Being a parent of a teenager I am quite often fearful for her future. The world is a challenging place at times with big competition ahead. When I heard of the National Citizen Service (NCS) I couldn’t help think what an amazing opportunity this could be. Providing life skills and team building for those demanding years ahead.
What is the National Citizen Service all about?
National Citizen Service (NCS) is available for 16 and 17-year-olds in England and Northern Ireland. The NCS is a government-backed service which was established in 2011 to help build 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 two or four-week programme, which takes place during the school holidays includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn life skills, a community based social action project and a celebration event at the end of the programme.
At a time of huge political uncertainty, where a division is more evident then togetherness, NCS is a powerful tool to ensure the next generation see more in their similarities than differences. All you have to do is listen to the radio on a daily basis to hear how worrying it can be out there. Something has to change and I do believe the more that can be done now for the generation of the future the better.
The NCS programme:
- Puts young people through a series of challenging activities to take them out of their comfort zone 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.
To date NCS have had almost 400,000 teenagers take part, more than seven million hours of community action has been completed and for every £1 spent NCS’ 2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 & £2.42 of benefits back to society. How good is that?
Lauren has recently returned home from a Skiing trip to Italy with her year group in school and she has signed up for the Duke Of Edinburgh Award for this year and already I can see a big change in her. Her confidence has grown, it’s shown her responsibility and being away from home she has had to be grown up and responsible for things usually us parents would take over. So a programme such as the NCS I can see being such a benefit to children and I am most definitely keen on both of mine signing up in the future.
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 pieces together.
If you have a son or daughter in year 11 then it’s not too late to sign up for this summer. To sign up now you can go to the NCS website to register and even if you have other commitments or summer holidays booked because NCS will endeavor to get your son or daughter on a programme at a time that suits you and works around your other plans.
The NCS programme is £50 and this includes food, accommodation and travel costs. Bursaries are available on a case by case basis and support is also provided for young people with additional needs. I think this is amazing value considering what is included with the experience.