As a Mum to a 14 year old, I know that when it comes to teenagers they need all the encouragement just to get out of bed in the morning, take a shower, and get outdoors for a little fresh air. Although Lewis loves outdoor activities, he can go an entire weekend holed up in his bedroom, curtains drawn, chatting to his friends on his headset whilst they battle it out on the Playstation. I feel I spend my entire Summer telling him, “Open your curtains! Get your shorts on! It’s too nice to sit inside on day like this!”. But if his friends are on holiday or they have other plans, rather than make an effort with new friends or find something else to do, he will mope about the house getting under my feet and increasingly fed up!
Recently I discovered National Citizen Service (NCS) and it seems like the answer to my, and many other parents, dreams!
NCS is a government backed programme 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 open to 16 and 17 year olds across England and Northern Island and is a two to four week programme, taking place during the school holidays, which includes 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. In short, it teaches our teens responsibility, builds strength of character, provides them with skills to take into the workplace, and most of all, it’s a whole lot of fun!
The scheme is hugely successful with almost 400,000 16 and 17 year olds having taken part since it first launched; 7,000,000 hours of community action and for every £1 spend, NCS’s summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society.
The most surprising thing for me was that all of this, including food, accommodation and travel, costs just £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Having recently forked out almost 20 times that amount for a school holiday for Lewis, I can’t get over just how affordable this is!!
The NCS is already set to welcome more than 100,000 teenagers to their programme this summer but great news, there are still places available! With Lewis only in year 9 he is not quite old enough yet, but for anyone with a child in year 11 I can’t recommend this enough. I know for Lewis, he would thrive on this programme and I imagine the changes that parents see in their teens, over one short Summer, are incredible!
For those who haven’t yet booked their holidays and are worried about this fitting in, you can still register your interest and the NCS will endeavour to get your teen a spot on a programme at a time that suits.
You can sign your 16 or 17 old up right now by visiting the NCS website
As a parent, I can’t think of anything I would rather my son be doing during his last Summer holiday before college than learning valuable skills, meeting incredible people and making memories to last a lifetime. Roll on 2020 when I will be first in the queue to sign Lewis up for this opportunity!!
** This is a collaborative post with NCS **