Nelly-Shella Yonga: My take on the NCS – freezy but fun


25 Nov 2014

Nelly-Shella Yonga is from Cameroon and is on a commonwealth fellowship visiting the National Youth Agency.

Leadership inspires transformation. Drawing inspiration from the words of President Nelson Mandela, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”.  Some times we just need that extra push to enable us reveal the power which lies within us.

Amazing opportunities only come once in a life time and missing out on them might be the dumbest thing to do. That said, I think I might be the dumbest person at this time of the year.  Freezing, cold, got to sleep became priority words on my list as I struggled to cope with the never ending fluctuation in weather condition and temperature dropping down to 11 degrees. The National Citizenship Service (NCS) being a government program has as vision to build the skills of young people for work and life.   It provides an incredible opportunity for young people aged 15-17 to have a smooth transition into adulthood as they build their resilience to life challenges, build new relationships, acquire new skills and engage in social action.

So Monday 27 October we set off for the adventure (five exciting days at Omingsen Ray at Weymouth with incredible landscapes and a great view of the sea) with the Elevation Network, a service delivery provider of the NCS that seeks to develop the leadership potential of young people to increase their employability. Elevations Network is one out of many youth organisation who serve as key service delivery providers for the NCS program.

Participating in the NCS was an incredible opportunity to learn and understand how youth work is delivered in England and see practical examples of how it influences change and encourages young people to commit and participate in social action.

During the NCS it was great to see how young people are engaged to effectively experience the 6 principles of the programme (social mixing, inspiration, challenge, social action, reflection, increase responsibility and independence).  Activities carried out included the trapeze, jacobs’s ladder, giant wing, survivor, archery, abseiling, dragon boating, young apprentice and problem solving.

What I found particularly interesting was the diversity among participants (cultural mix) and the level of tolerance and acceptance that lived during the residential. Increasingly, there is a general call for peace and conflict resolution around the world but focus is directed to confrontation, and engaging arm forces.  I believe getting people to understand the importance of tolerance, empathy, acceptance and co-habiting in harmony, might just be the right thing to do but its seemingly the hardest to do.  In my opinion, I believe this group of young people is a clear picture of that world of peace we envisage.

To get the best out of young people, platforms like this are very crucial.  While external forces might challenge participation, the resilience and commitment  defined by our passions give us the drive to go on regardless.