YOUNG people have been on an adventure of a lifetime to help them develop as tomorrow’s citizens.
Over the past four weeks they have taken part in a mountain walk in Scotland, met new people and developed closer links with the community they live in.
The teenagers all signed up to the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme, which is fast becoming a rite of passage into society for 16 and 17-year-olds. And now, following their experiences, they are urging other young people in Bolton not to miss out on the scheme.
Naila Sethi, aged 16, who attends Essa Academy, said: “I am sad it has come to an end. I have met new people and taken part in new challenges.”
In 2011, Bolton Lads and Girls Club was chosen to run one of twelve NCS pilots across England to help young people develop skills for work and life.
Participants spend two weeks away from home taking part in outdoor team-based challenges before returning home to work on community projects.
Since then 839 have “graduated” from the programme, with another 360 set to complete it by the end of the summer. The most recent team to graduate spent a week at the Scottish outdoor centre in Perthshire before staying in halls of residence at the University of Bolton and giving their support to the Wipe Your Tears children's charity.
Jess Wilby, aged 16, who attends St James’ CE High School in Farnworth, said: “It was my mum who said I should go on the scheme because it will look good on my CV and be a good opportunity for me.
Danielle Collins, aged 16, who lives in Astley Bridge and attends Thornleigh Salesian College, said: “I would say to young people who haven’t done this, just do it.”
Ryan Stringfellow, aged 15, from Breightmet and a Canon Slade School pupil, said: “I feel more confident and am much more sociable when I meet new people.”
Peter Shimwell, the club’s youth policy and performance manager, said: “Through the scheme they feel part of the community, and have a greater understanding of their role in society.”