MyNCS Case Studies

Take a look at what two students, Izzy and Jess have to say...

 

Izzy

On the first week of residential we went to an activity centre in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. We took part in a variety of events including: abseiling, rock climbing, kayaking, raft building as well as other team building activities. During the different activities everyone participated, even though some were very confident and keen they also encouraged others to push their boundaries and have a go, this really helped and promoted team work, and by the end of the week we knew more about each other's strengths and weaknesses.

On the second week of residential we were closer to home just outside of Great Torrington. During this residential I felt more confident as the week grew and as I got to know the group better. During the day we listened to talks by various people including the District Council, the Police, the Fire service and a local Parish Councillor. We also started to think about what we would like to do for our project. In the evenings we sat around and talked while we played cards - mainly poker, cheat and extreme snap!

Originally our social action project was to completely renovate the Fremington Youth Club building but unfortunately that project fell through. We quickly had to come up with another idea, luckily Jan Kennedy from the Council had told us about another local project in Swimbridge. It was a bit like DIY SOS; we had just 4 days to redecorate the village hall; first we had to persuade businesses to give us the paint and equipment we needed, then we learnt how to decorate as we went along. As soon as we'd finished we held a 'coffee morning' for Swimbridge residents to see their new look village hall.

At points over the last four weeks I have found some elements and tasks difficult but I have had enough encouragement and support from the leaders and people on the course to help me, and because of that I feel more confident with myself and around other people. I would defiantly recommend for future year 11s to take part in the project as it's a great experience and you make new friends and meet loads of people. When it comes to volunteering in the local community in the future I have already been approached and asked to help with a local family event in Swimbridge which I have already said that I would help in.

 

Jess

During the first week of our project our team went through tough outdoor activities and challenging situations that strengthened our team and revealed individual strengths and weaknesses. The variety of activities left nobody out and encouraged team support. By the end of the week everyone had mastered this which meant that we all ended the week with a real sense of achievement.

Being together with a mixed group of people and working together through such hard challenges, both physical and mental, made people accept each other's differences and be open to the individual qualities. Sharing the week with an NCS team from Bristol also gave us opportunities to work with a wider range of people.

Being so far away from home allowed everyone to temporarily forget any negatives from where they live, like feeling stressed or being out-cast. So they could solely focus on the positives about themselves and others around them. This helped boost people's self-esteem as they knew that they would be treated as an equal within the group.

The third week was very project-focused and we spent a lot of our time conjuring up and developing ideas. There were many opportunities for individuals to strengthen their skills in a variety of areas such as designing flyers, telephoning people such as councillors and emailing organisations.

As the group began to normalise, there were noticeably a few individuals who found it more difficult to speak out and air their thoughts and opinions, and generally get involved with the action. These were the people who needed more encouragement and support to perform to their full potential. Their confidence had dropped slightly. As a strong group we pulled together and lifted everyone back to the same level. By the end of the week, all individuals had played an important role within the process of planning, organising and finalizing our project, and more importantly regained that confidence that they momentarily lost.

Together, our team decorated the village hall in the community of Swimbridge in four days; we learnt a lot of lessons from doing this. On the fifth day, we held a free coffee morning open to the community, hall users, and people who had helped us along the way to form our project. Our team baked cakes, laid out teas, coffees and biscuits, and arranged tables and flowers free of charge for all that came to see the work we had done.

Having managed our own project, I would like to get involved within my community again. I would also strongly recommend the NCS project to others in years to come; as I and everyone else that took part gained so much from it.

Prior to the project, I was low in self-confidence and sometimes found it difficult to be myself or speak with new people. It would sometimes feel like there was a brick wall between me and them. That brick wall was bulldozed by the end of the first day. The constant positive team spirit, support and encouragement helped to strengthen me throughout the rest of the course.

During the outdoor activity week I had to face the Trapeze on the High Ropes course. The aim was to jump from a ledge, high up on a tower, into mid-air and reach for the trapeze bar hanging out in front. Down below, your team would have the rope that was attached to your harness between their palms. As you jumped, they ran. If they didn't, the rope would be loose and you would fall straight to the ground. With my legs quivering and my team cheering support at me, I eventually managed to leap through the air and grasp the bar in my hands.

What I learnt from NCS is that with the right positive support ropes and encouragement cheers from the people around you, you can do anything you want in life. Never let anything retain you from your potential because the ropes never hold you down, they hold you up.