Sometimes I hear Mums say ‘oh I wish there had been a blog like yours about when I was pregnant – it’s such a useful resource for new mums.’ Obviously this kind feedback makes my heart swell but I also get really frustrated that mums with older children don’t realise that I want this community to be just as much for them as for the baby Mamans. I have teenagers and a toddler. I absolutely understand that every stage of motherhood is a challenge and though parenting older children is physically more demanding – with older kids there’s still plenty of worries to keep you awake at night!
One of the biggest worries as a mother of an almost adult is how do I help my child to become a decent, kind, caring, compassionate adult and a useful member of the human race. Let me tell you there are moments on the teenage rollercoaster that will have you questioning whether you’re the only parent in the world with quite such a frustrated older child – but the truth is you can only teach them the lessons you feel are right and just and lead by example – give them the tools to become great grown ups and then step back and let them find their way.
Today I’m very excited to tell you about an incredible initiative that I consider to be one of those tools I just mentioned – the National Citizen Service – or NCS.
So what is it?
NCS was established to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society and is an opportunity available to all 16 to 17 years-olds in the UK, it’s their chance to embark on exhilarating challenges, make their mark and build skills for work and life. More than 400,000 young people have already said YES to NCS. Oh and the best part for us as parents is that it will never cost more than £50 (including food, accommodation and travel)- depending on your circumstances it may even cost less.
Practically NCS is a 2-4 week programme that takes place outside of term time during the spring, summer or autumn school holidays. During the programme your teenager will develop the skills that employers increasingly value; confidence, leadership and independence.
A typical four week programme will look like this….
In week one your teenager will live away from home for a five-day residential; NCS partners with some of the country’s most popular outdoor activity and residential centres. In week two, your teenager will embrace independent living, typically in university campus dorms or uni-style halls. For the social action phase – weeks three and four – your teenager will return to their local area and give something back to their community! Shorter programmes will be tailored differently.
NCS programmes take place in many locations throughout England and Northern Ireland and all NCS staff are DBS checked (previously CRB) and are trained to work with young people. The programme is risk assessed and regularly quality assured.
Even if you have a holiday scheduled this summer NCS is committed to working around families and their unique situations so register an interest and the team at NCS will get in touch to let you know what they can offer you. They are particularly looking to work with teenagers completing Year 11 this summer so if this is you or if you know someone with a child of this age do give this post a share.
NCS is a government backed organisation and by bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens. This programme is in all of our interests and it would be such a shame if it was under utilised because parents didn’t know it exists. I’ve already registered an interest and am looking forward to seeing what options are available to my boys over the next few years as they enter this age bracket.
There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer. To sign up now, go to the NCS website.
(Note this is an endorsed post but I am an absolute advocate of this service – paid or not.)