Do you have teenagers aged 16 to 17 years? It may be worth looking into the National Citizenship Service so your teen can embark on a summer of adventure!
My teenage boys are rapidly heading towards adulthood, by which time they will be expected to head off into the big wide world - a scary thought! My eldest son is seventeen and the thought of him heading off to university next September is daunting to say the least. Unless he's going to live on beans on toast at uni I really need to help him gain some much needed life skills. Additionally what about all those problems that crop in life that require solving? Will he be confident in social situations? Will he make friends? Basically, will he cope without mum and dad?!!
You spend lots of time and effort during your teens childhood trying to equip them with the skills required for this giant step, but as the teenage years approach you find (well in my case anyway) that your child who was once happy to listen to your advice, now listens to their peers much more. This new found independence is fab, as long as they are still gaining skills in the process!
This is where the National Citizen Service (NCS) comes into it's own, as your teen will have the chance to gain valuable life skills, as well as having the chance to spend time with their peers in outdoor team building exercises.
What is NCS?
NCS - National Citizen Service is a government backed programme which was established in 2011. The aim of the NCS is to bring together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience.
NCS is open to all 16 and 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland. The programme takes place during the summer holidays for the duration of two to four weeks. It is residential and includes outdoor team building tasks, a community based social action project and an end of event celebration.
To date almost 400,000 young people have taken part. Although I personally hadn't heard of NCS, a lot of my friends with teens have, some of which have booked onto programmes this summer.
It would be a fantastic way to spend the summer for teenagers who are currently stressed with their GCSE exams. An excellent way to let off steam and build valuable skills in the process.
NCS is amazing value for money, as the whole experience, including food, accommodation and travel only costs £50! Bursaries are available for families who need them and if your teen has additional needs support is provided. The NCS is certainly inclusive!
The Four Phases Of The Programme
Phase One - Adventure
During phase one your teen will really challenge themselves. They will spend quality time away from home, staying at an outdoor activity centre. They will meet amazing new young people from different backgrounds and communities. The groups are small - 12 to 15 people. Your teen will participate in outdoor activities such as canoeing and abseiling.
Phase Two - Discovery
During stage two your teen will be reunited with their group in a university style environment. They will develop confidence, leadership skills and communication skills - all very useful for daily life as well as helping towards university applications and compiling CV's.
Phase Three - Social Action
During stage three your teen will get the opportunity to really "make their mark" by developing and implementing their own social action project. The skills gained during the previous two phases will really help them to make a difference in their local community.
Phase Four - Celebration
This offers your teen the opportunity to celebrate in style! Taking part in the NCS programme also enables your teenager to get exclusive access to future volunteering opportunities, apprenticeships, discounts and big events.
I'm definitely going to discuss the idea of registering on a NCS programme this summer with my son. It really is a fantastic opportunity.
NCS is committed to finding a place on one of it's programmes for every 16 to 17 year old. Even if you already have commitments for the summer NCS will find a way. There are no barriers to being accepted onto the programme.
There are still places available to take part in this once in a lifetime summer experience. To sign up or for further information go to the National Citizenship Service website.