The thing about having teenagers is that time speeds up. Before you know it, your baby is balancing GCSE revision, friendships and hobbies – mostly without your involvement. The thing is, though, as big as your teens look, they still need a bit of help moving into the next stage of their lives, whether that’s a job or higher education.
That’s where the National Citizen Service comes in. The NCS is a four-week summer programme that’s open to all children who are 16 and 17 this summer.
To kick off their NCS experience, young people from a range of backgrounds are brought together for a series of outdoor experiences. Your teen might find themselves building fires, sailing kayaks or climbing. The idea is to give them a taste of adventure, and help them get to know the other young people in their group.
Next, the NCS participants will complete a residential course, often held at a university, where they will take on leadership and communication skills training. These courses are perfect if your teen lacks confidence for interviews, or needs some additional support in feeling ready for the move to higher education.
Finally, the group will devise and carry out a community-based project. This might be anything from a series of coffee mornings to raise funds for a community project, or taking on an environmental improvement project.
The whole scheme wraps up with a celebration for all the young people to mark their achievement. After all the stress of Year 11, NCS could be just the thing you teen needs to help them de-stress and prepare for the next stage of their lives.
What’s brilliant about NCS is that it takes young people out of their comfort zones and allows them to get to know young people from all different backgrounds and situations. In working together, the young people develop essential communication, leadership and team-working skills, as well as understanding the importance of ‘giving back’ to our society.
The NCS is a huge national scheme, with over 400,000 young people having completed the programme.
You might expect this sort of experience to be expensive but in fact NCS costs just £50, including travel, food and accommodation. For families that might struggle with this, bursaries are available on a case-by-case basis. Nor does NCS have to ruin your family plans this summer. If you get in touch with NCS they will do their best to find a programme and date that fits in with any existing commitments.
To find out more about NCS, head over to the NCS website.
* Collaborative post