22 youth from 18 countries participated in the 9th Edition of the IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) in Şile, Turkey on 7-13 July 2019. The camp, hosted by the Turkish Diabetes Foundation, aimed to foster the next generation of diabetes advocates and leaders.
IDF Europe Chair, Prof. Sehnaz Karadeniz, together with Turkish Diabetes Foundation Board member, Prof. Mehmet Sargin, welcomed participants and kicked off the one-week camp during which the youth advocates improved their communication and presentation skills, learned about a wide range of leadership topics, networked, and shared their knowledge and experience with the other participants.
Physical activity was one of the cornerstones of the camp, as it is for the management of diabetes. The welcome session concluded with the intervention of IDF Europe Board Members Kyle Jacques Rose and Iryna Vlasenko, who stressed the value of exercising and explained that playing different sports would be a daily activity during the camp.
The second day focused on the importance of communication with a lecture run by Ayse Naz Baykal, a professional video producer and previous YLC participant, who explained why and how to make impactful videos. This was followed by a hike around a nearby lake. The IDF Europe YOURAH group was then introduced by three of its members (all previous IDF Europe’s camp attendees), during a session explaining what being part of YOURAH means: getting involved in a variety of activities to raise awareness of diabetes and advocate for the rights of people with diabetes.
As has become a camp tradition, a flash mob was organised on the Wednesday, in front of Şile’s Town Hall, which was attended by the town mayor. This followed two workshops run by Prof. Karadeniz on policy, advocacy and leadership. The rest of the day was spent on a cruise on the Bosphorus, during which participants were able to strengthen their connections and discuss a variety of topics in a relaxed environment with several Members of the Turkish Diabetes Foundation Board.
Thursday was another busy day. IDF Europe Board Member, Cristina-Maria Petrut, led a workshop on project management, which was followed by a workshop on Healthcare Trends in Europe run by Kyle Jacques, Iryna and YLC coordinator, Sabine Dupont. The workshop focused on personalised medicine, artificial intelligence, big data and telemedicine. The results of a survey on diabetes care in their country completed by each one of the participants ahead of the camp were also presented during this session. The results showed the wide disparities in access to diabetes medicines, care, technologies and devices across the region.
Thursday’s highlights included the visits of Prof Dr. Mithat Melen, an economist and Turkish Politician, Can Seyhan, a businessperson, and Gurkan Acikgoz, an ultramarathon runner, who shared their inspirational experiences of living with diabetes. The day ended with the “taboo forum”. During this session, participants shared their perspectives and debated subjects and issues which they may not feel comfortable addressing at home or with their healthcare team.
Following sessions on leadership styles and the psychology of diabetes led by Cristina; working with volunteers, presented by Iryna; and new technologies, introduced by Kyle Jacques, the camp ended on Friday night with the closing ceremony. Organisers, faculty and youth attendants shared a few words on the week and the youth participants received a certificate of attendance. Many of them then decided to showcase their talents – dancing, comedy, and entertainment in the form of quizzes etc. – in the “kaleidoscope of talents” competition.