For those of you that don't know what NCS is, NCS is what I would consider volunteering but it doesn't feel like it. It’s more of a fun thing to do, almost like an adventure. I first learnt about NCS through a friend who had done it before me, but I didn't really pay much attention to it. After a couple months I had a PDP session at college which is essentially a little Assembly and NCS had a little presentation on there. They talked all about what happens, the experiences we would have if we signed up and also some statistics, stuff that most don't usually care about.
The two things that really stood out to me where it looks good on your CV and UCAS form and the big seller for me was the confidence boost. I'll admit, I was a little susceptible at first but I thought why not go for it and see what happens?
|Meet three of our leaders!|
Cutting a long story short I got an email telling me where and when I had to go for NCS. I went there with my friend Ieva and at first we assumed we'd be on the same team. When we got there we found out that Ieva had turn up to the wrong meet up. Turns out she was on another wave, we had a good laugh about it and I teased her about it until she was taken to her meet up. So after being separated from someone I was sort of planning on clinging to because of my shear lack of confidence around new people I just followed the people I was supposed to follow. I was given a team and told to follow one of the PM's (personal mentors) and off I went to my team. I was in the media team (team Edwards). Before long I was sat in this massive sports hall in a circle with my team. I was extremely nervous, I didn't speak and I didn't even laugh at things I found funny. Everyone talked among themselves for a while our PM started these little ice breaking activities, which still didn't work all too well for me, but it did break the ice a little. I ended up making one my team mates twerk so it was a success really.
After all the activities it was time to get going up to somewhere County Durham and to this day I still don't know exactly where it was because (for me at least) it was that remote. On the journey up their I was sat next to one of my team mates Conrad and it took me a good couple hours to actually attempt conversation and even then I was sweating when I was trying to.
This all goes to show how little confidence I USED to have around people.
When we got to the place, we were shown our rooms, told all the rules, the boring less interesting stuff. We went and chose our beds, these were wooden bunk beds and if I'm to be entirely honest I wasn't looking forward to sleeping in them. In that room I met Saul, now this guy was hilarious, I can honestly say he reduced the tension in the air because he just got everyone laughing with jokes I can't really repeat on here ha ha.
After loads of different team meetings I got pretty comfortable with my group and even with other people in the wave, the confidence was starting to build. I found myself speaking up which is something I never thought I was going to do. In a social situation I was already out of my comfort zone. So at this point the group was bonded pretty well and the activities we did seemed a little petty beforehand but it was fun when we got down to it. The first one we did was the high ropes, now this was one of my massive fears... Heights. So I climbed this log that got higher and higher as I went further along, this was a good 3 meters of the ground and I was even scared of that! The next one was the leap of faith. I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to do this one because this was REALLY high up. But it decided to go for it. I sprung up and climbed up there as fast as I could, got to the top and made the worst mistake. I looked down. The fear was immense. But I thought back to what I just did a couple minutes ago, I just went for it! So I jumped and punched that ball dangling a meter away from the platform. I was so relieved! My team was cheering, I knew that it was because it’s what you’re supposed to do but even so it was a pretty good feeling.
After all the amazing experiences in County Durham it was time to head back and at this point our team had bonded REALLY well, I felt like I knew these people for years. On the way back I was sat next to Anna who was also in my team. This wasn't a repeat of the last journey, at this point I'd found my self-confidence so I was talking freely without worrying, not just with Anna but with everyone around me. I sort of became a little dominate which was a completely different ball game. I was telling everyone my stories with such enthusiasm, it was like I was a totally different person.
After we got back we was told to come back to the meet up spot and we will start the next part of the challenge. At this stage we my team had to create a promotional video for a disability centre in Stockport called Primus. Here we met some phenomenal people, from the people with disabilities to the people who care and help look after them. When we got outside we thought it would be almost like a medical centre, however when we actually went inside it was a completely different case. It was a really homey place, everyone was just relaxing, talking, playing games or just on the internet and talking to people around them. The most challenging part was filming for the video because it was hard not to feel rude, because these people where just doing their own thing and to film them just seemed like an invasion of privacy. So we asked them if they wanted to be filmed and they were so pleasant. So we did our thing, we filmed and talked to most of them there. This was an eye opening experience, something I would do all over again.
So we headed back and the only thing we spoke about on the short coach journey was the little encounters and things that we saw there. We were buzzing.
Here was the real challenge though. When we got back we had all the footage we needed, it was a big pile of interviews and loads of different shots for transitions. Now we had to put them all together and create a high standard promotional video for Primus. So for a good couple hours we went over how we wanted to come across to the audience, happy or more of a serious maybe even heart breaking theme? Then we thought back to what our experience was with them, it was a very positive and uplifting experience. So I said "why not try to give our audience the same experience that we had... happy, I mean come on, do you really think that Primus would want a heart breaking PROMOTIONAL video?" So we went for it. But this was only just the beginning. We had to come up with story boards and leaders of two different teams. Because we had to create this video and also present it to the rest of the wave, we had to have two teams that would make the video and also put a presentation together. In the video team we had me, Sian, Conrad, Haidar and Nicole and in the other team we had Anna, Alina, Khushba and Etty.
|All hard work here...|
The next task was to structure the video, so we had the idea of splitting our group into three parts. Two people would work on the first part of the video, another two on the middle and another two for the final section. I worked on the middle, but I was the director of the video team so I had to manage everyone's area. This meant that I had to edit my section with Etty who was also working with the presentation team and then help with the other two section. This became a little stressful but it meant that all three sections had the same design in terms of transitions and text. Cutting it short again we finished the video just in time and then we presented the video to our wave and it was pretty well received.
The final part of the challenge was next. We had to come up with a campaign that we would follow through and conduct in Piccadilly Gardens.
So we went back up to our room and brainstormed our ideas and we even pitched some of our ideas to the group. We had so many ideas but the one we kept on coming back to was young stereo types. So once we came up with the idea we started to formulate it, we came up with a name logo and we came up with a little activity for people to do with us on campaign day. The name was TOTS and our activity was a matching game where we got facts about successful people of today which where all about their younger life.
Cutting the long thought process short, we had to pitch our campaign to dragons so that we could get the money we needed to get these campaigns going. So again we had to come up with another presentation with all the facts that they would need to invest in the campaign. In the script we had individual roles to play, mine was to tell the dragons about how much we needed for specific items and why. At the end we got the money we needed and went off to finalize our campaign.
Moving forward a week later, it was campaign day.
Campaign day was exciting for all of us but it was the last day we would all see each other, so the mood was a little low at first but we kept to it. At first it felt like it was dragging because not that many people took interest, but after a couple hours we had so many people around our stall we was finding it hard to cope. Then at the end of the day, the leaders gave speeches and we all had a laugh, but the highlight was when some of us did the Ghost chili pepper challenge. I was offered some but I was sane enough to refuse.
I've made some amazing memories doing NCS, met some amazing people, and had amazing experiences and most of all it’s given me the confidence to go do whatever I even get tempted by. All of this just because I wanted something extra to put down on a CV or UCAS form!
It’s been the most worth wile experience of my life and I recommend this to anyone who has the opportunity to do this, you won't regret it. If I could I would do it all over again!
It all starts at a yes!