different Phases of NCS
There are four phases, all completed within the one summer holiday.
Phase One is all about ADVENTURE. Your teen will go to an activity centre where they'll stay with 12-15 other young people they've never met before and have the time of their life. Think abseiling, rock climbing, zip wires and kayaking - its brilliant fun even for the uninitiated!
Phase Two is DISCOVERY. Your teen will go away to a Uni-style environment with the same group of young people they have already formed friendships and trust with. Here they'll discover more about their own talents and will develop life skills like confidence, leadership and communication to boost their CV or UCAS personal statement.
Phase Three is SOCIAL ACTION. Together with their team your teen will come up with a project that they are passionate about. They'll plan, fundraise and execute their chosen social action endeavour.
The final stage, Phase Four, is all about CELEBRATION. Your teen has made it through the other three stages, they've had a ball and made some firm friends for life but that's not enough. No, now they have a celebration together and are welcomed into the wider family of NCS, where they can gain access to exclusive volunteering opportunities, as well as apprenticeships and great discounts.
Who is NCS for? It is for every teen as surely this kind of amazing and life-impacting opportunity should be a rite of passage for every 16-year-old as they finish their exams? This year more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds will come together in common purpose on NCS. That means one in six of the cohort of 16-year-olds will live together, develop skills together and build community projects together. There doesn't have to be any barriers to your teen taking part either. The maximum cost per child is £50 and this covers all activities, tuition, food, travel and accommodation and if your circumstances don't allow you to be able to afford that then there are bursaries available on a case by case basis and help for those with additional needs too. Of course you might already have holidays booked for this summer but don't let that stop you from signing up for more information. NCS will do their best to offer your child a programme that fits in with your families needs and there are multiples dates and venues available. There are still places available for Year 11's to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website here. What are you waiting for?