One month ago I finished my volunteering as a Senior Associate Mentor on Wave 10 Richmond, all because two years ago my cousin did NCS as a shy teenager and came out as very sociable and confident, saying he had the best time ever.
I began my NCS experience last year on Wave 11 Hounslow, confident, talkative and ready to give nearly everything a go but nervous as I wasn’t sure what to expect.
On the very first day I turned up with my suitcase full with too many clothes inside and spotted lots of friendly faces. I found out I was in Sabesan, the photography group which I was excited about. But first things first I had Week One to accomplish, it was four days filled with sports, games and team building activities. After the first full day I became the Team Director for the following day along with my friend Paul. As I am quite bossy I loved this role because I could be in control but still encouraging the whole team and I must have done a great job because I was then picked by my fellow team Sabesans to be Team Director for Week Two and Week Three. At the end of the week I realised that I am very good at starting a fire but I cannot sail to save my life.
The next week was where all the teams learnt their skill, mine being photography, and began planning campaigns for a charity, whilst staying on a university campus. This week was probably my favourite because everyone knew everyone else quite well by that point and there was a lot of laughing, even when cooking pizza for too long in the oven.
The final week was hard work but rewarding! Our campaign was trying to spread happiness in the community, Smile with Strangers. It definitely worked because we put many smiles on faces.
The best part about the whole experience was that I developed and improved on skills, and making friends from a range of different places in London, who I still continue to spend time with and have done so recently.
One of the senior mentors, called Manny, had a chat with me on one of the last days talking about the graduate opportunities and said I could be a good Senior Mentor one day and the next step for that is being an Associate Mentor. Therefore I went on the training course, followed by a senior associate mentor training course and next thing I knew I was volunteering. This part of the experience reminded me of when I was a young person, so it was a lot of fun.
If you have the chance to do something out of your comfort zone then do it, because it will be worthwhile just like NCS The Challenge was for me.