It was that time of year again. The days were getting colder, the decorations were up and we were writing our wish lists to Santa – Christmas was coming! What’s more, the Northern Ireland NCS Autumn Graduation rolled around once again!
140 enthusiastic NCS Grads from all over Northern Ireland came bustling through the front doors of Crumlin Road Gaol, ready to take the next step in their NCS journey and explore what happens after graduation!
After a lengthy bus ride, everyone was treated to some tasty appetisers on arrival. Once everyone settled in, each NCS team presented a creativity board highlighting their social action project to the Minister for Communities, Paul Givan MLA. The Department for Communities funds NCS in Northern Ireland, so impressing the Minister was essential!
The excitement continued with the ceremony upstairs, where Minister Givan expressed his personal gratitude for the programme and said, "Get active, get involved and shape your society the way you want it to be."
Following these inspirational words, a video that captures all the highlights of their NCS experience was projected to the crowd for each NCS team. Judging by the films, these grads experienced nothing but fun, adventure and new opportunities. It's moments like this where I need to pinch myself because I can't believe how much of an impact NCS can have on young people's lives.
After the grads received their certificates, it was on to the party! The new NCSers were treated to a disco with a DJ, drinks bar and selfie mirror. I did manage to pull away a few grads from their (interesting) dance moves to talk to them about their NCS experience.
Shéa from Newry said, "NCS genuinely did change my life. It made me a better person!"
Even Santa Claus made an appearance. NCS grads were gifted with sweets and party essential glow bands. What a fantastic night!
Lauren McBrien, NI NCS Regional Youth Board