I’m not sure why, but when I awoke this morning, I was praying that it was not the final day. I’m sure that same feeling was felt across all 100 leaders, and all the crew supporting us. Although clearly its a stupid thing to wish for, after all, things only move forward; life and time working in conjunction. When I awoke, I wished it was Sunday, where I had butterflies about my upcoming travel and meeting all the new people. I wished I was just arriving at London Euston again, being a silly tourist and taking selfies with the underground sign and watching in awe at all the people rushing by, ignorant to the steampunk beauty surrounding them. I wished I was back to the moment where I just arrived at Sevenoaks, made all the wonderful friends I have, and savour each and every passing moment once again. It’s a sad reality that time only moves forwards, with it a sweep of memories and emotions, but that’s what makes us human. We travel the globe with our individual stories, touching each person with them and stealing a part of theirs. Sevenoaks has been no different, and I’ve had the privilege of having 100 different personalities blend within me.
The journey has been amazing; from my first ever time sightseeing in London and traversing the halls of Parliament to enforcing our social action plan and speaking in front of so many people. Each memory, each jigsaw piece, has fit together to create the puzzle of my heart. Each piece created by an individual personality, each piece shaped by their life. The final image of the jigsaw, my heart, is a beautiful and serene image of diversity, of unique talent and of outstanding individuals. The final image is of the NCS Leaders of 2015, a group of utterly outstanding people who shared an utterly outstanding week.
The thing to remember is that our stories have not ended, no, they are far from ending. Our stories are in full flourish, soldiers armed with sharpened tools. We are the army to pave the future, to bring rise to the next generation. We are the ones to make a change, to bring a change and to force a change. We are the ones to make the world a beautiful place for our children and theirs.
Rather than a summary blog, I am writing this in gratitude, in thanking to all those beautiful puzzle pieces that made me whole. To the team leaders and their charisma, to the fabulous trio of Martin, Joe and Monique. From the wonderfully talented photographer, Adam, to the outstanding talents of the leaders. From the creative minds and ideas of Michael Lynas to the powerhouse driving force of Stephen Greene. We’ve all made this possible together, as one, to create a family. Sure, there have been people before and there will be people after, but we are the ‘now’. We are the people of the current, of the today, of the shaping force of the future. We, as a family, count.
I have regrets in life, as I’m sure most do, but my proudest action that could have so easily been called regret would be “saying yes”. The moment I signed the interest form and submitted my payment, my life’s pavement took a different turn. It turned towards the light, towards the future. It turned to a better life that was without regrets. It turned to making a better.
NCS has been, without a doubt, the most beautiful, productive and enjoyable experience I have had the pleasure of being a part of. Hand in hand, with all 100 leaders and all 200,000 graduates, I smile with pride and announce I am a member of this prestigious family.
With teardrops smashing the keyboard, and memories afloat in mind, I say my goodbye to you all. This isn’t a permanent goodbye, just a physical one. You will never leave my mind, my heart and my soul. We may be miles and oceans apart, but you couldn’t be closer. We all go our separate ways, but perhaps our paths may cross one day. I hope you all make a change, as I’m sure I will. NCS has been the greatest part of my life, and it would be a privilege to say I worked with them in the future.
So thank you, everyone, and goodbye.
– Benjamin John Wareing