July 6th– July 23rd; plus four Sunday’s in September. By Aidan
Nervously, I entered the Ripple Centre (Barking) where I got assigned to a group of nine strangers (aged 15-17). We sat in chairs in a circular arrangement and awkwardness was apparent especially as remembering everyone names, I found difficult, and part of me wasn't sure if I would cope.
Anyway, I got on the coach for a 4 -hour journey to Cote Ghyll Mill in Osmotherley, North Allerton, North Yorkshire.
Why did I apply for NCS? Firstly it is a once in a lifetime opportunity as only 15-17 -year- olds can take part and secondly I'm adventurous which is exactly what the first week provided.
While in Yorkshire I did several activities including raft building/canoeing, rock climbing, bushcraft (survival training- making a fire with flint and steel), archery, hiking and camping. Furthermore, all meals needed throughout the day was provided and bunk bed accommodation for only £50!
I extremely enjoyed the first week apart from the lack of sleep one night because of tight and cold conditions in a tent. Additionally it helped me get to know my teammates.
During the second week, we stayed in Yurts (large tents) in Lambourne End, Chigwell. During this week, we had to make our own lunch and dinner every day developing our independence and teamwork skills.
During the days of this week, we were in Dagenham Vibe centre where my team Ward (named after Carly Ward a successful business woman) were learning from a business expert enterprise skills.
The skills we learned enabled us to cooperate together to form a consultant team which we named ourselves Fuzion in order to help advise a local youth club leader how they could improve their club in terms of their networking and fundraising.
We rehearsed several times so we presented our ideas to them professionally and they were rather impressed and agreed to take our advice on board.
Additionally during my leisure time in the youth centre I chilled down by playing some ping pong with my NCS peers. But once we got back into work we knuckled down and our final challenge for this week was to organise and set up the showcase for parents and friends of my NCS peers displaying the skills the different teams had learnt. For example, there were musical performances, photography showcase, freestyle football showcase and a drama performance.
My role was to be like a scheduler noting down the requested time slot each team wanted to rehearse and I made sure they rehearse in the lecture room on time.
Anyway, the showcase was a huge success it all run smoothly and the audience were left impressed with the performances and skills displayed the show.
During the third week, my meeting point was at Barking Abbey School. Once I arrived there every morning tiredness was dwelling on me but empathetic words from my mentor helped keep me motivated.
The main aim of this week was to learn how to construct a campaign to help fundraise for a struggling local charity. The charity we got visited by was called Flipside and was an LGBT charity whose aim was to help reduce the amount of discrimination towards anyone's gender.
Anyway, we worked together to think of ideas to formulate our campaign and this included having an attractive Stall with posters and balloons to gain the public's attention and displayed our slogan ‘equality is quality.'
We also planned to do a social experiment where members of my group acted out different scenarios of where they acted as a homeless person and the public for spare change and we observed to see if there was a varying amount of generosity towards the opposite sex.
We rehearsed our speech and pitched it in front of dragons to persuade them to give us £50 which we would use for our campaign. We were successful and speaking in public was helping improve my confidence and others also.
Finally, in the last part of the program we only met on the Sunday weekends and it involved collecting the resources needed for our campaign and doing our campaign, sponsored walk we raised money for while performing challenges in order to compete against the other groups to get points as the group with most points would win "Cheeky Nando's vouchers" so we were determined to win, but we failed despite completing all of the challenges.
Additionally we took part in a parade in Dagenham whom Scouts, numerous charity members took part and we represented NCS waving our flag in the public's view which was worth it to a certain extent as I was awarded a medal at the end.
Overall to sum my experience of NCS up it was tough (especially the first week) but an exhilarating ride and I definitely enjoyed my time on NCS and so I highly recommend it. Please be aware though if you would like to take part next summer it is only applicable for 15-17-year-olds only.
If you would like to learn more here are links to:
And promotion video: https://youtu.be/155NogWVBgo
PS- Team ward is the best; forget about the rest! Congratulations if you are in team ward
Aidan is a team member at Hylands