NCS Graduate Takes Part In Centenary of Passchendaele

Emily Coulters a graduate from our 2016 NCS summer programme gave her account of taking part in the scheme and how the experience led her to visit Ypres, Belgium.

Emily documents her journey below:

“I started the NCS process a very nervous and anxious 16 year old. I had chosen to go on a Wave without any of my close friends,  a decision that had seemed daring and exciting but was becoming more and more terrifying as the day approached. I didn’t know it at the time, but my decision was going to take me further than I could imagine”.

“The Wave process itself was incredible, the group bonded immediately and after doing High Ropes, Abseiling, Mountain Biking and more, then living together for a week, before fundraising for a local foodbank, we all felt like one big family. I didn’t want the NCS Wave to end, so at Graduation when presented with the opportunity to apply to be further involved in the future I was delighted”. 

“That’s something that has stuck with me, the opportunities presented to Young People by NCS allowed me to continue being involved in the life-changing experience for as long as I wanted. After being selected to be a ‘Tier 1’ NCS Graduate, I was able to attend Regional Youth Board Meetings in Leeds and Local Board Meeting in Huddersfield, relaying ideas and suggestions. This experience was probably one of my most enjoyable, as to be given the responsibility as a Young Person to make decisions and communicate local ideas to a Regional level made me very proud.

All in all, I can say that been a nervous but somewhat reckless 16-year-old was the best decision that I ever made. Without NCS I would be a different person, it allowed me to see beyond the horizon of my local area and meet some amazing people, be involved in a landmark event and alter my values, skills and personality.

It was being a Tier 1 Graduate that gave me the opportunity to apply to go to Belgium for the 3rd Battle of Ypres Centenary, another experience that truly changed my perspective”.

Emily was chosen to visit Ypres, Belgium with 99 other NCS representatives to attend and volunteer at the commemorative events taking place there that marked the 100 anniversary of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, known as the Battle of Passchendaele.

The NCS representatives completed a number of duties, including escorting the descendants of the soldiers who fought and died at Passchendaele, conversing with and guiding members of the Military, Navy and Ambassadors of visiting countries, and carrying the wreaths that were donated by involved countries during ceremonies.

They were all trained in skills such as appearing on television, being interviewed by the media and escorting VIPs such as royals.

Speaking of her trip to Ypres Emily commented, “Personally I can say that Passchendaele 100% changed my life. The experience of being involved in such an important and high-profile event was amazing, not only for the flashy TV and VIP side of things, but to meet so many brilliant other NCS young people, working in teams day and night, surpassing the expectations of the professionals running the events and coming away from it all with the once in a lifetime memories cannot meet anything else I have ever done. I will never forget my NCS experience in Ypres and I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to be involved”.

For further information on our NCS programme and how to get involved please call 01484 484 180