Almost 100 youngsters, parents and friends gathered in the Olympic Suite at the Matchroom Stadium for the National Citizen Service (NCS) presentation evening with O’s captain Nathan Clarke handing out the awards.
The NCS is a government endorsed scheme delivered by the Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme that aids the personal development of youngsters aged 16 and 17 that is designed to equip them with key social and personal skills to prepare them for the challenge of adult life.
The evening was the culmination of the course for those involved after the youngsters went on residential trips over the summer and then carried out their own social action projects in the past few weeks.
Clarke has been an excellent ambassador for the scheme having regularly popped in to follow the progress of the youngsters and gave a speech to those present before handing out medals and certificates signed by the Prime Minister to all those that took part.
“It’s a real privilege to be involved with the NCS and see the good work that goes into it by everyone from the boys and girls on the scheme to the organisers. Everyone should be really proud of themselves for everything they’ve accomplished over the last few months. People have given their all and really pushed themselves, I think it’s a great scheme that has made friendships and given people skills for life,” said Clarke.
The evening kicked off with a video demonstrating the activities at the residential camps that ranged from cycling and water sports to dancing before the course leaders and participants spoke about the social action projects that they designed and delivered.
These projects ranged from organising charity car washes and celebrity football matches to packing bags for the elderly and delivering sports programmes in the community.
The togetherness of the group became apparent when each name that was read out to collect their certificates was greeted with cheers and laughter and many stated their intention to stay involved with the scheme and recommended it to others.
“The way they have gelled has been unbelievable. They’ve only known each other a short time but it feels like they’ve known each other all their life,” said Andre Selner one of the course leaders.
NCS participant Buddy Green was one of four selected to receive a special award for their efforts throughout programme. “It was brilliant”, he said, “and I’ve not only made new friends but feel a lot more confident about my further studies and also looking for work. I’ve already put my name down to be a volunteer for next summer’s NCS as I’d love to be involved again.”