Hello, unflattering photo of all of us. 
It's all finished. I've completed 4 weeks of NCS. It's surreal. If I keep repeating these words would it become more real?

This week was certainly more bittersweet than others. We tried to get donations from the public to go towards 'Honeypots Children's charity', had our main event and had our last NCS day.

There are bees in the Market Square
For 2 days, we had set up a stall in the Market Square. We were relentless in our efforts to try to promote Honeypot Children's charity, advertise our event and gain donations from selling our homemade cakes, cookies and flapjacks.

Somebody in our group runs her own business selling cupcakes and other baked goods. We were all highly anticipating her bakes and let's say, they do not disappoint. The brownies that I ate had transported me to chocolate heaven and could be the definition of food porn.

It was really heartwarming when people were willing to donate a few pennies towards this great cause-  in this case, every little helps. When they donated, all I wanted to do was to give them a massive hug for being such kindhearted people but in reality, it would most likely be frowned upon to hug a complete stranger. So instead, I just gave them massive smiles and said our thanks.

We were out parading the streets from 10:00am-3:30pm and by the end of the day, whenever someone saw a person wearing a bright yellow top, they would swerve to go to the opposite side of the road. I found this fairly amusing because everybody could spot us from a mile away. I promise we don't sting.

We're a dedicated bunch
A normal NCS week goes from Monday to Thursday but due to our event being on Friday, we were granted a day off on Wednesday. However, instead of relishing the day off, we all decided to go into town to further advertise our event as well as receive the raffle donations from shops. We also visited the other team's stall in the market square to help support their event.

After having lunch in town, we trekked back up the hill to go back to school. Over the week we had multiple tiresome trips up and down the hill and every time, my thighs would burn from the ascent up. The bright side of that bothersome hill is that my flabby thighs will (hopefully) be toned.

Once we were all at school, we had a mission to accomplish. This mission was to choreograph and practice our routine for a flashmob where everybody has a 10 second solo each. If we accomplish this mission, we get to wax our leader's legs. I'm actually scared for him because the hair on his legs, no, I mean the carpet on his legs is going to be stripped off and it's going to be painful. Very painful.

Throw in some disastrous dad dancing, flailing arms and some uncoordinated jiggle and voila, our routine is done. Our dance routine is by no means flashy or remotely technical but we have a kick-ass chorus and we all had a laugh when we did it.

Family Fun Day or Family Rain Day? 
A few days before the big day, we received some bad news. The British weather was not in our favour, it was expected to rain and after hearing that, we all became dejected. Who would go to a BBQ in the rain? We all made the conclusion that we'll just go along with it and just be grateful for those who come.

Confession time-I'm not a massive fan of the taste burgers but the delicious smell of them sizzling on the BBQ could have converted me. As a group we had established that if we're having food, we are having good food. All the burgers and sausages were brought from the local butchers and they were bloody fantastic. Massive pat on the back to the girlies who braved the rain to provide us with the star of the show.

Last Day Blues
We tidied up the venue where we held our event. Forgotten balloons which was strewn over the floor had its last breath, left over sweets were eagerly taken and tables were eventually packed. We were finished. Despite the simple task of tidying up I felt heavy-hearted, maybe because we weren't going to see each other everyday or maybe because summer is nearly over or maybe because that it's probably the last time I would do something significant with friendship trio or a combination of all of the above.

Lastly, we all huddled together. Our team leaders gave a speech, although it wasn't the most artfully thought out speech of the century, it certainly held all the sincerity and emotions held in a century. I remember, I glanced around our little group and inwardly smiled. Who would have thought that the same awkward group who struggled to communicate to each other, would be the same group who was all huddled together in that moment.  It certainly was a picture worthy.

Saying yes to something scary and foreign has led to so many memories, new experiences and new friends this summer. I am so bloody proud of us, we've achieved so much and we've all grown as individuals as well as a group. I'm sure if Dean had a look at us now, his beard will fall off due to the shock.

It's the end of my 'NCS EXPERIENCE' and as cliche as it sounds, I wouldn't change it in any way. 


The ritual end of week photo. 
The weeks are whizzing past at the speed of light and before I know it, I've already completed week 3 of this programme.

This week was mainly used for planning our social action project! As a team we needed to choose a charity that we would raise awareness and fund-raise for. We chose 'The Honeypot Children's Charity'. This charity tries to give young carers the childhood they rightfully deserve, by providing them a weekend service to simply let them be just children.

It's Logic..
With our charity set, it's time to plan our event. Our group has a profound love for all things meat and sport therefore we did the logical thing which is to combine them together and Family Fun Day was created.

This event would be aimed at different types of people with a variety of stalls from hook a duck to a raffle which would suit different age groups with the main star of the event being the BBQ.

Connections. Connections. Connections. 
I guess the things we learnt from week 2 came into use earlier than I had expected. We had a session on networking and how knowing a few people, who know a few more people can help you further to your goals. I cannot stress how important these connections were, every connection pushed us a tad further and a bit closer to our main goal.

Within our group we had many different types of connections to many different types of people. It ranged from an employee at Tescos to a owner of a rugby club. By using our connections we got the venue, the food and the activities sorted.

Rejection hurts but keep on moving
One of the first aims that our team established is that it would be great if local business supported us by giving donations which will contribute to the grand raffle prize. In return, we would promote their business to people who would come to our event.

We mainly went to independent stores purely because we thought they would be more flexible and willing to donate, we also thought it would be great for them to gain some more recognition over the chain stores. Many shops welcomed the idea of donating raffle prizes to the charity and they thought it was for an excellent cause but not everything goes as smoothly as we had planned.

Managers were more than willing to promote our event in their shop windows however whenever you mention the word 'donation' you see their smile falter a little. Sometimes they just can't donate because it would be unfair if they chose one charity over another and many other reasons . It's understandable. Despite the disappointment you have to put a smile on your face and say thanks and just move on.

If you just need a break, take a break. 
I know planning an event is some serious work but we all need a little bit of fun. If not, people would start to get demotivated and not want to actively participate in the planning. We were instantly transported to our younger selves when we played games on the field which all of us hasn't played since primary school.

Admittedly this wasn't the most exciting of weeks in my NCS series  but it was necessary to ensure the success of our event for next week. So just power through and try to have fun.

 Stay tuned for week 4 of this series! 


Let's get week 2 on a roll!

The second week is mainly centered around learning new skills which will be useful for the fourth week of the programme (The Social Action Plan).

We were located at a local university, living the notorious life of uni students-well, only for a week. In comparison to the first week, it was much more chilled and relaxed. The days weren't as jammed packed, there were more time to spend with our groups and I definitely gave a sigh of relief when I saw our en-suite bedrooms.

Cooking is not my forte 
All meals were cooked by our group. We split our team into 3s and each mini group is responsible for a particular day, their duty is to cook 3 meals for 14 people. Admittedly, some meals were better than others. When the day came for my group to cook-well, should I say 'attempt' to cook, it was less than successful. With such a simple menu, you wouldn't believe the struggles we faced.
Breakfast: Pancakes with a variety of toppings
Lunch: Burgers or Chicken Nuggets with a side of fresh salad and chips
Dinner: Pizzas with chips and vegetables 

Breakfast- Imagine our shock when we realised that we forgot to put eggs on our shopping list; we were determined to make pancakes so we got into some eggy business. Sneakily, we creeped into another team's kitchen and slyly opened their fridge, I swear I could hear angels sing because in this ordinary fridge was 5 full boxes of eggs. After some quick calculations, we concluded that they had 60 eggs for 14 people, that's more than enough eggs when there is only 2 meals left for the week. We decided to 'borrow' some eggs and put them to delicious use. Truthfully, I still don't know whether they had realised that some of their eggs had gone walkies but thanks!

Lunch- Time dictates our lives. Maybe we were a bit optimistic or maybe we are just slow or maybe we're just bad at time management because a cooked lunch was laughable. In the short time span we had, we were expected to cook for 14 people as well as eat. Nope.

Dinner- We ordered 5 pizzas but only 4 came. Is my group destined for failure? Even after devouring the meal there were still 14 hungry people lounging in the kitchen.

A group who deserves a notable mention in this section is the group who cooked Chicken Tikka Masala it was truly fantastic. Thanks guys!

Movie Binge
There's nothing better than curling up on your comfortable sofa with a batch of freshly made popcorn and have an endless movie marathons. Since we had so much free time we watched some movies from different genres. We watched horrors like 'The Conjuring' & 'Anabelle' then we switched to more light-hearted comedies like 'Ride Along' & 'Inbetweeners 2'.

Annoyingly, there was a lack of seats in our common area therefore somebody always had to sit on the floor and after a couple of hours by no means is it comfy. I swear some of the people in my group are walking furnaces, they just radiate heat and it got so hot. Despite these minor problems, our movie nights were enjoyable and fun.

'Fun' Lessons
In a day there were around 3 lessons- first lesson starts at 11am then the second starts after lunch and after that, there's a little break before the third lesson. I was absolutely dreading these lessons. I feared that we were going to be sat in a classroom and just listen to the teacher ramble on and on about their life. Thankfully, there was only 1 session like the one I described above, it was mostly interactive and physical which made the lessons much more engaging and fun.

What Team Am I On? 
One evening the leaders decided that all the groups at the uni should go to the local park. It's amazing what you can do with one football and just a piece of land. Initially, we had a playful kick-about within our team, then our competitiveness came in. We split into 2 teams, Rock-Paper-Scissors and let the games begin!

The words  'Can I play?' was hesitantly asked by a guy from another NCS group and we quite happily welcomed him into our match. As the game progressed, more and more people flocked to the rapidly growing game that eventually we just gave up dividing the teams. Occasionally one would ask 'what team am I on?' but I gave them the most basic reply-'choose a side and shoot'  Who knew 3 words would lead to this jam-packed football match?

This week hasn't been as adrenaline filled as the first but none the less it was still as great. The days laced themselves together like it was one big movie about some kids just trying to have fun. That's what we are, kids- who want to have a great summer.


It all starts at yes.. so I said yes!

So I just finished my GCSEs and with an extended summer holiday, I decided to take part in NCS aka National Citizen Service. I chose the 4 week programme purely because I had loads of time. I'll write a NCS Expereince series which will give you an insight into my experience and what I have been doing with my very very long summer.

The first week there are many opportunities to get to know your group through team building exercises and other activities which will make you more comfortable with one another and make some thrilling memories.

The build-up 
I was excited yet nervous for the first week. Packing and preparing going into a new situation was scary. With the lack of information I had received regarding this week away at Kingswood I was instantly bombarded with a billion 'what if' questions.

Thankfully my nerves vanished when I found out I was in the same group as some of my friends. We were all very eager to meet our group, make new friends and create some fun memories. My group consisted of 6 girls and 6 guys as well as 2 team leaders who are all very friendly.

Ice-breaking can be uncomfortable but persevere 
The first activity all teams have to do is the 'Ice-breaker' but realistically it did not break any 'ice' for my team. It was more uncomfortable than an ice breaker. If I could describe my group with one word it would be awkward. Unknowingly, the whole group sectioned into their smaller comfortable groups which mainly consisted of people they had already known. We realised that we needed to mingle and chat to each other to truly become a team.

We were big kids playing with little kids toys. My group's true ice-breaker was playing laser tag, it required toy guns and shooting other people-what could be more fun? We decided to pair up with people who we haven't worked with and naturally whilst playing laser-tag it required us to talk and break the ice little by little.

Activities and more activities 
Everybody's daily timetable was crammed with different activities- admittedly, some more enjoyable than others. My day started at 7:00AM and finished at 11PM. No, we didn't watch movies and no, we stay up all night talking which I had naively imagined because as soon as we crashed onto our beds we were instantly in dreamland.

Some of the more memorable activities which we did over the week was 3G Swing. Basically, it's a giant swing that holds 2 people and is the creator of massive wedgies. If you decide to go on this, you must go up to the highest point; you may be nervous going up but you will feel so proud afterwards.

Another activity which was surprisingly enjoyable is Raft Building. At first I was skeptical about this activity because let's be honest, how much fun could one have with a couple of barrels and a few pieces of string but I soon learnt that it was a great team work activity.

Reflection Sessions AKA 'Group Therapy Sessions'
Within our group we all had one aim: mingle! After a long day of activities we had a session  to reflect on the day that we just had. Learning what we're proud of and what aims we hope to achieve for the next day. We soon became accustomed to these so-called 'Group Therapy Sessions' but it really isn't as bad as it sound since we all joke about having them.

After these 'Group Therapy Sessions' we would mingle in the dining room, slurping on powdery hot chocolate and try to get more comfortable with one another. It seems we loosen up by having fun so we decided to play truth or dare- a bit cliche but so what. This game allowed us to learn more about individuals as well as having a laugh because inevitably one would choose a dare.

The Soppy part
As we neared the end of the 5 day residential trip at Kingswood, you can truly see we were a changed group. We've learned to communicate, listen and trust each other. This was evident when there were activities that needed teamwork, we did everything efficiently and took in ideas proposed by individuals. After this eventful week, I can say we have each other's back and that we will make a great team for our social action plan of this programme.

If you want to find out more about NCS click here
Have you taken part in NCS or would you like to do it in the future?