IDF Youth Leadership Camp. Personal impressions
"Really, what is a group of brave people with diabetes capable of if they are together in solving a common problem?" - this is how Victoria, a participant of IDF YLC 2023, describes the main motive of the event
Tell us a little about yourself: what is the experience of diabetes, what do you do, how did you find out about the event

- My name is Victoria, 20 years old, I was born and live in Kherson. I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 14. The manifestation of the disease was accompanied by classic signs: increased thirst, fatigue, lethargy, lack of appetite, great weight loss... Unfortunately, without paying proper and timely attention to the gradually developing symptoms, I got to the endocrinology department not through consultation with a doctor, but through resuscitation.
The most interesting thing was that I got to the endocrinology department with a diagnosis on November 14 – World Diabetes Day. It was the first time I was admitted to the hospital. The experience is not the most positive, but it is memorable☺

Our cooperation with the UDF began in the spring, when I applied to the Youth Dialeadership Camp (so I was approved as a representative from the UDF).
That was the first time I learned that there are such events that contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about diabetes, the exchange of experience, and even at the international level.

I am currently studying at university to become a software developer. One of the reasons why I chose this particular specialization is the development of software that could benefit the medical field, in particular, diabetics and help them live a full life.

What are the main goals and objectives of the IDF YLC Youth Dialeadership Camp?

- The camp aimed to educate the next generation of diabetes advocates and dialeaders, to understand and disseminate the realities of diabetes across Europe, to introduce participants to a range of other diabetes advocates from across the continent, and to introduce the work of international NGOs such as IDF Europe.

Describe briefly what exactly you did as participants in the camp

- The camp had a very busy schedule: we attended numerous lectures and workshops, which were held not only by representatives of IDF and other international communities, but also by representatives of companies such as Lilly Diabetes, Medtronic. Thanks to them, we improved our communication and presentation skills, learned about a wide range of leadership topics, communicated a lot, and shared our knowledge and experience with other participants. Oh, and physical activity. There was a lot of it) Playing various sports was our daily activity during the camp.

Can you tell us a little more about your activities offered by the camp organizers?

- Yes, in addition to lectures and other classroom activities, we spent a lot of time in the fresh air: volleyball, football (under the supervision of the coach of the Bulgarian team DiaEuro), dancing. In addition, there was a very cool opportunity to experience the beauty of the nature of Bulgaria during a walk in the forest.

According to the tradition of the camp, a flash mob was organized on Wednesday in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theater. The rest of the day was spent on a tour of Sofia, during which we had the opportunity to strengthen our connections and discuss a wide variety of topics in a relaxed atmosphere with members of IDF Europe and other representatives of other organizations in the field of diabetes.

Which of the classes (lectures, workshops) did you like the most?

- In fact, everyone, absolutely all of our instructors gave their best during their presentations, and it was very much felt. You feel energized, ready to move on with everyone. However, one interesting practical lesson comes to mind, namely, to develop leadership skills and expand knowledge about types of leadership. IDF Europe Board Member Cristina-Maria Petrut was our mentor. It is cool that this lesson included not only theory, but also its consolidation in practice – during teamwork, where it was necessary to show the necessary competence, solving various situational problems related to urgent problems of diabetes. For example, the desire of diabetic activists (group I) to introduce an artificial pancreas system into the reimbursement program, if the government (group II) is against this idea.

What are your impressions of working in a team with participants from other countries? Do you have a joint project that deserves special attention?

- Yes, Thursday was almost entirely dedicated to teamwork. It was on this day that the two teams had to work properly on the topics of their presentations, the topics of which had been determined before the camp. This year's mainstream is "Health for All: From a Technical Innovation Perspective/Growing Role of Youth in Decision-Making".

Teamwork is not only about demonstrating your knowledge in a particular topic. Well-coordinated work together, a common desire to reach a constructive solution, a constant exchange of thoughts and ideas – this is what teamwork means. Well, how can we do without a touch of friendly humor☺
The solutions we developed in our joint work on the problematic topic were presented on Friday, the last day of the camp. The skills we gained while training and improving our skills helped us to present our work with dignity. And in the evening, the closing ceremony was organized. Organizers, teachers and previous alumni shared a few words about this week, and participants received a certificate of attendance. Many of them chose to showcase their talents – dancing, comedy, entertainment in the form of quizzes, etc. – in the "Talent Show" competition.
Was it hard for you during the camp? Did you feel any special attitude towards yourself because you are from Ukraine?

- It was the first day, when I just arrived at the hotel where we lived. If we take into account that the arrival was somewhere closer to six o'clock in the morning, and then charging at 7:30) In general, if you are an open person, know English and, moreover, creative, then it will definitely not be difficult for you. But you need to get used to the schedule, where you are involved in various activities almost all day)

As for the attitude towards myself, there is nothing here that would make me feel out of place. Yes, everyone knows about the war in our country, they know about the state of affairs caused by it. But no one looks at you like you're special. On the contrary, we all communicated on an equal footing. By all of them, I mean both the participants (the youngest is 19 and the oldest is 30) and the organizers themselves. Yes, informal communication without separating any boundaries is another feature of the camp community.

Can you provide a short summary of your impressions of IDF YLC 2023?

- In fact, the camp turned out to be very full of interesting lectures, educational and creative workshops, and collective activities. And most of all – to communicate with other participants, exchange and share experiences, ideas about our future. The future of diabetics, which we create ourselves. Indeed, what is a group of brave people with diabetes capable of if they are together in solving a common problem?

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