NCS... Extreme, a more intense and rugged version of the UK's flagship youth programme National Citizen Service, has recently taken place for the first time in Cumbria. Students of just five Essex schools were invited to take part, offering a once in a lifetime experience for the 16 and 17-year-olds to gain essential survival skills for work, life and the great outdoors. The first week's challenges included hiking, building a camp, cooking over an open fire, filtering water, mastering emergency first aid and navigation training.
Dylan Canty, 16 and from Bishop's Stortford, jumped at the chance to do something challenging and worthwhile with the long summer break.
"NCS... Extreme sounded really different and I wanted to do something new that pushed me out of my comfort zone," said Dylan, a student at Bishop's Stortford High School. "It was great, a real challenge. We learnt things I'd never get the chance to do in everyday life and I loved it!"
Fellow trailblazer Jidapa Srilong, 16, and a student at Saffron Walden County High School, also valued the opportunity to make new friends from different backgrounds. She said:
"NCS... Extreme was great. I really like doing outdoor stuff, so it was perfect for me. I made several new friends that I'm going to stay in touch with. The activities really pushed me to challenge myself and try new things. I was proud to be one of the first people on the programme and it's definitely an experience I won't forget!"
After a week of outdoor living, the teens went on to build their leadership and decision-making skills with a packed programme of debates, pitches, and project planning aimed at giving them the skills to stand out in the competitive world of business. They explored financial planning, were tasked with creating a comprehensive marketing strategy and received training in public speaking to help them survive in the most challenging of interviews or boardrooms.
NCS... Extreme is a four-week programme delivered by Ingeus in partnership with Essex County Council.
Its sister-programme, National Citizen Service, takes place across England and Northern Ireland and is open to all 16 and 17-year olds. It is hoped that the success of the NCS... Extreme pilot will lead to its widespread roll out next summer. To find out more visit: www.ncsingeus.co.uk.