Nick Montgomery and Richard Cresswell praised a group of young people for their commitment in being involved with the National Citizen Service (NCS) Programme being run at Sheffield United this summer.
The NCS is a flagship policy at the heart of the Coalition Government's vision for building a big society. NCS brings together 16 year olds from different backgrounds in a summer holiday programme of challenge, service and learning, enabling them to develop the confidence, skills and attitudes they need to become more engaged with their communities and become active and responsible citizens.
The Blades players met the group as they were planning for the next stage of the programme which will be running social action projects in the local community. The boys and girls making up the group of 30 have come from schools across the city of Sheffield and have already completed two weeks of residential experience taking part in a wide range of activities. The programme appeals to young people as it embraces friendship, fun, adventure, challenge, new experiences, developing new skills, being able to shape your future, feeling good about yourself, helping yourself and helping others.
Montgomery and Cresswell quizzed the youngsters on their experiences finding out what they had done, what they had most enjoyed and how they had got on together.
The students spoke about the residential weeks PGL Caythorpe, near Grantham, and Hatfield Water Park, near Doncaster. Activities have included climbing, kayaking, high rope walking and they have tried out aeroball. The favourite one appears to have been the team activity of raft building. They went on to explain that next week they will be in two groups with one helping a local play scheme at Gleadless and the other at Heeley City Farm.
The group was then given the opportunity to question the players. A little shy to start with the students found out who were the best players the pair had played with and against, which teams they had supported when they were kids and which grounds they had most enjoyed playing at.
When asked "What has it taken to get to be where you and are and what advice would you give anyone starting out?" Cresswell replied "You can have talent but you only make it by working hard. It doesn't matter what it is just make sure you put in the work. You being involved with this programme is a good start."
Education Officer Chris Bailey, who has worked with the group this week said: "The group have been great this and they really enjoyed the players visiting them. It made their day. They have been really enthusiastic and I have enjoyed working with them."
Dan Bennett, NCS Coordinator for the Blades programme, commented: "The programme has been a life changing experience for those involved. It has taken them out of their comfort zones and they have really embraced the challenges they have been given. We have been amazed at how well the young people have got on given that they have come from different schools and backgrounds and this has been commented on by the external staff with whom they have worked. We are looking forward to them working on the Social Action Projects next week and going to the national graduation event."