DN had an amazing time and would highly recommend it.
DD's experience was shockingly bad - arrangements (dates) changed twice, the accommodation was changed without notice from an adventure centre to camping (which meant some students had to withdraw) and the promised 2 weeks' residential for the community project planning turned into one week visiting a local arts centre daily - not only in our town but where she already worked as a volunteer!
DN and DD only live 4 miles apart but in different counties so had different organisations as the provider. DD's was genuinely terrible - never answered emails or phone calls, and we ended up dealing with their regional office over 200 miles away, who had no idea what was going on at a local level. All of DD's friends withdrew - two because the rearranged dates didn't suit them, and 1 because her parents basically lost confidence in the organisation's ability to run a week's adventure activities.
My DD did it last year and hated it but I do think it depends on location and leaders.
She was led to believe, from the adverts/meetings that it was very sporty, white water rafting, kayaking etc. They did nothing like that, just a run down ex PGL site.
Food was scarce and they were all 'starving'. Their leader was very very strict, DD felt like she was in the army 😂.
However friends of hers did it in other places and loved it so it's pot luck.
Keepserving, funny you should say that as DD got that impression too. Thinks it was set up to keep troubled kids off the streets during the long summer hols of year 11 but they aren't the ones attending generally.
My now 19 year old did it and it was an amazing experience for him and without sounding like a cliche, it really was the making of him and it was probably partly ncs that gave him the confidence to go to uni.
My son did this last year and loved it. He made a lot of new friends from different backgrounds, and they still meet up regularly. It was a bit chaotic and not particularly well organised though. I still thought it was well worth doing, particularly the week where they had to live independently (in university accommodation.)
The NCS has been promoted through my dd's school. Have any if your kids attended? My daughter has obviously handed over my email address and they are sending three a day to tell me how wonderful it is and that are quite pushy that she signs up. Here's their site http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/