The diabetes youth leadership camp (YLC) is one of the pillars of the activities of the IDF European Region (IDF Europe). This is because IDF Europe considers the role of youth absolutely essential in raising awareness, connecting communities, and advocating for people with diabetes worldwide.
The YLC camp reaches across borders to help involve and bring together young people in the diabetes movement as well as ensure continuity throughout generations. IDF Europe truly believes that youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow but actually already drive today’s innovative approaches to diabetes engagement and self-management.
The history of YLC goes back to 2011, when this initiative started as an attempt to bring together a group of young people living with diabetes to help create a powerful and international youth community. The participants were able to connect and learn the principles of leadership and empowerment of others to fight together for a better life for people living with diabetes.
Since then, IDF Europe has organized a youth leadership camp in a different country every year, gathering a total of 162 young people living with diabetes aged between 18 and 30, from 38 different countries across the region. They have had the opportunity to share ideas and experiences, improve their knowledge, learn from one another, and strengthen their skills. The sessions address the principles of grassroots advocacy and campaigning with a focus on relevant themes/work performed by IDF Europe Member Associations. The intention is to implement projects together on a national and European level with the purpose of improving the life of people living with diabetes and to enhance the collaboration between IDF Europe and its members on all levels.
IDF Europe is delighted to receive many applications from its Member Associations to host the camp. The YLC is a unique opportunity to raise diabetes awareness locally and further develop a close relationship with IDF Europe and its network of youth advocates.
Since numerous camps have taken place over the last 7 years, there is a growing community of camp alumni. Thanks to the support of IDF Europe members, the enthusiasm and energy of participants, and the important relationship between the region and the youth community, an exciting project called YOURAH was initiated in 2017. The YOURAH group is made up of a network of young advocates from across the region and serves as a project incubator for the participants from all YLC camps. The structure of YOURAH has driven new collaboration ideas and projects conducted by YLC participants, with the support of IDF Europe and its members. This includes the EUroMove Challenge, DiaTravellers, webinars on important topics related to diabetes and many other projects that will be launched in the near future.
The most recent YLC took place in in Sbry (Czech Republic), on July 8-15 2018. 24 participants from 22 countries took part. The participants enjoyed a full week of sessions, workshops and physical activities structured in a well-designed program, to provide them with valuable information and a proper environment to become well trained leaders in the European diabetes movement and its expanding network of Youth Advocates.
As one participant said – It’s an incredible time where you get new knowledge, useful skills and find new friends! After the camp, you are motivated for different activities and you feel that you can change the world and help every person with diabetes!