A youngster is encouraging teenagers to take part in life-changing adventures.
Joe Johnson, from Whitley Bay, is encouraging his peers to step away from online experiences and take on more real-life adventures.
Research from the National Citizen Service (NCS), the country’s flagship youth empowerment programme, reveals a quarter of local teens believe an online adventure is as satisfying as real life and one in five have never had a real-life adventure.
Joe, 17, said: “Before going on NCS, I was often prone to sticking to my routine and rarely tried anything new.
“Like a lot of teens, it was easy to fall into the habit of staying indoors playing on my computer, sitting on my phone, wasting these opportunities. I don’t think I realised what I was missing out on.
“Signing up to NCS was a little scary initially – I didn’t know many others going and most of the activities were completely new to me, but I’m now so glad I gave it a go.
“The amount I learned, the people I met and the opportunities I had to develop during the programme really made me realise the importance of trying new things.”
Since going on NCS, Joe has travelled Britain and is urging others to follow in his footsteps.
He added: “I’m now much more adventurous – even if I’m a little nervous about something, I’m willing to give it a try and know it’ll be worth it. It’s definitely an experience every young person should go through – some of the stories I will remember forever.”
Julia, Joe’s mother, said: “When Joe mentioned NCS to me, I was quite relieved really.
“It’s important while you’re young to get out there an experience the world and after exams it’s a great way to lift their head out of their books.
“Obviously it’s nerve-wracking letting your teen go away for a few weeks, but when Joe returned I could instantly tell it was the right decision.
“He couldn’t wait to tell me about the adventures he had and the new friends he had made but for me what was most apparent was his transformation in confidence. He was a different person.”
For more information on NCS, visit www.ncsyes.co.uk