This summer I’ve been lucky enough to be doing some work with NCS (National Citizen Service) who are a personal development programme for young people in the UK aged between 15-17. Even though I did the programme myself 2-3 years ago, it was still nervewracking going into a room of up to 80 young people and have to deliver a workshop to them for the first time, I almost didn’t go. See, my first day on NCS came just two days after I’d been at 10 Downing Street with Stonewall, I was still buzzing from the experience and still had my nails done and my hair looking STUNNING! Even with all this confidence, I was still TERRIFIED of what the young people would think, so much so I tweeted NCS Staffing
Their tweets really did help a LOT!
And so my first wave was a tiny bit of a disaster (wrong rooms, hot rooms, no resources etc…) but none of it was my fault and a huge thanks to my co-facilitator that day Jack for helping me realise that and for teaching me a few games to do with the young people too!
That leads me nicely onto some G R E A T moments from the program, starting with the group of lads that chose to re-create Banksy’s mural ‘Kissing Coppers’
This wave was one I’ll never forget for loads of reasons and the lads re-creating ‘Kissing Coppers’ is just one of the reasons! That particular wave was also the one which had NO air con and TINY windows, so considering the unbearable heat, I was so impressed with all their work and thank goodness for that kitchen with the drinks facilities!
This next video is content from the biggest wave I facilitated on, for some reason, there were close to 90 young people on this wave, and despite a slow start they turned out to be super, creating so much good work, I wish I could show you all of it!
Those girls were just the start, while we had some incredible videos and photos produced, I’m not allowed to save those since they feature our young people so you’ll have to take my word for it!
One I can share though is this poem an amazing young man created, all about the future!
Everyone in the room was in awe of this guy’s writing talent! He set an incredible example for the others too, as a team too, they were incredibly strong, with good leadership and a real drive to do good!
Working across the West Midlands allowed me to meet such a huge variety of young people all from different backgrounds and walks of life. One thing that still shocks me is the difference in response I got to the question we ask in one of our activities “do you ever feel not listened too” to which in Stratford-upon-Avon got very few hands up whereas, in North Birmingham, we got a lot of hands going up. While I knew about the differing levels of income in the varying areas I was working it, I really thought us as young people, in general, didn’t feel listened to a lot of the time, I know I don’t, just look at the ‘votes at 16’ campaign, yet my experience working for NCS tells me different, and that’s going to stick with me.
This blog could easily go on & on with all the great work and stories but I need to keep this blog at a readable size! I do, however, want to leave you with my personal favourite highlights of working on NCS this summer.