My NCS Journey:

My name is Amy Tyley and I am writing this article to inform you of my amazing NCS journey. It all started this summer before my exams when I signed up for a four week NCS programme in order to have something to look forward to and help me to get through the much dreaded exam season.

When the team came into my school and did the assembly on NCS, I immediately knew I wanted to take part. It looked so interesting, and I thought it would be a great way to spend my 12 week summer after finishing GCSEs. When I met my group on the first day, we immediately clicked and, throughout the programme, we all bonded, creating genuine, life-long friendships. The first week was FANTASTIC. We grew as a group doing team building activities such as rock climbing and coasteering (after all… nothing bonds you quite like jumping off cliffs with each other)! My highlight of the first week was when everybody gathered on the field to have a neon powder paint fight – one experience that is impossible to forget.

All week, we were outside our comfort zone being challenged in so many ways, shapes and forms, but we all came together and supported each other throughout the weeks. It was so much fun, as was the entire experience; we were never alone and it was impossible to feel isolated – we were like one big family. Everybody was in the same position and the leaders make you feel so welcome. I couldn’t tell you how many new people I met whom I then went on to spend the majority of my summer with as everyone is from within Bedfordshire, so it is very easy to meet up.

In the second week, we stayed in Bedford University accommodation, which was such fun as we learnt the importance of living on a budget as a uni student; food shopping has never been so adventurous! In this week, we learnt a whole bunch of vital life skills and information we can take with us throughout our careers. We stayed in dorms of 5 in our NCS teams and were plunged into a very mature and independent situation, yet everyone still helped each other out, especially when it came to the cooking. We got the opportunity to meet a representative of the British army who came in to showcase all the different opportunities available (not to mention meeting the adorable dogs that work with them). We also completed a basic first aid training course, which is certified and eligible to put in our CV, looking very impressive for employers and universities.

Our third week was non-residential and spent at Bedford Sixth Form. Each group planned their social action project where we gave back to the community. We decided to work for the charity CHUMS, which held a very special place within our group’s hearts. Originally, we had a goal of raising £200 to fund their Amazon wish list. We did bag packing in local supermarkets and went round our local area educating people on the amazing cause by handing out handmade flyers and leaflets in the town centre. At the end of the week, we pitched our progress to some of the big names in Bedfordshire. By the end of the fourth week, we had raised an astonishing £490 for our chosen charity, which fulfilled the entirety of both their Amazon wish lists.

After you have completed the NCS programme, many opportunities are opened up to you, like becoming part of the regional youth board to help improve your local area. This also looks very good on your CV and for uni. And I must mention the graduation and the party the following summer, which all the ambassadors (one of which being pop artist Jess Glynne) attend.

If I could give anyone my age a piece of advice, it would be to attend NCS. It opens so many doors that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible. As a group, we all agreed that there wasn’t one dull moment and none of us have laughed as much as we did on NCS. I would just like to say a massive thank you to NCS; it has been an unreal experience.

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