Week 2- NCS independent living...

What would happen if you put 16 and 17 year olds, who have only known each other for a week, in university accommodation, letting them experience independent living? Well that's what this week has been about!
Halfway through my NCS program... 2 weeks in and it couldn't have been more of an adventure. In all honesty I really didn't know what to expect from this week- apart from not being told much (which made packing a suitcase fun) it was going to great fun, having the chance to spend more time with new friends and getting to know them all a bit more. It's safe to say this week could not have been predicted....
On Monday it was so lovely to meet up with everyone again, and this time actually knowing who people were, picking up from when we said bye the previous Friday (oh and texting you all over the weekend...). As you can imagine we all had to get allocated to rooms and settle in, each team having 2 flats, one for girls and one for boys. However getting stuck in the lift is not the most reassuring start, especially when you realise you have not been put in a wheelchair accessible room (I did get one in the end). I was just glad the bed was a huge improvement from the week before!!!  With adapted rooms being bigger it also make a great space for a girly gathering, to catch up on the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars together or sorting out someone's birthday cards. :)
Next I will move on to the topic that is probably one of the main factors of independent living- food. After having a talk on budgeting, making a plan of what we would need for the week, coming up with meals we all liked, we hit the shops- making food shopping with your parents look ridiculously easy. In the end some of us put are money together and all bought food, while others chose to fend for themselves. After quite a long trip it was actually really nice to have worked as a team and successfully planned and bought food for the rest of the weeks. Also it's handy to have someone in a wheelchair as I turned into a human trolley with bags piled high- talk about trust, I couldn't see where I was going on the way back!
Over the course of the week a lot of group activities were done, all allowing us to develop the important art of team building. If anyone was to ask us to get from one 'island' to another using various things (tires, planks, spots...) or even carrying water across, we have it well and truly covered, it wouldn't matter whether it was shark infested custard (don't ask!) or lava- we have done it so many times over the last 10 days. Also getting told you should have a career in management by numerous people who have only just met you and led the activities.... am I really that bossy??? No, no, just organised with good leadership skills AND a bit bossy, maybe...
Furthermore I believe it was also a chance for me to teach people about what its like to be in a wheelchair part time. Whether that's how hard it actually is to open doors, push yourself on grass, how you feel every bump on the pavement or just little things in general. Something which quite a few of them found surprising was that disabled access into buildings is more often then not the longest way round possible, through back entrances, up ramps, just to avoid a flight of stairs- I guess I just take that as a given... Saying that, I'm not impressed that my team got disqualified from a sports day event because I didn't speed walk, or kick a football (yes we wanted to win!). As always the team have been there supporting me, even if that includes falling and smashing my favourite mug in the process! (not going to lie, I was more upset about the mug...)
Other activities which we did was karaoke, a chance to embarrass yourself and have a laugh, separating the good singers and the drowning cats among us. Also we went into the local community and made a video about what was there, looking at what could be improved, learning that our team leaders favourite words are "educational institution" because why not! This linked in with some local charities coming in to talk to us about the work that they do within the local community and why we should choose them to support for our social action plan in the 3rd and 4th week. I believe that this is going to be a great chance to raise money for charity, we have already started planning this, but I will leave that till next weeks blog post :)

Team 6, you are all amazing. Yet again I have had a hilarious, action packed week full of memories. So what if we came last at the cooking challenge, as always we had a laugh, had fun and smashed it in our own way. Can't wait to see how much money we can raise and the impact we can have, see you guys on Monday!

~Chloe x

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