It’s 2012 and I’m a participant on NCS, not knowing what to expect. I feel fearful and excited, admittedly more fearful, as I have just found out I’m sleeping in the forest for a week in the middle of Berkshire, under what I can quite gonestly only describe as a plastic sheet. Anyhow, swiftly move on 4 weeks and I’ve had the best summer of my life, I’ve gone through an incredible programme, met awesome people along the way and then had the opportunity to do something extraordinary in my local community.

Move forward to October 2012, I’m an NCS grad and have been invited to take part in the Leaders programme, I met even more wonderful people and had an absolute blast learning how I can be a more socially engaged and socially active member of society – and most importantly how I can lead others to be the same!

Touching briefly on 2013 and 2014, I volunteered on NCS programmes around the country. I saw how exciting the programmes were behind the scenes, and just how much work went in to the delivery. I felt like I had start to impact the participants, just like I had been positively impacted on in 2012. Then came this year, 2015…

Natural progression would mean that the next step was for me be a mentor, supporting a Team Leader. Nope. I had for some unknown reason decided to apply to be a Team Leader… and got it. Here returned the fear and excitement, again more intrinsically fear, as I realise I’m essentially in charge of a group of fifteen young people all summer. I was utterly terrified. However, having completed NCS Summer and in the final stages of completing NCS Autumn, I regret absolutely nothing. Having the opportunity to work with young people who may previously know nothing about social action, and empowering and leading them to realise that they hold the key to unlocking social change in their local community is an absolute honour. Yes, it’s difficult at times, but seeing the glowing faces of your cohort as they graduate is what I can only assume parents feel like when their child achieves 15 A*’s at GCSE. I would recommend anyone thinking about NCS to just go for it, you will experience opportunities like no other, and you’ll have an absolute hoot along the way.

A recently coined phrase when describing National Citizen Service is that; “you haven’t done NCS, you’re doing NCS”. I believe this is the most relatable line I’ve ever read.

I’m really excited about NCS next year and the potential for massive social change in Chesterfield. I can’t wait to see what the future hold in store for me in terms of NCS, whatever it is – I can’t wait!

Louis

p.s. waking up for maniacs at 6:30am is just as painful three years down the line…