Why you should “Say ‘No’ to NCS”

I have today and tomorrow to completely teach myself how to write a french essay for an exam but of course, I’m procrastinating. I thought this would be a good post as all I ever see are “Oh my god! NCS was the best time of my life, I want to do it every year” comments or people saying that it’s lame. No to the first, yes to the second.  Let me shed some light on last August.

Are you 15 to 17 years-old? Don’t miss your chance to do NCS!
You’ll live away from home, develop skills to boost your CV, and meet amazing people you’ll never forget.
What are you waiting for?


What made me think about writing this was that I was listening to music on Spotify and was promptly bombarded with one of those “Change your summer” NCS adverts. You’ve probably heard them, every year Spotify adverts are taken over with “SAY YES TO NCS” slogans and videos of teenagers having the time of their lives. Let’s just say I wish I had said “NO” to NCS (disclaimer it wasn’t all bad and to be totally honest with you it is a great thing to have on your CV and you do meet new people, which is always fun)

It was around April that my mum’s friend told her about her daughter’s brilliant experience last year and how amazing it was, she said that her daughter found the food amazing and the sites and instructors were fab. So my mum being my mum she bombarded me with “ I’m only going to say this once, but NCS will be so great for you. Everyone’s on holiday so you would only be moping around the house” ten thousand times to the point that I agreed to go just to shut her up.

The assembly dedicated to at school was ironically the day that I went and did some work on the yearbook (all of which was completely replaced when it actually got sent off and given out so there was absolutely no point in having a yearbook team anyway) so I missed it. Having got to my lesson I heard loads of people talking about it and I was like ‘Thank god! Other people are doing it, I won’t be the only one from our school.’ I have to say I kind of looked forward to August, the 4 weeks that I had been set to do it. When the July group came back saying it was the best time of their lives I thought it was going to be okay. Boy was I wrong.

Week ONE- Team Bonding and Activities (SIBLYBACK)

  • It rained the WHOLE week
  • The food was actually better though because we cooked it
  • Our team had to be swapped with another because one girl from their group had to be close to a hospital and apparently Siblyback wasn’t (Liskeard hospital obviously doesn’t exist to NCS); one boy essentially LIVED at Siblyback as his house was so close
  • Being team 9, we were the last to eat, the girl who recommended it to my mum must not have tasted the burnt scrambled egg or the watery bolognese
  • Our tents were all pitched at the bottom of a hill so we were flooded
  • Someone (I have my suspicions) decided that it was a good idea to keep their shoes on in the bed area and trod foul-smelling ‘mud’ as this person described it, on my pillow

And that was the best week… at least there was activities and our group mainly got on. Things changed throughout the weeks.

Week TWO- (SUPPOSEDLY) Life skills and project planning

  • They did a half hour, half-hearted, very hard to understand, talk about taxes… in the rain… no one got it… it was pointless
  • The newly formed group was  already forming cliques and some didn’t like the fact they weren’t in it, supposedly it was ‘exclusive’ group (it wasn’t, it was just that we actually got on, we still all talked to everyone else too)
  • We basically did nothing the whole week
  • Our adult team leader ditched us because he couldn’t be bothered to drive down to Liskeard every day for the next two weeks (fair enough, I get it, but he tried to make us all drive up to St.Austell for him for the next two weeks)
  • We were made to spend two days at BF adventures, but not adventuring, no we had to clear trees. One girl in our group had to go to hospital because she got trapped or cut by a tree (not quite sure, just know she got out of clearing trees and putting up the skeleton of a house with nothing but blunt saws, one hammer between 12 of us)
  • We saw the HUTS that the BF adventure people had the week before, while we’d been stuck with leaky tents
  • The final night, everyone was supposed to dress up and most of us wore our prom dresses and suits and there was meant to be a party after… we sat through a tedious two hours of every group going up to the front and having to sing their team song (I amazingly lost my voice at the beginning and had to mouth the words… what a shame) and evaluate their time there. THERE WAS NO PARTY. The room we were supposed to use was being used, and apparently, in the WHOLE UNIVERSITY, there was no other room we could go to. What a waste of time and makeup. Oh and also, we’d been told to dress smart but the junior team leader who was a very awkward, precocious and egotistical 17-year-old decided it was a great idea to wear a dinosaur onsie… what? Just what… Look.


Team 9 featuring a very underdressed Dinosaur



  • Literally no one did anything, we were made to call a few people to ask for free supplies to help make Liskeard more aesthetically pleasing but most said no (shock horror)
  • It was mind numbingly boring

Week 4 (much like week 3 but we actually had to have done a project by the end)

  • Again, no one really did much
  • We cobbled together a failed cake sale (though it did actually turn into nice weather and we got to eat a lot of cake)


October (“GRADUATION”)

  • We were made to sit through a four-hour ceremony with every single group in the area from the year’s projects, each going up one by one, to just walk up to the front to collect an alleged award that ended up being a piece of paper saying “collect your award from the front desk” Oh and by the way, we were pretty much last… again.

Don’t get me wrong, I did have an experience and not all of it was bad. There were obviously some good points, and just so you know… NCS did “change [my] summer” but not entirely in a positive way. If you do decide to do NCS be aware that the management is poor, the activities in the last 3 weeks are boring and as with anything with other people, the group will have fallouts, the food was horrific and if your unlucky like us, it will rain the whole time.

Not everyone’s experience was like ours, some people truly did enjoy it and found it great, you do meet new people which is fun and some people I do still keep up with. Just go with an open mind, it may not be as fun as you think it will be or it may be better, and if you can get some of your friends to do it with you (you have to apply to be together or it’s likely you’ll be spit up) then it does help.

This is such a condensed version of August, there were so many other things that happened but if I put them to paper it would end up being a 5,000 word essay and no one wants to read that!


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