29 September 2015
I’m an Administrator at YG and I’ve never helped with a programme before. The senior management team asked me to become an assistant for the National Citizen Service programme for 16 and 17 year olds and I was so nervous to start with but it was a great opportunity to have another challenge.
On the first day, I met the team and they were so friendly and ready for the programme. The first week is a residential up near Bakewell in The Peak District and we do outdoor pursuits, such as orienteering, abseiling and mountain biking. I got stuck in immediately.
I had an amazing time with my team and got to know each of them throughout the week. The most memorable thing was my time at the abseiling centre. Most of the team were excited to abseil down a bridge, but a couple of them were scared of heights and so I coached them through the process and they actually completed it. It was amazing to watch! I abseiled as well - 4 times, with the help from the young people!
We decided to name the team in the first week 'G-Squad' after Greg, our programme leader, although they sometimes called it 'C-Squad' after me. The whole cohort used different names for me, including Little Greg!
The second week was another residential in Parkend in the Forest of Dean. Again, we did team activities, planning for social action projects, presentations from charities etc. I talked about my story (I have had two strokes – in previous blogs I have shared some of my journey) during the presentations and all of the young people were so engaged and asked lots of questions.
The final 2 weeks were all about a social action project, and we decided to fund raise for The Phoenix Centre in Cheltenham, a fully accessible activities centre for people with learning and physical disabilities. We did a sponsored walk using a fancy dress theme, went to help out at The Phoenix Centre and renovated a garden in one of the residential homes. It was so rewarding and the young people did so well.
I had many challenges throughout the 4 weeks but I faced it with enthusiasm and determination and I succeeded in every challenge and my confidence has grown immeasurably. I’ve had so much support from the young people and staff and are so proud of my team, they are amazing and I will remember my first team, the best team, G-Squad (or C-Squad!)!!