It’s tough, you know… this teenager parenting malarkey.  It can often be like living with Jekyll and Hyde.  Although, I should hope with more moral character.  The general gist is, though, that it’s often a very fine balancing act to keep on the straight and narrow… one slip and everything can kick off.

Take Garreth, for instance, some days (actually most days) I’m hard pushed to get him out of his bedroom.  I mean, I don’t really blame him being the oldest of five.  He doesn’t have a lot in common with his siblings except for the fact that they are family. 

I’ve tried so hard to get him involved in activities outside the house but he just isn’t interested.  Scouts blew up in our face after he had a bit of confrontation with an older boy there.  Most of his school friends live 15 miles away (that’s the price you pay for Welsh Medium education when living on the Welsh/English border, I guess). 

I’m just worried it’s going to continue into his later teens and with such a volatile social situation that looks to be getting worse, I have been stuck for ideas.

Recently, I discovered National Citizen Service (NCS), and I’m particularly gutted that I’m too old for the experience of a lifetime. 

NCS is a government backed programme that was established in 2011 aiming to build a more ‘cohesive, mobile and engaged society’.  It encourages individuals from different backgrounds who otherwise would not meet to share a unique experience and provides the opportunity for young people to become better individuals and, in turn, better citizens.

(This is where I don’t stand a chance.) NCS is open to 16 and 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland.  It is a 2-4 week programme during the school holidays that includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential to learn life skills and community based social action.  But don’t forget the end of programme celebration.

Essentially, the programme gets the teens out of their comfort zone, hands them more responsibility and enables them to connect with their local community.

It is incredibly successful with almost 400,000 16 and 17 year olds having taking part since it’s conception; 7,000,000 hours of community action and for every £1 spend, NCS’ summer programme (2016) delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society. 

This year NCS is already looking forward to welcoming more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds to the programme.  It must be such an exciting thing to be a part of!

There are, however, still places available for Year 11’s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer.  The programme costs just £50 and there is financial assistance available if required.  I only wish Garreth was a Year 11 student.  I definitely think it will be something I send him on when he is in Year 11.  I feel he would benefit so much from it. 

You can sign your 16 or 17 old up right now by visiting the NCS website

Not sure you’ll be able to fit it in with your summer plans? 

Rest assured it’s still worth registering your interest; NCS will do their absolute best to get your teen on a programme at a time that suits your plans.

This is a collaborative post.