AP began their journey with us on the Summer NCS programme, with her wave located in Aylesbury. Throughout the first day on programme at our Caldecotte Xperience, AP was reluctant at first to take part in any of the climbing activities but overcame her fear and pushed herself to give it a try, which resulted in a huge sense of achievement. AP was very shy at first, but she was always cheering on her team members and was a point of support and reassurance for several the team, despite her own fear of the challenges across the day.

As the week went on and the group were assigned their charity, the Oasis Partnership, AP was extremely passionate about the cause and how to benefit the charity in the best way.

The Oasis Partnership provide high quality social and psychological support services to improve people’s health and wellbeing. They provide support to people of all ages and offer a range of services to benefit many and diverse communities, specifically helping those that suffer from substance abuse.

AP helped to brainstorm ideas with her team and prepare for the Lion’s Lair presentation. Throughout the presentation, although initially reserved, she came out of her shell, answering the Lion’s questions, thoroughly explaining the budget and overall plan for their fundraiser in a situation she would have not spoken up in just days before.

As well as this, AP was a fantastic addition to the team throughout their time volunteering at the charity, where they re-decorated garden furniture and gave old posters and signs a new lease of life. Alison Cobb, from Oasis Partnership said ‘Just a quick note to thank you and the team for bringing the NCS HW group to Chesham and also for the Aylesbury group as well. Both groups have done a great job and I hope they enjoyed it. The money raised by the teams is vital in our work’.

AP also went out of their way to provide additional support to two team members with special educational needs. She was caring, listened well and was empathetic with them, helping them to complete tasks and keeping them motivated throughout the day, often explaining tasks and reasonings in more depth. This enabled those young people to gain more from their NCS journey, and also further helped AP to build confidence in her own abilities. AP was an asset to the team, the NCS Programme and a credit to herself. She overcame fears, anxieties and deserved the recognition given to her via the Action4Youth Outstanding Achievement Award, which was an award she received at the NCS Celebration Evening.

In AP’s own words, she explains how NCS helped her:

‘Before NCS I was excited about what I was going to participate in, but I was also incredibly nervous. I was very aware that I probably wouldn’t know most of the people in my team, let alone on my wave.

On the first day, as we all clambered on to the bus, I felt very worried about what activities we would be doing. Once we arrived at Caldecotte Xperience, we were told that two of our 3 activities would be water sports and the other would be climbing! I nudged one of the few people I did know, and told her I was a bit apprehensive about our day. Rather unhelpfully, she told me she was very excited and that she would be good at all of the activities. That day, we did kayaking, canoeing, and rock climbing, all things I didn’t feel confident doing. I really didn’t want to go on the climbing wall, but my team leaders and some people from my team cheered me on and before I knew it, I was halfway up the wall! At the end of the day I was given the very first TRUE award of the week!

The rest of the week was quite fun; we had a money management session, which wasn’t very exciting but was definitely needed and useful as it helped all of us to feel better equipped with our money going forwards. As well as this, we had a visit from an Olympian. He taught us all about teamwork and everyone felt we had really bonded as a team during that afternoon.

Planning our social action project fundraiser was lots of fun. We decided to do a sponsored walk around our town in fancy dress; all our costumes were really good, someone even came as a dinosaur! Our time spent at our charity was definitely the highlight of the second week; I had so much fun painting the outdoor furniture, sanding it all down and then re-painting a table. I helped some of my team to splatter paint on the chairs and benches!

At the awards evening, it was such a shock to be given the Outstanding Achievement award. I couldn’t believe it when my name was called! My parents were so proud of me.

After doing NCS, I feel that I can say with absolute certainty that I have become much more confident and I am so much more willing to try new things. I learnt how to talk to people I didn’t know, I learnt how to be proactive, I learnt how to stop worrying what others think of me and just have fun!

I have gained so much through NCS, from life skills to friends for life; among them, a new found gratitude that I am fortunate enough to be able to help others in difficult situations in any way I can.

Without every single one of my team members, I could never have achieved what I have and gained the skills that I now possess; my wonderful team made my NCS experience and I am so grateful to them for their support.

I almost didn’t go on NCS. Now, looking back, I’m ever so glad I did!’

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