My unforgettable NCS experience – by Eve Edwards

My amazing journey started with the letters Y-E-S! It all started when I saw the stall in my school dinner hall; I was instantly drawn to the excitement of it all. The idea of going on an adventure week, doing fantastic things I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever get the chance to do. Now here I am writing this finishing up the last week of NCS.
At first, I had my doubts I didn’t want to go by myself – scared of being away from home, not being able to make new friends. Now I wonder all that worrying was for nothing! By the end of the first week everyone was just starting to bond and our wave was becoming more like a family. I am leaving NCS with the most amazing new friends, because I had the confidence to sign up! I can’t imagine not being friends with them now. NCS gives you the confidence to speak to more people you didn’t necessarily already know – it may not feel like it to begin with, but as my journey with NCS comes to a close I see and feel a change in myself, my confidence and self-esteem have grown massively and my respect for others, and while at NCS I realised that everyone is equal! We are not separated into cliques: the popular, the unpopular, the nerds; seeing everyone for who they are makes you grow as a person.
My first week at NCS, we travelled to Grasmere, in the Lake District. We had a few troubles along the way, our bus got a flat tyre but that gave us young people a chance to mix. One of the NCS principles – social mixing – so before we even fully began the week everyone got a head start when getting to know each other.
Our first activity as Team 1 was the mountain adventure! It was a rather difficult challenge, however with determination we reached the peak of the mountain, and collected the most flags, meaning we had the most points flying passed the other teams; but that mountain walk was about more than just competition. The mountain gave us the chance to prove to ourselves and others that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to, and although we struggled we stayed together as a team, to finally finish the day with pride, and a sense of strength and accomplishment.
More unforgettable moments in the first week, were the on-sight challenge, gorge scrambling and kayaking! Before gorge scrambling, I was petrified as I have a fear of heights, though during the activity I found myself jumping of the biggest drop on the gorge because I realised ‘I’m not going to get another chance to do this’ so I went for it; I don’t regret a single second of it. Kayaking was also good fun for our group as people crashed into each other from every direction, and got to learn the real technique of kayaking. When we reached the beach on the other side of the lake the instructors let us go for a swim (I’m thankful I still had my life jacket on as part way into the lake the floor disappeared!) By the end of the activity we were all hyped and excited but, Thea and I believed that it was not kayaking without someone capsizing, so for a good 20 minutes we were trying to push each other over (unfortunately it didn’t work) but it was great fun and give us time to bond as friends rather than just team mates.
Phase 2 went by so fast, as they say ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’ The first day of phase 2 was public speaking (speaking to a large audience) and before we even sat down to start I made my mind up that I wasn’t going to do it, because I didn’t have a vast amount of confidence in myself as a person. People are baffled that I am able to perform on stage in front of a large audience, but I’m unable to keep a steady head while just speaking, they say it’s the same thing. Well it’s not for me it’s a completely different concept. I’m confident speaking to people I feel comfortable around and know quite well, but not people I hardly know; that’s why I was so adamant that I wasn’t going to take part, but I did and I couldn’t be more thankful for it, as doing things that scare you help build character and confidence.
Phase 2 was a lot of fun the leaders and team assistants organised 2 discos for our wave in the sporting lodge, and it was so much fun, having everyone being involved, having fun together rather than in their separate friendship groups. I even taught Hamza how to do the hype dance. I think during the second week, that’s when I really came out my shell as a person, so everyone got to see the real, me.
Phase 3 and 4 took some hard work and planning, but it was all for a good cause and in the end we ended up raising more than our target amount for our chosen charity. During our third week, we realised the difficulty of planning an event; we got to experience the responsibility and hard work it takes to organise something so big. All our hard work payed off. We successfully raised a lot of money for the RNLI. We also took part in a sea dip, which was a load of fun, running in as one big group, having a water fight, water coming from every direction that I had to keep my eyes closed. For all I know I might not have been splashing anyone at all; squatting down into the water up to my shoulders, which quite frankly was rather refreshing (considering I was screaming at the top of my lungs) I tried to push Caitlyn over so she’d land head first into the water, but that didn’t work out so well she managed to latch on to Morgan.
Overall I’m over the moon with everyone in my wave, we have come so far and so have the leaders and team assistants, they worked so hard to make our NCS experience the best it could be. I’m extremely upset that it’s all over, and I already can’t wait to see everyone at graduation. I want to do it all over again, and I would happily become a team assistant!
Thank you, NCS you have made my summer one to remember and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything!

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