Sidenote: I am currently on half term, but I am on NCS which is demanding most of my time and has reduced the amount of time I’ve had to write my blog posts. However, I shall explain all below, and there are more posts on the way.
OK, so before I start, I feel as though I should explain a little about NCS. NCS stands for the National Citizen’s Service, and gives 16-17 year olds in the UK the opportunity to go on a residential activity course before working together in a team to create an event to benefit the local community. After seeing it promoted by a variety of British vloggers on the video site YouTube, I decided to have a look and get involved. So here’s what I got up to for the first part of my NCS journey.
After doing packing the night before, I woke up to do the normal routine of breakfast and Candy Crush (of which, after re-downloading, has – as predicted – taken up most of my social life) before picked up my friend Jasmin (she’s got a blog too – jasminwbu.wordpress.com, check it out. It’s good!) and her friend Steven, both of whom were going on NCS too, to our designated pick-up area. Our suitcases were placed in the coach in the best place possible (it was rather cramped in fact, after apparently 200 people across the region were going). Not all on the same coach of course, but you know what I mean. Suitcases are huge . I then had a quick read of a book as the last few people arrived (the book of which conveniently arrived in the post the same morning). Bag and other objects in the seat on my left, ad notepad on my lap, I wrote and chatted to my friends on the 3 hour journey, occasionally looking at the view so as to prevent possible travel sickness.
Well, it was roughly a three-hour journey there when it came to us arriving at Kingswood Activity Centre in Norfolk, of which, upon arriving, we sorted our luggage before being introduced to our team and leaders in our first “team time” session. In this session, where I found out I was in Jade Team and we created our team rules, we also had a game/icebreaker to help memorise each other’s names…
Then it wasn’t long before we were told about our dorms, and with the incentive of first come, first served, people dashed to nab rooms they wanted, with one dorm in the whole building having an electrical socket (the rest were in the hallway). After that was sorted, it wasn’t long before we went to our first activity – a pool party.
At first it was a simple swim-about, but soon lead to an intense water polo match which lasted for a while before the activity ended. Then, after that, the next activity was caving, which initially had a worrying reputation assigned to it on arrival, with rumours that people who went caving entered claustrophobic spaces, with waist-high water and extremely muddy conditions. However, I “faced my fears” (something which NCS actively encourages) and took on the activity.
Despite being 6 foot tall, I was almost able to stand up. Whilst in the cave, we played hide and seek in the dark (of which I was one of the few seekers, and waited to be found until I later realised the game had been abandoned – awkward) and told ghost stories before venturing back out into the outside world.
Another thing I established was how much free time we had in the evening. To my joy, this gave me a lot of time to write my book ideas down and sit reading my book in the hallway whilst my phone charged.
Onwards, onto day two. This saw me do much more activities as we had a whole day. “Indoor Initiative” saw us be presented with tasks which we had to solve in groups, which was always good for someone who likes logic and challenges/puzzles. Next up, abseiling and rock climbing, which, after doing before, seemed simple enough, but on the rock climbing, the problem of blindfolds were introduced to highlight the importance of communication (very clever). With help from my peers, I reached the top – yes! As well as that, by far one of the most funniest activities of the day was that of the team races. These usually consisted of a relay, but with a weird task to do as the basis. For example, one of them was running to the end of the hall thinking they’ve won the lottery, and walk back crying their heart out when they find out they’ve lost the ticket, for example.
That concludes day two, onto day three. This, after finding out what activities we were doing, became very exciting. After quad-biking and fencing being two things I wanted to tick-off my bucket list, I was excited to find out that I was doing that on the day. The quad biking was good, and similar to that of go-karting, except the change in terrain. Regarding fencing, it was much more fun and required stamina and concentration. Both were great. Alongside that, we did Bushcraft (however, as this was on Monday this week, and since that was the day of the supposed “storm”, we couldn’t do many things outside), which involved creating tent pegs and other helpful survival tips. In terms of teamwork, our Team Time saw us all work on our Team Banner, and since there was a dance-off later on in the evening, we prepared for that at every opportunity (my role being the “DJ”, and playing the songs for the others to dance to). In the end, we never found out who won, but there was a sense of pride in all of us, and we knew we did well. Lastly, was a disco, which was fun as I felt involved. At points where I became bored, I would read or talk to friends, both being good. It was a good day.
And finally, the last day: day four. This was far more laid-back, with activities such as a variation of hide and seek, football and ultimate frisbee all being on the list for the day’s activities, it was deemed as a more relaxing end to our residential. Near the end, we had our last lunch (oh, and talking of which, the food at the activity centre was amazing) before going on our coaches back home, and so that concludes part one of NCS, bring on part two – which will be up tomorrow.