Holidays for stroppy teenagers

Got a teenager aged 16 and 17 who doesn’t want to go away with you this year? I’m not there quite yet, but when I am I’ll be sending them off on their own holiday with the National Citizen Service – a government initiative.

Now I have to come clean here. It’s not exactly new. It’s been running for four years. But I hadn’t heard of it and I figure that if I haven’t there will be others who haven’t. And if you do already know ?…Bear with!

For just £50 teenagers can do a two or three week programme – that price includes all food, travel and accommodation (in England and Northern Ireland) – a bargain, eh?

This sounds to me like the perfect preparation for kids gearing up for uni or just for getting out into the big, scary, wide world. And it beats sitting round gaming and watching reruns of the Simpsons in those endless weeks they have off after GCSEs and A levels.

The holiday is done in stages. It starts with a few days at an activity centre, doing rock climbing, canoeing, orienteering, archery and the like.

Then they spend the next four days in university style accommodation (where they have to cook for each other), going out each day to meet local businesses and learn useful skills. This can be as diverse as learning about money management with Barclays or first aid skills with St John Ambulance or seeing what goes into producing a news bulletin with the Sky Skills Academy. So both practical and thought provoking stuff.

The third stage is where they have to come up with a local community project, raise funds for it, then do it.

Yes, it may all take them out of their comfort zone, but methinks in a good way. And it will certainly look great on their CV.

* More info from or call the NCS Helpline on 0203 476 4400.


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